When Sega announced Sonic Colors, I was so excited. Unlike a lot of gamers, I really enjoyed Sonic Unleashed, since it was the first step in the right direction for the Blue Blur. Granted, that was because I had the PS3 version, which was a lot better than the Wii version (uneven amount of levels where you could play Sonic as opposed to the Werehog). In fact, every trailer for Sonic Colors has made me more and more excited to play this game. I actually was looking forward more to this game than Sonic 4. So, has my excitement been valid?
In a word, YES! I love this game, I can’t put it down, and I always find something more to enjoy about it each time I play it. This, my friends, is Sonic’s glorious return to form, and no amount of yellow journalism to keep the “Sonic sucks” joke is going to change that this is a good game.
Story-wise, it’s a bit less epic than previous entries, but has such great execution due to its humor. Dr. Eggman has apparently learned his lesson, and wants to repay his debt to the world by building an Interstellar Amusement Park hovering over their planet, with a bunch of planetoids attached to it. Naturally, Sonic and Tails expect this to be another evil plot, so they sneak into the park and discover that Eggman is using a race of aliens called Wisps for some new nefarious purposes. Sonic, Tails, and their new Wisp friend, Yacker decide to stop the doctor’s plans, and save the day again.
While it may seem like typical gaming fare, the story is helped along by how funny it can be. During the cutscenes, I actually laughed out loud due to some of the dialogue (my top picks are “No copyright law in the universe is going to stop me!” and “Experience has taught me to always investigate anything that glows.”). This is helped by the new voice actors for Sonic and Tails, who respectively sound like a cocky, likable smart-ass and genius young child.
The graphics are the best I’ve seen yet for the Wii, as amazing level designs sweep by at incredible speed. The Hedgehog Engine, which debuted with Sonic Unleashed, allows for great speed as the camera stays behind you, and then switches effortlessly to the side for the 2D-like side scrolling sections. Bright colors and unique level ideas (all hail Sweet Mountain!) keep the game visually great.
Sound-wise, besides the improved English voice acting, the music is enjoyable too. Each level’s music conveys a sense about that level (like Aquarium Park’s making you feel cool and relaxed, and Planet Wisp making you feel very wistful and almost nostalgic for the past).
But you want to know if it’s fun, right? That too is an enthusiastic YES. As stated, this game, like its predecessor, switches back and forth between a behind-the-hedgehog angle for the more high speed sections and to a side-scrolling form for the platforming aspects. And there are four ways to control it: the Wii Remote, Wii Remote and Nunchuck, Classic Controller and Gamecube Controller. If you find yourself having problems with one, then try another (I personally find the Wii Remote on its own to work for me). The Wisps’ powers are the feature of this game, and they provide an interesting way to proceed. During the levels, you could as easily complete them with no powers, or you could just use them. And if you go back to a previous level after unlocking a Wisp type, you can find new areas to discover secrets, or complete the level faster. There is a learning curve as you head further in, but it’s that old-school kind of difficulty, because it’s trial and error, but once you get the hang of that level’s tricks, you will be improving your score. And who doesn’t love a level results screen where you can jump up and hit your score and make it rain 1-ups?
There’s also a lot of replay value here. As said, you can go back and use the unlocked Wisp powers to explore new areas, and potentially find more Red Rings. This helps unlock levels in the incredibly retro Sonic Simulator, where you (and a friend if you want) play as a robot Sonic (or your Mii, making for a surreal experience) in several unique levels. Completing all of these Simulator stages unlocks an awesome secret that fans have been waiting a long time for.
In summary, this is the one Sonic fans have been waiting for. A perfect combination of gameplay and story makes this game a must-have. While the difficulty can spike at certain points, you can get past it if you keep your wits about you. And every aspect of this game screams “play me”. This is more than just another release in a franchise, it’s also a true game, because it’s fun, and I want to keep playing it. Look out Mario, Sonic’s back!