Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Sonic Colors

Review: Sonic Colors

2:00 PM on 11.13.2010 // Jim Sterling
  @JimSterling

It's strange to think that in the same year Sega launched a traditional 2D Sonic the Hedgehog game that finally gave the fans what they wanted, it was the announcement of a Wii game that continued in the same vein as the undesirable "modern" titles that captured the excitement of the fans. 

Sonic Colors, despite its status as a "3D" Sonic, complete with a focus on narrative, gimmicks and brand new colorful friends, has somehow convinced everybody that this is the legendary "return to form" that Sonic fans have been waiting for. 

All I have to ask is ... how has Sonic Team managed to pull the wool over our eyes again?

Sonic Colors (Wii)
Developer: Sonic Team
Publisher: Sega
Release date: November 16, 2010
MSRP: $49.99

At first, Sonic Colors appears to have finally done everything right. By taking the fun and speedy levels from Sonic Unleashed and leaving behind the dreary "Werehog" nonsense, Colors breezes through its first few stages with an empowering, thrilling charm. It truly does manage to convince one that Sonic has finally nailed it. 

Then come the laggy controls ... and broken homing attacks ... and pitfall deaths ... and 2D platforming sections so badly presented, you'd think they were patched together by chimpanzees. Then you realize that Sonic Colors is a case of the same old problems, in a brand new package. 

The simple fact of the matter is this -- Sonic Colors is terribly designed. The level layout is atrocious, putting the focus on cheap pitfall deaths instead of real challenge, and various platforming sections that clash with the game's very physics. There are issues in Sonic Colors that have plagued the series since Sonic Adventure first arrived on the Dreamcast, confirming once and for all that whoever works at Sonic Team, they just don't have a clue what's wrong with their games.

This is compounded by the fact that Colors tries to be two games at once, despite the fact that Colors isn't versatile enough for that. The engine simply isn't equipped for both 3D racing and 2D platforming, and the abhorrent way in which Sonic controls during these latter sections demonstrates this fact over and over again. Sonic floats mystically in the air with every jump, making precision landing next to impossible. The jumps possess an otherworldly inertia that one never quite gets used to, making these segments feel laggy and uncomfortable. 

And this is all before we get to the controls. 

First of all, don't use a Wii remote. This game requires a Classic Controller to even start being enjoyable. Secondly, whatever controller you use, the layout is absurd. For instance, you'll need to make liberal use of the double jump, but if you double jump when there is a homing attack target nearby, you'll whizz over to the target instead. Sometimes this can land you in trouble, especially during the sections where the camera zooms out to such a degree that all the graphics look like a muddy blur and you don't even know where Sonic is, let alone how to get him across a network of moving platforms. Sometimes, the game seems to require sheer dumb luck in order to progress. 

There are also sections where Sonic must quickly zip from left to right while running along a path. These were among my favorite parts of Sonic Unleashed, mostly because Sonic's movements used the left and right triggers, which felt rather satisfying. Not so with Colors, even on a Classic Controller. In Colors, you have to push the movement stick left and right, while still pushing forward to keep Sonic running. I'll let you guess just how great that feels. 

Fortunately, the game gets some enjoyable moments thanks to the Wisp gimmickry. Usually, Sonic's gimmicks are the worst part of his games, but at least the Wisps of Sonic Colors have some merit to them. These little aliens are being used by Dr. Eggman to power his intergalactic theme park, and once freed, they bestow upon Sonic a multitude of special abilities. White Wisps allow him to dash, Orange Wisps turn him into a rocket, and Purple Wisps change Sonic into a giant maw of chomping death. These alien abilities are legitimately fun to use, helped by the fact that Sonic's various transformations are quite unique and even adorable at times. 

The Wisps aren't always mandatory to the completion of a level, but they can open up new paths in order to collect more rings, find shortcuts, or collect red tokens for unlockable stages. Of course, sometimes the speed at which the game moves makes missing Wisp opportunities far too easy, and it seems Sonic Team expects you to replay levels over and over again to learn where everything is. Unfortunately, the fun levels are so few that you'll be angry you played most of the stages once, let alone multiple times. 

The frustrating part is that, at times, Sonic Colors truly does show flashes of brilliance. Several of the earlier levels are fantastic, finding as they do a perfect mix between speed and challenge. When a level works, it really works, and some of the boss fights are more unique and clever than your usual Sonic fare. The game's story is also fairly tolerable, and Sonic seems to have had a personality makeover, now becoming an affable idiot with a terrible sense of humor. His new voice actor, and this amusing personality shift, make for a much more enjoyable hedgehog than the "cool dude" we've seen in the past. The jokes don't always work, but the writing is vastly improved over previous games.

It seems, however, that the further the game goes, the less the developers gave a crap, and every instance of inspiration soon gives way to the same sloppy, slapdash construction we've witnessed a dozen times before. Even when a stage starts brilliantly, the game invariably finds a way to muck it up with some sort of new environmental trap that wasn't introduced properly, or a slice of transparent trial-and-error gameplay that has been designed purely to force a replay. To its credit, Colors attempts to curb the frustration of pitfalls and platforming by flashing a warning sign before a jumping section, but these warnings are so vague and appear so suddenly that they might as well not be there. 

The Wisp idea is pretty cute and remains fun throughout and there are a smattering of well crafted stages, but the rest of the game provides absolutely nothing you didn't already play in Sonic Unleashed or any other 3D Sonic game released in the past ten years. The problems are exactly the same, and shoddy levels are just as bad as always, and death-by-pitfall is in as much abundance as ever.

Sonic 4 had its problems, but at least it was an improvement. Sonic Colors feels like a step right back into the same crap this series has drowned in for the past decade. If I had to pick a color for this game, it would be brown, for very obvious reasons. 




THE VERDICT

4.5

Sonic Colors - Reviewed by Jim Sterling
Disappointing - I feel sorry for this one. It came close to being passable, but dropped the ball too many times to prevent itself from being an embarrassment.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Jim Sterling, Former Reviews Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure JimSterling Tips
Destructoid reviews editor, responsible for running and maintaining the cutting edge videogame critique that people ignore because all they want to see are the scores at the end. Also a regular f... more   |   staff directory



 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Sonic Colors


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Robbing Kirby of his Greatest Asset

The meaning of The Witness (Part 3 of 3)

Friday Night Fights: War Never Changes Edition

Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth Review (Vita)

Waifu Wars: Loyalty-Tier

The Wii U's fate is not (entirely) Nintendo's fault

Musings on Firewatch (Spoilers)

My Gaming Landscape [February 9th, 2016]

The sexiest Senran Kagura character has been found!!

Room to Share: Why More People Playing Games Is a Good Thing

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

OrochiLeona avatarOrochiLeona
OK you Streetfighting motherfuckers, Heres the scoop on which PS3 sticks/pads will work with the PS4 version of SFV, courtesy of the inventors of said tech, the marvellous people of Lab Zero http://skullgirls.com/2015/05/lab-zero-ps3-fight-stick-technolo
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
Waits for payment to go through so he can stream Bayonetta on Wii U this weekend. Any day now... Any day.
Alessa Leng avatarAlessa Leng
Been watching from the shadows for some time now. Time to Join in! Trying to finish Bravely Default in time to play Bravely Second... What are the games you're excited about for 2016?(even if it's just something u dream of...)
KnickKnackMyWack avatarKnickKnackMyWack
Been watching this show on hulu I feel like it would make for a kickass Platinum Game. Imagine playing through mostly as the supporting cast and beating the game on hard gives you Saitama for God Mode.
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
Just saw Torchman's waifu... damn brah. Talk about shit...
Sir Shenanigans avatarSir Shenanigans
GUYS OLAF ISNT A MAN HES LITERALLY A FUCKING BEAR
Inquisitive Ravenclaw avatarInquisitive Ravenclaw
In only 5 days, the most romantic Holiday of the year will be upon us...
Larxinostic avatarLarxinostic
So, the notion kept hounding me that the new Pokemon, Magiana, had existed long before its recent unveiling... Then it hit me. [img]http://i.imgur.com/UhFmf63.png[/img]
Torchman avatarTorchman
Oh look, a picture of all your waifus in the place where they belong!
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
#NekroGoals
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Impressions of job so far: I can indeed play Monster Hunter 4 since I'm a passenger. It's three hours to Charleston, SC, so arguments against that are irrelevant. The chicken bowl at Bojangles is also nice.
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
*insert ojuo-sama laughter here* [img]http://i.imgur.com/FrdGhgr.jpg[/img]
Torchman avatarTorchman
Found a picture of Gaj and Larx's waifus. Clearly meant for each other.
MeeGhoulz avatarMeeGhoulz
SOTANAHT's post makes me wonder:what game franchise(not necessarily nintendo) you would strive to complete the whole cast of "amiibos"?Mine would be RE,ashamed as I am to throw money at CAPCOM...
Occams avatarOccams
I'm craving new sounds. Anyone have any suggestions of music I need to put into my head and heart?
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
YOU GET A DOUBLE, AND YOU GET A DOUBLE! EVERYONE GETS A DOUBLE! But no one gets a Skull...
Donald J Trump avatarDonald J Trump
When I said "I'd bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding," I meant that I would force anyone under interrogation to play Big Rigs for extended periods. That'll be sure to break them.
Sotanaht avatarSotanaht
Dammit Fangamer, are you TRYING to break me?!
Nathan D avatarNathan D
When I think of gajknight.
SpaghettiOReilly avatarSpaghettiOReilly
I'm actually pretty bummed out about Game Trailers closing up shop. I hadn't visited in years but I still remember the good old days of having to wait for low-res versions of AVGN episodes to load. You'll be missed, all.
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -