Reviewed: December 20, 2010
Released: November 16, 2010
Sonic Colors wants to be Super Mario Galaxy so badly. the game takes place in space, with levels scattered among different planets, and itís all set to an orchestral score. Sonic is even saving a large slew of small alien creatures that are more than a little reminiscent to the Lumas of Mario Galaxyís universe. It just feels like a Sonicís take on Mario Galaxy, but ultimately -- it was for the best. If youíre going to look to another video game for inspiration, picking one of the best platformers of the decade is not a bad place to look.|
The style, theme, story and characters may borrow heavily from Mario Galaxy, but the core gameplay is classic Sonic. Move from the left side of the level, to the right side of the level as fast as you can. The less direct control of Sonic you have the better. What sets this Sonic apart from classic Sonic, are the Wisps. The Wisps are the Luma-like creatures that Sonic has taken upon himself to save. Each stage provides Sonic with a new Wisp that gives Sonic special powers. The first power you receive is a simple dash that can, and will be used frequently throughout the game. The additional powers are much more creative, and can only be activated at special places throughout the levels.
The powers are interesting initially but, as it always seems to be the case with Sonic, they keep you from playing the fun part of the game - the part where you are running as fast as your little red shoes can handle. One power turns Sonic into a bomb, another turns Sonic onto a drill, and another a laser beam, and finally, the last power turns Sonic into a giant Ghost than can suck up any object simply by being near it. I will take these powers any day over having to play as one of Sonicís pointless friends, but every time you grab one of the powers, your greatest incentive for getting through that section, is knowing that you donít have to use it after youíre done. The best part of every Sonic game, and this one is no exception, is the opportunity to play as an uncontrollable blue blur as it rips through the levels.
Now, after all this negativity being presented, I will say that these powers are far more interesting and fun than say, playing as a werehog with gigantic stretchy arms. All of these powers keep sonic moving at a steady side-scrolling pace, and donít change the platforming dramatically, which is a good thing.
There arenít many levels in Sonic Colors, but there are big incentives toward replaying and learning each level. If you just wanted to get through the game as fast as Sonic can run, you can comfortably get to the final Robotnik/Eggman fight in one sitting. There are only two levels and a boss per stage, but as you play you unlock additional missions that place you into isolated sections of the beaten levels. These missions will do things like task the player to beat the level in less than two minutes, or defeat 10 enemies in 45 seconds.
These side missions are generally difficult, and allow you to meet many of the characters of Sonicís ever increasing stable of tangentially related people (animals?). Thankfully, you never actually play as anyone but Sonic, so to see these guys show up an say a few words actually inspires a bit of referential joy. Since you donít have to play as Cream, itís actually kind of cool to see her make an appearance in the game.
The levels are classic 2D sonic, with Sonic himself typically being the only 3-dimensional model. The bosses are set in 3D levels, but play in 2D. You never have full 360-degree control of Sonic, and it works well. Sonic works best on a 2D plane. There are bonus levels, and in classic pre-1998 Sonic fashion, the bonus levels are cool, and entirely different from the main game. Itís a simple setup. You control Sonic with the touch screen as he runs down a half-pipe to collect colored balls. Itís fun, and it makes it worthwhile to try to be able to play it after each level.
The music of the game is fairly enjoyable. There is some limited orchestration as mentioned before, and when it makes an audible appearance, itís a joy. Otherwise, the music is not quite as awesome as original Sonic music, but itís fun, and frantic. The song that plays over the end credits is laughably bad. Itís so bad in fact, that it transcends realistic criticism and becomes the best music in the game. Itís so bad itís good. I laughed during the entire duration of the song during the end credits.
Sega has been struggling the recapture the original glory of Sonic for quite some time, and theyíre starting to get close. I, along with most gamers, still donít really understand why it took so long for Sega to realize that the only character anybody wanted to play was Sonic, but I am happy they finally figured it out.
Sonic Colorís is a short game, but it is a fun one, and it feels close enough to classic Sonic to merit a recommendation for those looking to relive the Genesis classic. Itís not perfect though, and it could use more levels, but there is a lot of replay value, and you never have to take control of anyone but Sonic, which alone is easily worth 3 or 4 points on the review scale.