: Sonic Team
: November 16, 2010
“Sonic’s back for a colorful new adventure, exclusively on the Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS. Will Sonic be able to stop Dr. Eggman’s evil plot to control Sonic’s world? Will Sonic be able to free the captured Wisps?”
Sonic's latest adventure brings him to space by way of an invitation from his nemesis Dr. Robotnik (Eggman). It seems that Robotnik's latest scheme has taken the form of an outer space interstellar amusement park, and it's quite the spectacle to see floating up above the planet. Robotnik's not one to absolutely kid around, so Sonic and Tails get the same vibe and decides to check it out. The amusement park seems to be like one big coming clean break for Robotnik, he even goes so far as to provide the narration for the entire compound himself.
While taking a look around the colorful place, soon Sonic and Tails learn that Robotnik's so called redemption isn't as truthful as he's making it to be. It turns out that the real source of power that's keeping the entire amusement park working are alien beings called Wisps. Robotnik's captured them and has harnessed their variety of powers to keep his huge fun house floating in space. What's more concernng is that the amusement park is really made up of the Wisp's home planetoids.
Sonic's now tasked with saving these innocent Wisps and teaching Robotnik a thing or two about faking a change of heart. Join Sonic in this fantastic and colorful adventure to save the day!
Sonic Colors absolutely takes advantage of its own name when it comes to it graphics. The opening cinematic looks crisp, clean, and full of colorful detail, even without the support of a high definition console. Each level is vibrantly detailed; it’s amazing how much attention the art team paid to the game’s multiple various environments. I would have to say that each planetoid had its own unique color palette that really brought Sonic’s surroundings to life. The planetoids that really stuck out the most were Tropical Resort, Planet Wisp, Asteroid Coaster, but most definitely the Starlight Carnival Zone, with its infinite neon rainbow lights, and brightly flashing starships that suddenly appear from a black hole in space. I was amazed at my first play through of that zone. I also want to mention that the graphical effect, in which the ground that Sonic runs on that simultaneously disappears and appears, is one of the coolest moments that I’ve seen in a Sonic game. There’s no doubt about it, the art team planned to make the most beautiful environments for their game, and they pass with flying colors… yes… that’s right... pun intended.
If you play Sonic games regularly, then you’ll definitely know that its sound effects catalogue has been recycled for many years. The familiar and pleasing “chime” of the ring sound effect and the “ping” sound of the spring pads have not lost their appeal, even after almost twenty years. Not much more can be said about Sonic Colors’ sound effects, but the popular and familiar sound effects are part of what makes this a Sonic the Hedgehog game. One noticeable thing that stuck out to me was that Eggman provides some funny commentary while you’re playing within a certain level. Even before you select a planetoid, Eggman will provide a narration of what that planetoid features in terms of its environment, which is similar to a carnival commentator, and this really compliments the setting of Eggman’s gigantic outer space fun house. Though you may not be splitting your sides, Eggman’s colorful commentaries do a nice job of putting a smile on your face.
Sonic Colors’ features a new voice cast, mainly for Sonic and Tails, but Eggman’s voice talent remains the same. It’s a refreshing renewal to match a good Sonic game, and the cast does a good job of providing colorful commentary to keep the story moving along.
The music, however, just adds more to your gameplay experience. Sonic Colors’ features some of the catchiest and “edge of your seat” music since the Sonic Adventures series on the SEGA Dreamcast. There are plenty of musical tracks that appeal to everyone, and each track fits perfectly to the theme of each planetoid. These tracks vary in style and include: upbeat techno and synthesizers, blissful piano pieces, and intense rock guitar segments. Even the Sonic Simulator mini-game’s music features a classic throwback to early arcades games from decades ago, which was a pleasant surprise to hear. The game’s soundtrack is as diverse as its gameplay. Interestingly, the music also pays respect to the classic SEGA Genesis Sonic game’s music by also featuring alternate versions of a level’s theme. So you may notice a slight variation in pitch or key among the different acts if you listen closely.
Like I’ve mentioned before, Sonic Colors’ presentation is most similar to its predecessor, Sonic Unleashed. That being said, Sonic Colors also controls like Unleashed as well.
Although this is a Wii title, Sonic Colors can be played in one of four ways. The control options that you may choose from include: the Wii remote held sideways, the Wii remote and Nunchuck, the Wii classic controller, or the Gamecube controller. There are plenty of controls options that you can use so see what’s most comfortable to you.
Sonic Colors’ gameplay uses a combination of 3D and 2D platforming, and both operate independently of each other. Your controls will not be affected or changed when you move from 3D to 2D and vice versa. Sonic has a lot of his signature moves at his disposal, including jumping, homing attack, and grinding rails. Pressing the “B” button (on the Wii remote and Gamecube controllers) gives Sonic a continuous burst of speed, but only if you have enough energy in the boost meter in the lower left corner of the screen. You can keep this boost meter charged by collecting White Wisps from capsules and defeating Eggman’s robots that may contain the Wisps. Another move Sonic uses is the drift. Drifting is most useful when Sonic has narrow and tight turns ahead of him. Drifting can be tricky when you first start playing the game, but with enough practice, you’ll be tackling those tight turns easily. Sonic can also stomp, which you can use on crates that block your path. If you get stuck in an area where there may be a path of crates blocking your way, try stomping on them to advance with the stage.
One of the newest features to Sonic Colors are the Wisps, which are the colorful aliens that Sonic must rescue from Eggman. Each different colored Wisp provides a special power for Sonic after you collect them. White Wisps give Sonic more speed, the Cyan Wisps turns Sonic into a laser that can bounce off any surface, the Yellow Wisp allows Sonic to drill through certain areas of the environment, the Orange Wisp allows Sonic to boost vertically like a rocket, the Pink Wisp allows Sonic to dash around as a spiked ball, the Green Wisp can make Sonic hover in the air and dash along a trail of rings, the Blue Wisp turns Sonic into a cube that slams down to the ground with enough force to destroy nearby enemies, and the Purple Wisp transforms Sonic into a purple creature that chomps through enemies and obstacles and is unstoppable. Some of these Wisps will be needed if you want to find secret paths and areas that are not normally accessible without them. Try coming back to a level you previously visited when you find new Wisps, you might just discover an area that you couldn’t get to before on your first run through of that level. The Wisps add a nice touch to the gameplay, although you won’t always have to use them to finish each and every level.
The goal in Sonic Colors is to make it through each one of the planetoid’s acts, and some will have as many as six or seven acts total. Be careful on your first play through of each act. You may find yourself using up a lot of lives before you make it to the end of the act, or even the middle of the act itself. I suggest taking it slow at first, just so you can memorize the level. After that feel free to run through the stage and know you’re confident in completing the level as best you can. I can’t tell you how many times I rushed myself and ended up falling off the stage into a pit or getting caught in a trap. But part of the fun in Sonic games is memorizing the layout of a stage and practicing it repeatedly until you’re ready for a perfect speed run. Just be ready to come across some difficult traps that can get under your skin. They’re not impossible, but they certainly do a good job to challenge you. Once a player clears all acts within a respective planetoid, they must then defeat the boss. The boss battles were very fun and creative, and turned out to be something I haven’t seen in a Sonic game before. The boss battles will encourage you to think before you attack. Hang onto every ring you pick up, you just might need them.
It may take you about nine hours to run through the story of the game, but you still have some extras to go after if you’re a real challenge seeker when it comes to Sonic games. You may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned the Chaos Emeralds yet, well up until this point. Sonic Colors does give you the opportunity to collect the elusive seven Chaos Emeralds. To do this, however, you must collect the red rings hidden in each level of each planetoid. There are five hidden red rings in each level, excluding the boss battles. So if you need to collect every Chaos Emerald like I do, you’ll need to invest more time in the game since these red rings are cleverly hidden. It won’t be too easy. If that wasn’t enough, you have to use the red rings to play the Sonic Simulator (created by Eggman) in order to obain the Chaos Emeralds. If it’s a real Sonic challenge you’re looking for, Colors brings it to you, no question about it. Remember that some Wisps will not be unlocked until later in the game. So areas that you couldn’t get to earlier should be accessible with the right Wisp. This increases Sonic Colors’ replay value cleverly.
Sonic Colors also features a two player mode (on one screen, rather than split screen), but not a run through of the game’s primary planetoids and their multiple acts. Instead, two players can try their luck at Eggman’s Sonic Simulator (the same game that you play to earn the Chaos Emeralds). Some levels will require both players to use some team work in order to progress to the finish. While this Sonic game does well with the single player mode, the two player mini-games provide a fun time if you have someone else to play with, but is usually short lived.
Sonic the Hedgehog makes a triumphant return to the 3D arena after many years of questionable games with Sonic Colors. I can tell that a lot of effort went in to making this an exceptional game, and Sonic Team and SEGA did a superb job doing just that. Dr. Eggman’s (still Dr. Robotnik to me) interstellar amusement park beckons you to have the time of your life with fast paced and colorful gameplay. New abilities for Sonic add a fresh, and uncomplicated, way to play the game. Minor issues such as confusing level puzzles may hinder you at first, but won’t stop you once you get into the flow of the gameplay. This is definitely a Sonic game that all Wii owners should add to their gaming library. For the developers of Sonic games, please consider the exceptional work that was put into Sonic Colors and apply that to future Sonic projects. Yes, it can be done. Bravo, Sonic the Hedgehog! Welcome back! We missed you!