Review | Sonic Colours Wii
A good Sonic title, no really…
Format: Wii| Genre: Platformer | Publisher: Sega | Developer: Sega | Release date: 12/11/2010 | Price: £34.99
Greg Giddens dashes around colourful new locations at supersonic speed in, you guessed it, SONIC COLOURS WII.
WE’RE SPOILT for Sonic titles this year, Sonic 4 finally arrived and now Sonic Colours, and the term spoilt really is fitting. Despite years of terrible Sonic titles, this year has seen a reversal in fortune for everyone’s least favourite platforming hero of yore, the blue hedgehog has actually stared in two modern, decent games.
Sonic Colours certainly brings the platforming fun of older Sonic titles back, and in similar fashion to Sonic 4 it achieves this primarily due to its concentration on 2D platforming. It’s the standard setup of dashing through a selection of varied environments, defeating robots and bosses, freeing cute critters and solving basic platforming puzzles. It’s good old fashioned Sonic, with a throwaway narrative of Dr. Robotnik – not Eggman, I will never call him Eggman – building a theme park and capturing aliens called Wisps in order to tap into their peculiar powers. It’s a basic premise, one that needlessly drives our heroes Sonic and Tails through the theme park in order to save these Wisps and foil Robotnik’s plans. The story is of no real consequence though, Sonic is about fast paced and well designed platforming and Sonic Colours delivers on one of these aspects and doesn’t do too badly on the other.
Each environment feels very fresh, of course the theme helps with this no end but the level design play a big part as well. It feels familiar -reminiscent of past Sonic title with moving platforms and loop-the-loops – yet new – with spectacle on the rail sections and a more linear progression – and it absolutely promotes speed. It’s actually fun dashing through these bright and welcoming locations and on the occasional shift to a 3D plane, the emphasis is kept on running rather than combat or platforming, and the whole experience benefits for it. It’s not flawless though. The on-the-rail sections crop up too often, taking control away from you and propelling Sonic along collapsing paths, bouncing off copious amounts of springs, and literally sliding along rails. The camera dynamically shifts during these sections and the background is often filled with exciting spectacles but the taking away of control so often and for such lengthy periods of time damages your fun. Also when control is given back the controls unfortunately feel loose and suffer from a slight delay, resulting in the task of jumping on a basic floating platform becoming an unwelcome challenge. The speedy 3D running sections lack the preferred split-second control that would best fit the experience. However, the majority of the levels are geared up to running fast with no precision control required, the sense of speed is excellent and using your new abilities are fun and fresh.
The wisps you free grant Sonic special abilities for use within each level. Each ability is required for a mandatory section or two along the way but once discovered the required wisp types can be saved and then their powers used at any point within a level, including previous levels for completionists looking to find all the hidden areas. The abilities are a great addition and certainly reinvigorate the Sonic experience. The Drill ability in particular is excellent fun to use, however many of them are situational and you’re likely to find yourself only using one or two out of choice during ordinary progression.
Finding all the hidden areas and red coins are likely to keep players coming back for more after initially completing a level. That and a rating system for each stage encourages replay of the five to six hour long story. Additionally there’s a selection of co-operative based levels for multiplayer, and challenge levels, leaving you with plenty to do.
The level design is well built for speed but lacks the imagination and scope of the older titles, but with controls feeling this loose, precision platforming would have been a real hassle so the design plays to Sonic Colours strengths. Voice acting is back but kept to a minimum, and some of the lines are actually funny, until they milk it and spoil the moment, but for the most part this feels like a step in the right direction for the series. It harks back to the 2D platforming whilst maintaining a little 3D to keep it relevant. If you liked Sonic and have wished for a return to form then Sonic colours comes a great deal closer to recapturing the original magic.