The blue hedgehog has returned in what seems like yet another Sonic game with a stab at an idea. What is it this time? We’ve seen knights and werewolves, and now it’s Colors. So the big question is: Does Sonic Colors hit or miss? Going into this game as a fan of the Sonic the Hedgehog series growing up, I would like to see nothing other than Sonic Colors bringing the franchise back to its glory days. However, Sonic Colors just doesn’t quite get it right, and its downfall is not exactly the reason most people would assume.
Sonic Colors takes place at Dr. Eggman’s new “Dr. Eggman’s Interstellar Amusement Park,” and here is where Eggman has been capturing alien Wisps and harnessing their powers for his own selfish gain. We all know now that where ever there is an Eggman evil plot taking place, Sonic and Tails are not too far behind. It is their duty to stop Eggman’s evil doing. That’s pretty much the storyline in a nutshell. The only use for the story is to tie the stages of the game together and someone my age can do without the very juvenile jokes during cutscenes. Thankfully, the voice-acting isn’t too terrible and the cutscenes can be skipped. Why’d I mention all that? I felt that it was necessary to introduce who the Wisps were, because the gameplay revolves around them. Throughout the game, Sonic harnesses the power of differently colored Wisps which all possess different powers.
It would sound as though the reason for Sonic Colors being a less-than-stellar game would be the inclusion of the Wisp power-ups, but this is not the case. The Wisps actually add a sense of fun, exploration and reward for using them well and efficiently. As I mentioned earlier, each colored Wisp possess a different power, and these powers range from yellow Wisps containing drilling abilities to orange Wisps containing rocket abilities. Using these power-ups to return to already completed stages and finding hidden paths add a good depth to Sonic Colors. In the past, almost all (if not all) new ideas added to the Sonic titles have been the reason why they end up being sub-par games, so it’s nice to see an addition that actually works.
Unfortunately, the great idea is not complimented well by the game’s overall design. As a Sonic game, Sonic Colors does a good job of having a great sense of speed and energy. The game runs well and smooth at certain parts, but it is entirely ruined by several portions of the game that bring the game to an annoying halt. Areas that should and appear to be simple platforming segments turn out to be the most difficult parts of the game. Sonic feels very unnatural to control, and falling off platforms for over or underestimating jumps happens constantly. I couldn’t even enjoy some of what looked like the most well-thought-out and best looking stages, because the bad physics just wouldn’t allow it.
The game is also very inconsistent. There are parts where Sonic will be running and you think you’re controlling the action, but you’re really not. These segments look no different from regular gameplay, so I often found myself letting go of forward to check to see if I’m actually in control. Speaking of controls, I found it best to use a Wii remote turned on its side, because that’s the only way you’re going to be able to get the much needed precision of a D-pad. Sonic Colors is a hybrid of 2D and 3D gameplay, and I want to point out that the transitions between the two are a bit clunky. Changing from 3D to 2D happens too fast sometimes to realize the change, and when you do realize, you’re already transitioning back to 3D. This leads to a lot of cheap deaths and frustration.
It’s so sad to see that yet another Sonic game has arrived, and yet another Sonic game has not met the expectation of greatness. It seems like every time a game has the potential to do so, something gets in the way. For years now the Sonic Team just can’t find that happy balance of implementing ideas and executing them. I believe Sonic Colors had the potential to be an amazing game, but like most Sonic games in the past, that potential is never met. You were so close this time, Sonic Team.