Back in the ‘90s Sonic the Hedgehog was a force. Amazing sprites, infectious music, and some of the best experiences on Sega Genesis. This continued until Sonic Adventure 2, where experiences started to get weird and moved in a variety of different directions. Even if Sonic ultimately never achieved the consistency of Mario, a couple of games hit the same sweet spot. One of the later ones, Sonic Colors, introduced players to a new creature known as a wisp. Each of these creatures offered different powers and abilities that Sonic could use to complete levels, uncover secrets or simply achieve a higher score. However, due to it being a Nintendo Wii and DS exclusive, many players missed out. A little over a decade later, Sonic Colors: Ultimate hopes to bring this gem to more platforms but is it worth revisiting?
Sonic Colors: Ultimate features a relatively straightforward adventure. In an effort of goodwill and to make up for his past mistakes, Dr. Eggman created an interstellar amusement park. Naturally, Sonic and Miles were both apprehensive about trusting their long-time villain, resulting in them looking into the park. While there, they meet one of the aforementioned Wisps, who tells them Dr. Eggman is using them to power his amusement park. As a result, they team up to bring down Dr. Eggman’s latest evil plot.
Even if the story is nothing special, not that it needs to be, it has a fair bit of laughs. Cubot, who first appeared in this game, is introduced with his voice chip stuck on cowboy. It makes for an amusing joke, one that largely works because of how infrequently he appears. Another running joke is Sonic and Miles’s nonchalant attitude towards their often defeated foe, often highlighting his already silly antics.
Like a lot of newer Sonic games, Sonic Colors: Ultimate uses the intergalactic amusement park to their advantage. Many stages feature elaborate designs and promote the scale of their current objective. Between illuminated walkways, massive structures, and more, Sonic Colors: Ultimate has a lot to see and experience.
While adventuring through the world, there are collectible red coins, alternate paths, and more to discover. Oftentimes these levels require multiple playthroughs to fully experience. It isn’t uncommon for a specific wisp needed to collect a red coin, certain paths delivering enough points to achieve S rank. This gives Sonic Colors: Ultimate a good amount of replayability, which is furthered with a wide variety of cosmetics.
Customize Sonic in a variety of ways
Not only is there a plethora of glove and shoe colors, but players can also further Sonic’s look with different auras and boost animations. There are also a lot of avatars, many of which showcase Sega games over the years, be it Clockwork Knight, Jet Grind Radio, or Sonic’s recent movie.
All this being said, Sonic Colors: Ultimate struggles to make a really cohesive package. Unlike earlier titles where Sonic runs forward and you pick a path, many of the alternate paths are dictated by Wisps. They take some getting used to and it isn’t uncommon for their purpose to be initially overlooked. It’s nothing too bad, just not as fluid as it really should be.
It also isn’t uncommon for mechanics to feel uneven. Sometimes Sonic will stop short taking damage, mechanics aren’t quite as fluid as they should be, and things like this. Like most things, there is a learning curve, but these rough patches just don’t have the same fluidity you’d expect from a modern game.
Some of the cutscenes really show Sonic Colors age
Finally, Sega might’ve done a good job bringing a lot of the graphics forward but some of the cutscenes show its age. Not only are they pixelated, the renderings feel dated and it looks every bit as much a Wii game as you’d expect. Thankfully, these make up a small part of Sonic Colors: Ultimate, though it will disappoint some.
Sonic Colors: Ultimate Review Verdict
For the most part, Sonic Colors: Ultimate is a welcome port. It might not be the perfect Sonic game, it has fun mechanics and plenty to explore. Wisps add a good amount of variety, often unlocking new and different paths, making them a welcome addition to the franchise. Add in some neat locations, a silly store, and more, Sonic Colors: Ultimate might not be perfect but it’s a good modern Sonic game.
[Editor’s Note: Sonic Colors: Ultimate was reviewed on PlayStation 5 and a copy was provided to us for review purposes.]