Published on October 5th, 2021 | by Zorbz
REVIEW – Sonic Colours Ultimate (PS4)
3D Sonic titles have always been hit and miss since Sonic Adventure on the Dreamcast through to others such as Sonic Heroes, Sonic 06, Sonic unleashed etc with both fans and haters alike. Sonic Colours came out exclusively on the Wii in 2010 after underwhelming Sonic titles such as Sonic and the secret rings and Sonic and the black knight and breathed some much needed life into the exclusive Wii Sonic scene with one of the best modern Sonic titles in a long time. How does it hold up in 2021?
Story: Much like every other Sonic title, Eggman is up to his nefarious antics, except this time he has taken his conquest to outer space and enslaved the alien race known as the ‘Wisps’. Sonic being the constant thorn in Eggman’s side travels to space to free the Wisps and also completely destroy everything Eggman has built, but let’s be honest, he deserves it, just look at those glasses and mustache. Did I also mention he is enslaving the Wisps by harnessing their power to create a mind-control laser to take over the earth? What a jerk.
It’s definitely something different story wise for Sonic and the games included cutscenes serve as a decent backbone for fleshing this out. The only gripe I have is that these cutscenes have not been up-res’d since the original Wii release like the rest of the game has, but they are still decent enough to get the job done and for the time being on the Wii actually looked quite impressive.
Graphics: Visually Sonic Colours when it originally released on the Wii was easily one of the best looking titles the system had on offer! Bringing this across to modern platforms 11 years later, the game still holds up surprisingly well. Sonic himself looks great and has very fluid animation as well as the enemies scattered through out your playthrough. The environments though are what steal the show as they are all very distinct from each other, going from an amusement park, to a more tropical looking oasis to a planet that looks to be made up of sweets/lollies, they’re all very unique and distinct from each other.
The nice bump up in resolution goes to show that despite being made on the Wii these visuals were top notch for their time and going from a system that was barely able to output 480p to now being able to output at 1440p on both the PS4 and PS5 really shows that amazing artistic flair that was put into the game in the first place.
Aside from the resolution bump you also get a locked 60fps which i didn’t experience dropping at all throughout my time completing the game as well as some improved lighting on offer to add a bit of extra charm. Admittedly I would have loved a full remake to match current gaming visuals but in all honestly it’s not really needed as the game still looks great.
Gameplay: Sonic Colours incorporates both blistering speed in 3D sonic platforming to more traditional slower paced precision platforming giving both fans of 3D and 2D Sonic titles something to sink into whilst also adding in the power of the Wisps which change things up completely.
The wisps grant Sonic powers such as turning into a drill to plow through the ground underneath, to changing into a laser beam to blast through enemies or bounce off of obstacles. As you play through the game you will unlock more Wisp abilities which can be used to replay play previous levels to uncover new secrets. The new wisp abilities when showed off originally looked to be a gimmick that wouldn’t really be enjoyable but for the most part these wisp abilities add some much needed freshness to the gameplay.
One of my favourite aspects besides the Wisp abilities is how the levels have you playing in a 3D perspective only to then seamlessly transition into a 2D side perspectives and vice versa. It breaks up the intense fast paced action and slows it down enough to a more methodical approach with each level knowing when to ramp things up and slow them down. Both gameplay styles work well and change up the gameplay enough to add in some more depth and with crazy level designs there’s a lot of fun to be had.
One thing that still haunts Sonic colours is how you can be blasting away at speed only to be abruptly stopped and it has been something that has plagued 3D Sonic games for years. Fortunately this doesn’t happen nearly as often as other titles in the franchise.
Another oddity is how floaty Sonic feels when in the 2D sections of the game, his jump just feels off, but again I always compared this to the Megadrive titles which were a lot more tight and precise. You do get used to this though and there is some really great platforming sections.
Now not every level is designed to perfection as some can be tedious or just lack the charm of others, but for the majority the levels don’t overstay their welcome and thanks to some amazing environments and visuals you can just soak in everything and blast your way through each planet.
Sound: Sonic titles have always had their fair share of amazing music, but I have to say that Sonic Colours definitely has some of the best music of a Sonic game period (well since the Megadrive titles at least) The music for each world is just top notch and so catchy I still find myself humming it regularly.
The voice acting is great and features all the original cast you’ve come to know over the years. Eggman’s two robot henchmen Orbot and Cubot definitely steal the show and provide much needed comedic relief.
Apart from great music and voice acting the game also features all the classic sound effects you’ve come to love from collecting rings to hitting checkpoints etc and also has some crazy announcer guy who yells out the name of the Wisp power up you enable, i guess it just makes it that much more intense? either way I dig it.
Awesomeness: Sonic games have always featured multiple paths to get through levels and Sonic Colours is no different, EXCEPT! you can now use the Wisp abilities you collect to access new areas in previous levels you’ve played as well as using them to find hidden Red star coins which are used to unlock more levels in the simulation mode.
What is this simulation mode you ask? It’s kind of like bite sized levels you need to complete to unlock emeralds, which upon getting all of them unlocks Super Sonic. That’s of course when the real fun stars as everyone knows Super Sonic is badass.
The replayability here is great and aside from the red coins to obtain there is a ranking system at the end of each level where you want to strive to hit that S rank just for pure street cred, a.k.a showing off your Playstation trophy list and acting like you’re the coolest kid on the block.
Getting the S ranks isn’t a breeze so it gives some much needed challenge to perfecting your runs.
Final Word: Sonic Colours is a great title that I feel was a bit under appreciated on the Wii so I am glad it has been covered in a fresh coat of paint and re-released for all the people that missed it or even the people like myself who loved it but just couldn’t deal with a horrible resolution on modern 4K displays.
Definitely pick this up if you’re a Sonic fan or even if you just love some good old platforming action and don’t want to be bogged down by a thousand hour open world experience which seemingly drive me nuts.
Out of 5 Bugs!