Sonic Colors is old. The game was released way back in 2010 for the Nintendo Wii and DS. This means that if you didn’t own any of this hardware back then, you missed out on the release. I for one never got around to playing this game at all. As an avid Sonic fan, the re-release of the game as Sonic Colors Ultimate delighted me. For the most part, the game shines and is able to deliver a solid Sonic experience while also incorporating all the things you would expect to see from the series. It is far from as great as the masterpiece Sonic Generations but this is a much better Sonic game than what we have had in the past few years.
Sonic Colors Ultimate just goes to show how far the series has fallen in recent years. Sonic Forces, for example, is probably one of the worst games I have played in recent years so comparing the two games goes a long way to educate gamers on how great the series once was. Even with the clumsy “powers” mechanic in Sonic Colors Ultimate, the game is still fun.
Sonic Colors Ultimate follows Sonic on an adventure to stop Doctor Eggman from taking over the world by capturing an alien race. The general gameplay of Sonic Colors Ultimate follows much in line with other 3D entries in the series including Forces and Generation. This means Sonic explores a handful of stages, runs super fast across them and collects rings as he goes about this. It also switches from a 3D camera angle to a 2D perspective throughout each stage.
The big feature in Sonic Colors Ultimate is the inclusion of a species known as Wisps. These Wisps are the same alien race Doctor Eggman is after. So while you’re exploring this strange space station and various worlds connected to it, Sonic saves these captured Wisps. However, the Wisps actually grant him powerful abilities at the same time. There are eight of these powers and eight unique Wisps. The thing is, you need to have unlocked and met the specific Wisp before throughout the story to be able to use the power-up. So backtracking to earlier levels where these Wisps are locked is often a pain. Often these areas hold collectables that you simply can’t get to if you don’t come back much later.
The general gameplay loop of Sonic Colors Ultimate plays much the same as past games. Each planet is split into six stages and a boss. The goal is to get from the start to the end of the level as fast as possible but also collect as many rings and don’t die. This all contributes to the score and you get a ranking depending on how well you do across these factors. Unfortunately, the gameplay also follows the same clumsy platforming as past titles too. Sonic can double jump to get around, dash in the air, grind on rails and use these powers to his advantage but it is far from perfect.
Sonic games definitely don’t have the best platforming gameplay in the industry and Sonic Colors Ultimate is no different. Often targeting an enemy to bounce off of it doesn’t work, Sonic flies into walls and overjumps platforms. It is messy at times. Still, the game is fun regardless. Even though it can get frustrating when I hit a bounce pad by mistake and went flying towards the end of the stage and missed more than half of the rings and items. I guess this clumsiness is just part of the experience.
The superpowers Sonic gets in the game definitely go a long way in making it feel different and most of them are fun to use. The Cyan Laser turns Sonic into a beam that can bounce off certain surfaces and helps to reach tough areas. The Orange Rocket lets Sonic blast off the ground into the air. There’s also a Blue Cube that turns blue blocks into rings and helps rack up score. My favourite has to be the Purple Frenzy as Sonic transforms into a creature and eats things in his path. He then grows larger as he does this.
Sonic Colors Ultimate also comes with some new additional content. The game has been polished up quite nicely in terms of visuals. The levels look great and the increased frame rate helps with the speed of the game. It feels natural. Unfortunately, SEGA didn’t remaster any of the cutscenes and they are an eyesore to watch. You go from a 4K game during gameplay to blocky 480p cinematics and it definitely comes across like a rushed job. Especially given that these cutscenes are actually quite fun to watch as the characters in Sonic Colors Ultimate add a lot of humour to the game’s mediocre story.
Sonic Colors Ultimate also includes a new Wisp power-up that wasn’t part of the main game. This Jade Ghost wisp lets Sonic pass through solid objects and is helpful in many ways. Often, I could use this power-up instead of others. The game also comes with a Rival Rush mode that saw me race against Metal Sonic. It isn’t the most detailed addition to the game but fun nonetheless. There are also some cosmetic items that are purchasable in the game. These change Sonic’s appearance. The newly added movie-based cosmetics are pretty cool to see.
Sonic Colors Ultimate Review
Sonic Colors Ultimate isn’t the best Sonic game ever released but it is good enough to pick up if you never played the original back in the day. Sure, the cinematics could do with polish but the gameplay is fun and what you would expect from a Sonic game. I do just wish they would remaster Sonic Generations or make a sequel now. Everyone knows it was the best.
Sonic Colors Ultimate is now available digitally but if you want to get a cool Ultimate Edition that comes with a Baby Sonic Keychain, you need to hang on until the retail version releases in South Africa on 1 October.
This Sonic Colors Ultimate review was based on a code sent to use by SEGA
Available On: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch | Reviewed On: PS5 | Release Date: 3 September 2021 | Price: R799
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