Blue Is The Fastest Color
HIGH Some of the best gameplay in the series.
LOW Oh boy, those cutscenes…
WTF Sega, drop a 4K remaster of Sonic Generations, please.
GameCritics readers may notice that I mention Sonic Heroes in my bio as a fairly important game in my development. I know that 3D Sonic games tend to have a negative reputation among fans of the series, but I share a different opinion. Growing up during the heyday of the Blue Blur’s 3D exploits, I vividly remember my obsession with them. However, as a kid, I missed out on a few titles — Sonic Colors, for one.
This 2010 Wii exclusive received fairly positive reviews and is generally regarded as one of the best in the franchise. In it, Sonic and Tails must help free an enslaved alien race known as Wisps from the clutches of series antagonist Dr. Eggman in a large, intergalactic theme park.
Now 11 years later, Sega has enlisted Blind Squirrel Games (the devs behind the excellent Mass Effect: Legendary Edition) to remaster Sonic Colors with the subtitle Ultimate. This Wii platformer now sports a fresh coat of paint for modern consoles, allowing a new generation of Sonic fans (and old ones like myself) a chance to play one of the best entries in this long-running series.
As usual for Sonic, gameplay revolves around running fast. Colors belongs to a period in Sonic’s history called the “boost era” in which most levels involve the player running straight through, occasionally gaining a momentary speed boost. Whizzing by environments at blistering speeds is a thrilling thing and memorizing stage layouts for subsequent playthroughs is a must in order to find new collectibles and hidden paths that were missed the first time. The main hook that differentiates Colors are the Wisps.
Colored Wisps populate each level, and each color of wisp has its own special ability. White Wisps allow Sonic to boost at any time, blue ones allow him to turn certain blocks into rings, yellow ones allow him to burrow into specific places like a drill and there are a few others thrown in for good measure. These Wisps add variety to the standard running and jumping of most levels, and they offer a chance to toy around with different mechanics. For example, it feels good to slow down in a game that’s usually fast, and using Wisps to explore the maps is great for replay value.
While the addition of the Wisps is great, the real star of Sonic Colors is the presentation — Eggman’s space-themed park looks gorgeous thanks to a resolution boost on PS4. One of the most impressive areas was one where Sonic was running on a rainbow-colored track floating in the middle of space with an armada of space ships flying below him while another was full of sweets, snacks, and the occasional fast food item. This added detail looks great during gameplay, but the cutscenes are a different story.
Since the Wii didn’t output to HD back in 2010, many of the cutscenes are in a lower resolution thanks to the fact they’re pre-rendered CG as opposed to being graphics being rendered in real-time. While the art style and voice acting are great, the actual quality of these scenes is quite muddy and unpleasant — they’re a stark contrast to the rest of the experience.
Disappointing cutscenes aside, Sonic Colors Ultimate offers a solid package that finally gives modern console owners a chance to play one of the best entries in the Sonic catalog, and any hedgehog fans out there who haven’t tried it yet should track it down.
Disclosures: This game is published by Sega and developed by Blind Squirrel Games. It is available on PS4, PS5, XBX/S XBO, Switch, and PC. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the PS5. Approximately 8 hours were spent in the single-player and the game was completed. No time was spent in multiplayer.
Parents: According to the ESRB this game is rated E for Cartoon Violence. The site reads: This is an action-platformer in which players assume the role of Sonic the Hedgehog as he zooms across fantastical landscapes collecting gold rings and power-ups. Sonic can use spin attacks to knock over several robot enemies, resulting in punching sound effects, grunts, and brief explosions. Boss fights involve more protracted combat with larger robot enemies; combat can involve avoiding laser fire and pursuing and dashing at enemies from a third-person perspective.
Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: Subtitles and on-screen instructions can be adjusted and audio is not needed to enjoy this game, thanks to the abundance of visual cues. This game is fully accessible.
Remappable Controls: Yes the controls are remappable.