- Original release year: 2010
- Consoles: Wii
When I was a child, Sonic the Hedgehog was literally the coolest mascot in gaming. The Genesis/Mega Drive games were more or less my favourite games. Then something happened. The video games industry made a transition into the third dimension, the 32-bit era happened and Sonic was nowhere to be seen, with exception of some largely mediocre and poor spin off games. Eventually Sonic would find its footing again, with the release of the Sega Dreamcast in 1998 (and 1999 in America and Europe), but despite the initially strong reviews critics gave the Sonic Adventure games, their popularity waned and the Sonic games that followed received average to plain bad responses. Somehow, with a blink of the eye, it seemed Sonic had gone from being incredible to sucking hard.
Then something magical happened. Sonic Team actually admitted to themselves and to the public that the franchise had taken a massive nosedive and they wanted to improve Sonic’s games. The first thing they did was do away with gimmicky gameplay, did away with Sonic’s lame friends and concentrated on the core gameplay that made Sonic great in the first place. Admittedly, Sonic 4 was a slight misstep, failing to live up to the hype (although I found both episodes enjoyable all the same, whilst failing spectacularly to match the quality of the Genesis/Mega Drive originals), but when Sega released Sonic Colors, I was genuinely shocked by how good the game was.
Sonic Colors was the return to form fans were waiting for. The gameplay is great, basically building upon the odd spots of greatness hinted at in Sonic Unleashed and dropping the lame gimmicks that bogged that game down. You mostly find yourself playing a mixture of speeding through gigantic, gorgeous 3D environments, zipping through loop-de-loops, jumping on enemies and playing through some tougher platforming sections. There’s also a great mix of side-scrolling gameplay and fully 3D gameplay. There is a great variety of gameplay and environments to keep things fresh, as well as appealing to a selection of different fanbases – those fans who enjoy 3D, super fast Sonic, those who enjoy more platforming oriented, slower Sonic and those who enjoy side-scrolling Sonic.
The game is tough too. There’s plenty of challenge to be had in Sonic Colors and unlike other, earlier 3D Sonic games, the difficulty is not unfairly caused by poor enemy placement, schizophrenic camera angles and bottomless pits, it’s mostly down to balanced platforming sections. I should probably also mention that this game does feature a minor gimmick – the wisp powers. Basically they are power ups, like a rocket thing, a drill thing and a few others I forget. They’re not too intrusive and aren’t detrimental to the gameplay, although I’m not a huge fan.
Finally, there is a story and there are cutscenes. I haven’t mentioned them yet and that’s because I could not care less about the storylines in Sonic games anymore. I skip them and literally pay no attention. I can’t even comment on the story. I know Robotnik (or Eggman) has set up a theme park or something and Sonic has to do something to stop Eggman (or Robotnik), but that’s about all I know.
So, overall, Sonic Colors is awesome and was the first brilliant Sonic game in a long time. The best was yet to come though, because the Sonic game that followed this was even better…