Sonic Colors

4.5 Overall Score

Written by on December 15, 2010 in

Sonic the Hedgehog has had a rough time of it since the inception of the 3-D era. A venerable gaming icon back in the day the speedy mammal has seen his blue fur tarnished by one sub-par game after another. One of the last refuges of quality for the Sonic series, though, has been on the handheld market where Sonic has been able to maintain his 2-D platforming roots. Now Sonic is taking another stab at the Nintendo DS with Sonic Colors.

The story this time around is much as it always is. Doctor Eggman is collecting a bunch of magical mcguffins in order to power his newest world-conquring device. This time around the power source comes in the form of colorful little aliens known as wisps. These wisps also serve as Sonic Colors new power-up system with each newly rescued alien granting Sonic a new color ability. A red wisps makes Sonic flame and explode, a white wisps makes his boost, an orange wisps makes Sonic into a rocket, etc. Other than these new power ups, though, the gameplay is the traditional 2-D Sonic fare of speedy left-to-right platforming and when the game is doing this is when it’s at it’s best. Unfortunately the aforementioned power-ups which much of the game is built around are the most unruly and detracting of the games mechanics. These powered up forms are often difficult to control and can bring Sonic’s momentum to a screeching halt.

In traditional Sonic fashion the game is divided into six themed areas with each area containing two running levels and one boss battle. In addition to these core stages the player is also granted a handful of challenge stages. In these special stages the player must complete a running course before time runs out while meeting certain conditions like collecting a set amount of rings or defeating a certain number of enemies. It is here that Sonic Colors’ difficulty curve becomes rather distorted. While the main stages work on a reasonable difficulty curve and can be completed without too many failures the challenge stages are brutally difficult from the very beginning (often due to a ridiculously short stage time limit). While these stages aren’t required to progress through the game completionists may find themselves banging their heads against the wall with these extra stages. Additionally, without these bonus stages the game is criminally short with experienced players likely being able to reach the end credits within an hour or two.

This entry in the Sonic DS library also takes advantage of the Nintendo DS’s Wi-Fi capabilities with a verses mode. Here players can race against other nearby DS players in either multi-card or single-card mode (which cuts out the need to find a friend who also happens to own the game). The game also features online leaderboards for the time-trial mode. This function, however, seems to be rather broken at the moment (unless, of course, there are people who can complete every stage in just one-tenth of a second).

Presentation-wise Sonic Colors lives up to its moniker with a bright and colorful ascetic that not only gives the game a cheery and lighthearted feel but also makes it easier to distinguish objects and paths while running though a stage at full speed. The game also features high quality full-motion-video cinematics during key moments of the plot and one of the better soundtracks of the recent Sonic games (with the opening theme being a particularly catchy tune). While not pushing any boundaries on the Nintendo DS hardware, Sonic Colors has a pleasant look and sound that adds to the overall gameplay experience.

Overall Sonic Colors is not a bad game. It just isn’t all that great. The parts of the game that work well are basically copied and pasted from previous Sonic DS games and the new attempts to add variety to the gameplay generally fall flat and detract from the overall game. Hardcore Sonic fans may still want to check out Sonic Colors but more casual fans would likely be better off picking up Sonic’s previous DS outings Sonic Rush and Sonic Rush Adventure.

A copy of Sonic Colors was supplied to The Married Gamers for the purpose of examination and review.

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Author: Tylor Long View all posts by

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