Sonic Colours has always been considered one of the better 3D Sonic adventures, which isn’t too difficult an achievement considering the so-so record Sega’s mascot has had over the years. Originally released on the Wii back in 2010, Blind Squirrel Games have been handed the reigns to update the title for modern platforms, and for the most part they do an admirable job of it, it’s just a shame the legacy of Sonic himself continues to hamper the experience.
As is always the case, Doctor Eggman has a new scheme to take over the world, this time revolving around an elaborate theme park in space as a cover for his true goal, to enslave an alien race known as the Wisps. Sonic and Tails are again on the case, jumping and running through various themed levels to free their new friends and harness their powers to gain the advantage, with the simple goal of uncovering Eggman’s nefarious plan and putting a stop to it.
Wisp it Good…
✔️The Wisps are standout additions to the franchise.
✔️Visually rock solid and colourful.
✔️Classic Sonic musical score in full force.
❌The same platform issues that plague the series remain here.
❌Most side content largely forgettable.
The Wisps play a big role in changing up the traditional Sonic formula, offering a bevy of different special abilities that can be used to both navigate each level and uncover hidden secrets once each specific Wisp is unlocked. You’ll be flying up as a rocket, bouncing off walls as a laser and drilling into the ground as a, well, drill, and it’s genuinely entertaining when you use the ability just right. New to this remastered edition is the Jade Wisp that turns Sonic into a ghost, allowing you to easily move through solid objects or warp to different spots within the level with ease, and it’s a welcome addition to the roster that I genuinely enjoyed.
Wisps aside, everything else about Sonic Colours follows the traditional routine of running super fast, stopping suddenly at a platform that requires precise jumping, and bouncing off enemies and bumpers to proceed through each level. If you’ve played any previous 3D Sonic experience, be it Generations or the more recent Sonic Forces, you’ll know what to expect here. Without the Wisps in play, it’s a mix of genuinely good and incredibly frustrating platforming, though it must be said the water levels are some of the best of any Sonic game thanks in no small part to the drill Wisp power-up and the ability to constantly spin jump to swim.
Each theme park world contains a handful of levels, some substantially shorter than others and a little more puzzle based, and one ultimately forgettable boss fight to round it out. Dying can be a chore, especially within certain levels where checkpoints don’t exist, sending you all the way back to the beginning. Most of the time it’s simply a case of Sonic not jumping when told to or colliding with an object in his path that you don’t have enough time to react to, at least until you’ve learnt said path after a few runs. It’s classic Sonic, really, so your time spent here will be based on how much of that frustration you’re willing to live with, especially during the eventual final battle with Eggman.
To Sonic Colours benefit, then, is the lack of a traditional extra life system. Scattered across each level are Tails icons that, if you have one available, will see Tails return you very close to where you previously fell down a pit or misjudged a jump. It’s a welcome addition that takes some of the annoyance out of the experience, as later levels tend to ramp up the difficulty a tad, though there are some levels where Tails can’t come to your aid which is entirely by design.
Fans of the Blue Blur will largely be happy with what’s here and newcomers might have some fun for the half decent price point
There’s a decent amount of content to work through, as you’ll be revisiting every level to find hidden secrets and red rings, unlocking extra levels in the arcade co-op mode that’s a half-hearted distraction from the main game. You’ll eventually come across Rival Rush too, a mode that sees the return of Metal Sonic who you’ll need to beat to the finish line. Again, a lot of these little extras and the handful of cosmetics you can unlock to deck Sonic out in are minor, but kids will no doubt get a kick out of seeing some Sonic movie references and some of the hidden goodies scattered around levels can be a challenge to uncover.
Spin to Win...
Ultimately (pun intended) the biggest draw for fans of the series is to play Sonic Colours in a much nicer, fully remastered visual feast than its original presentation on the Wii, and Blind Squirrel Games have achieved that result rather well. Playing on a PS5, there’s barely any load times and the framerate doesn’t skip a beat in 4K, with colours that pop especially within the first handful of levels. It’s a shame, then, that the narrative driven cut-scenes that play out in-between the action are the original, poorly animated takes from the Wii release that stick out like a sore thumb, not unlike Nintendo’s rather similar remaster of Super Mario Sunshine last year. It’s a bad decision, either way you look at it, because the game certainly deserves the extra effort to make it the ‘Ultimate’ edition it claims to be.
Sonic Colours: Ultimate does what it can to remind you of the good things about Sonic the Hedgehog, but it still can’t turbo sprint away from the bad that continually follows the series around. It’s a highpoint for Sonic when compared to the majority of his 3D outings, and the work here to remaster the title for a new generation is mostly commendable when in motion, but it’s hard not to ignore the pure weariness of the formula despite the presence of the Wisps. Fans of the Blue Blur will largely be happy with what’s here and newcomers might have some fun for the half decent price point, but a next generation Sonic can’t come soon enough.
Sonic Colors is a 2010 platform game published by Sega. It follows Sonic’s quest to stop his nemesis Doctor Eggman from enslaving an alien race and taking over the world. The gameplay is similar to prior Sonic games, with collecting rings and defeating enemies.