Review: Sonic Colours
Posted 05 Jan 2011 at 19:18 by Jo
|"At first glance Sonic Colours is nothing more than a new Sonic Rush 3"|
For years Sonic fans had to look to the handhelds if they wanted a decent experience. From Advance to Rush Adventure, Dimps has been doing a good job of letting the blue hedgehog keep some of his pride intact sometimes with more success than others, but unmistakably striking a chord with the Rush games.
At first glance Sonic Colours is nothing more than a new Sonic Rush 3, zipping and boosting along the levels at high speeds you barely need to look at what's going on, but this is where the little aliens called Wisps come in to change things. Spread throughout the levels as power-ups they come in six different colours for six different effects: you can use bursts of fire to string consecutive jumps together or destroy things, turn into a rocket that boosts straight up into the air and a drill than can go through soft earth and water, transform into a fast laser that ricochets of surface or a void that swallows everything in its path as it gets bigger and fast, while the white Wisp simply increases your boost gauge.
Goodness gracious, great balls of fire!
Instead of being there to help you take out the enemies, the power-ups are mostly used to find alternate routes where you can find special rings that unlock special missions, artwork, music and cutscenes. There are times when you have to use Wisps to advance through the levels, but it's usually up to you if you'll use them or run through the game just like you did in the previous Sonic Rush games. This makes for interesting level design choices and should offer replay value, but the truth is there's very little incentive to explore levels a second time. Yes, you unlock all those things and see different paths, but it doesn't seem worth it at all, the levels are still designed for mindless speed especially now that the infamous bottomless pits are pretty much gone and taking different paths usually means split second decisions that only a Jedi could make as well as knowledge of the map layout that doesn't come easily considering that everything pretty much looks the same and uncharacteristic throughout an act. Still, it's undeniable that the level design is a step up.
Considering that the side missions are excruciatingly annoying and consist on getting a number of coins, saving Wisps or defeating enemies under a stupidly short amount of time and that collecting all the chaos emeralds is so easy you'll probably do it on your first run, all that's left to offer to continue playing after you beat the final boss is the time attack and versus modes, which can actually be fun for a while, especially since you can race against other people offline or online.
In the end everything boils down to enduring some dialogue to introduce a new Wisp, quickly zipping through two levels and fighting a boss. Boss fights are pretty much like the ones in the previous Rush games; taking up both screens you're up against a giant robot that can be destroyed ridiculously fast except for the times when you have to figure out his obscure and oddly precise weak point, making you wish you were running along at blazing speeds instead of stuck in an arena. Repeat this 6 times, add two final bosses and you're left with a game that can be finished in a few hours.
Like a boss!
Colours also sounds and looks like the previous DS Sonic games, the graphics aren't a technical achievement but the levels look good enough, especially at high speeds, with some nice touches like submerged traditional Japanese buildings or dinosaur skeletons that chase you. The two screens are used to a great effect, making everything seem even more vertical as you go from one screen to another when you jump or grind down a rail. The music is pretty damn good, still retaining that hip-hop and funk style, although toned down compared to the previous Dimps outings, which makes sense considering Hideki Naganuma only contributed with his characteristic sounds in Sonic Rush. Thankfully there isn't a lot of the unnecessary fluff that Sega likes to add to Sonic games, you don't need to jump through hoops just to select a level like in Sonic Rush Adventure, there aren't a lot of cutscenes and Sonic's friends like Blaze and Silver only appear on the side missions. It's still impossible not to be annoyed by the story segments, but since they're relatively short and skippable there's not a lot of damage.
Sonic Colours improves on the Rush series' level design mostly by removing the badly placed bottomless pits and adding the Wisps that turn the game into more than pressing right to win. Theoretically there's incentive to go back to the levels, but in the end the game doesn't make the trip worth it leaving us with a good game that's marred for being too short.
N-Europe Final Verdict
Sonic Colours offers some good times and the Wisps are an interesting alternative to simply running, but it's over in a second and feels like there's a lot that could've been expanded on
Wisps shake things up
Good level design
Extras aren't worth it
Terrible difficult spikes