Sonic Colors Ultimate Review (PS4)
Updated: Sep 26, 2021
Developed: Blind Squirrel Entertainment
Release Date: Sept 7th, 2021
Platforms: PS4/Switch/Xbox series/Epic
*Game provided to me by SEGA
''The Blue Devil''
Sonic Colors Ultimate is an action adventure platformer developed by Blind Squirrel Entertainment and published by SEGA. Releasing originally in 2010 and being praised as one of the ''good'' Sonic games, SEGA and Blind Squirrel attempt to capture some of that classic magic and bring this title to the current generation so that they too experience a Sonic game that generally all around, has critical praise. But do they succeed in this? or is this a case of Sonic only being allowed to exist as a good franchise in an MCU type of multiverse. Only one way to find out, so, let's roll around at the speed of sound!
The evil Dr. Eggman has built a gigantic interstellar amusement park thats lively with incredible rides and colorful attractions–but he’s powering it with a captured alien race called “Wisps.” Use Sonic’s lightning speed to free the Wisps and learn the secrets of their amazing powers as you explore multiple worlds, each filled with dangerous enemies and hurdles to overcome. Can the blue blur save the day once again?
Sonic Colors Ultimate as stated before is a remaster of the 2010 title on Nintendo Wii, but now this time released on multiple consoles and without the motion controls that originally weighed the original game down. Now I've been hearing absolute horror stories about what's been going on with the Nintendo Switch version of the game. Anything from seizure inducing lights, falling through the floor, Sonic himself glitching to a stand still and even game crashes. Reading this before diving into the game on PS4, I'll admit, it did make me a tad bit worried about what I could possibly experience and brought back my PTSD memories of my time with all the game breaking glitches in Sonic Forces. So I sit here thinking to myself ''Really SEGA? you're doing it again? don't know you this is gonna keep ruining poor Sonic's reputation?. When will you learn, that your action has consequences!''. Well I didn't go THAT far, but you see what I'm saying. I was worried about my overall experience on PS4, but thankfully enough, I did not experience game breaking glitches in my playthrough. A few minor ones, but overall, nothing that make me rage my mind out. But we'll get to that stuff in a little bit. Let's dive into the actual game play itself and see just what exactly you'll be doing in your new adventure.
As you start your game, you're immediately thrusted into action without any warning whatsoever. Its just like ''thanks for clicking start, now its time to die''. The opening stage acts as your tutorial to help you get a feeling of the controls and learn the basics of jumping and using your homing attack against enemy robots, pressing circle to use your speed dash, double jumping and just basic all around maneuvering that you'll be repeating throughout the entirety of your playthrough. Its a fairly decent tutorial level and gives you a chance to get a taste of just what's to come and let me tell you, there's a lot more to come, trust me. Both in a positive and negative way. After blasting your way through the tutorial level, we shift focus to our would be heroes, Sonic and Tails, as they arrive at the Gold Saucer to grind out the battle arena for Sonic's limit break, Omnislash. Well actually, no, It's Robotnik's new evil theme park. Now I say evil with a tad bit of reluctance because after seeing this place, it looks awesome, I would so go there. I just hope Baldy McNoseHair doesn't charge me for a fast pass plus and a genie service because that's one wish I don't want granted. Following a short little skirmish with some of robotniks lacky's, after you save one of the aliens known as Wisps from their grasp, the game officially gets under way and as a wise man once said, ''NOW THIS is PodRacing!''. No, not you, you little twerp. I'm talking about the wise words known as ''Poyo!''. Which when translated means ''Shut up already, talk more about game play''. Noted Kirby. Noted.
When you officially arrive at the world map screen, you will notice that there is a selection of 7 different worlds to choose from, with one or two new areas unlocking the further you advance in the game. Also visible on your screen is an options satellite and a metal sonic looking head. What do these do exactly and what is their overall purpose? Well they're actually pretty significant in the grand scheme of things, that is if you're a completionist and want to experience everything this game has to offer you and then some. We will come back to those very shortly in the extra stuff section of the review because even after the main campaign is done, you are FAR from finished. As you navigate through the list of levels and try to figure out which you want to do, you will see a level named Sweet Mountain, which is basically a Candy Land board game come to life and it should just be called diabetes land if I'm going to be honest, but I won't lie, it actually did make me hungry, I need donuts, like now. You also have the starting area where your adventure begins with Tropical Resort, which acts as the main section of the entire amusement park. I still don't get how this place is evil, unlike some other parks I've been to, It actually seems rather tame and thankfully it doesn't have that jerk face, Cait Sith for me to look at. Ugh. Yes I know, ''It's been like 24 years, cant you like just get over it or something''. Well yeah sure, I'll get over it.. in my own way. If there's one thing about this game that is definitely not lacking, its in the variety and game play department. Each individual level has their own separate theme or gameplay mechanic. Themes such as a Starlight Carnival that puts you in an on rails situation where you're being chased and you have to run your little butt off to keep pace, jump on sliding ramps and try to stay alive and even take flight on an Asteroid Cluster level, which kind reminds me a bit of Mario Galaxy in a way, but that's probably due to the whole space theme. While one level went from on rails, this one has you fly and run through space and use homing attacks on gigantic asteroids to move them out of your way. Man, you thought roid rage Chris Redfield was a beast for punching a boulder? Well Chris doesn't have anything on Sonic. It makes you wonder, why didn't they just recruit Sonic to help move the comet away from the earth, that way Bruce Willis didn't have to die. Where is captain hindsight when we need him?.
Even 10 years later after the games initial release, I'm still shocked at the amount of variety in its game play that this game continues to show level after level. There is literally never a dull moment and this is actually due to not only the creativity of the stages themselves with allowing you to fill your boost gage and fly at blistering speeds through your enemy, figure out slight puzzles with switches to unlock new areas, ramps that give you momentum to make jumps over large gaps which gives you the ability to do awesome trick moves in the air to get better elevation to reach higher rails or platforms to obtain collectible items found throughout the game. Collectibles? wait what? shh shh. We'll get to that, calm down. While all the above is great, Its still not what makes this game so fast, frenzy like and engaging. Sure by itself, the things I named could sell the game, no question, however what really makes this game that much more unique and special than other 3D Sonic games out there that have come out afterwards, is the power of the Wisps. I mentioned them briefly at the beginning of the game play section of the review, but now I want to elaborate a bit further on how these little guys change the entire dynamic of every level you play. Each wisp you befriend is associated with a color, such as white, cyan, pink or even orange and every color signifies a different power they offer you. For instance the white wisps when picked up will gain you extra boost power on your boost meter that will allow you to sprint at Sonic speed through sections of a level, which is especially helpful for chase scene sections of the game. While you also have Cyan Wisps that allows you to turn into a torpedo like laser and zoom across a stage or use the laser to zap into crystals for an extra boost to skip you through the level. Pink Wisps that allows you to turn into a spike ball and climb on walls not previously accessible, and even green wisps that give you the ability to float and hover over big ledges and various other obstacles and if timed right, you can bypass extreme hazardous areas with ease ,and there's even a power up for the orange wisp that turns you into a rocket that can blast you off again, just like team rocket, to find even more secrets and collectibles if done in the right section. I never find myself bored. Its one amazing idea after another with this game. So much fun.
So that's a lot of great stuff about this game so far right? I mean that's not even all of them. I still have a few more things to talk about. But.. there are some issues that creep up from time to time or even outstay their welcome that I'd like to talk about. No game is perfect, not even this Sonic game or masterpieces like Sonic 1 to 3. While overall the game runs itself pretty well and the new input that abandons the use of motion controls from the Wii, for the most part work and feel great, but there are a few hiccups along the way. For instance, when trying to wall jump, it doesn't always sync 1:1 with you and it can feel a tad bit delayed and should your timing be off, you'll just fall straight back down below, which could lead to your death. When trying to make simple jumps near a wall or even when you're just standing near one trying to aim yourself at another platform, Sonic by default will stick to the wall, causing you to get out of rhythm of your jump and sometimes die, which sucks, but luckily there's no real penalty for dying, so eh, screw it I suppose, all water under the fridge, isn't that right, Ricky?. Glitches also happened, not on the level of some of the Switch related stuff I've seen but I had a few issues creep up on me during the rollercoaster section of the game where I would be trying to jump and collect coins, but it just ends up throwing me off the coaster instead and I go ''weee'', all the way down to my death and have to do the level all over again. Thankfully it's not as pure chaos as the Switch versions seems to be. Although I do wonder how exaggerated the claims are of the overall glitches. You know how the internet LOVES to exaggerate. Either way SEGA will be able to fix that stuff in patches. Also there was a ruckus recently over people causing the glitches seen online, using the Yuzu Emulator to play this game illegally on emulator. Woah kids. You're going to end up on an episode of Sonic Says if you aren't careful or... hearing from a lawyer very soon.
So we talked about how each of the wisps improve the game mechanics and makes every level unique to play, we covered how each theme of the world is different from each other with sections of the game that range from amusement parks to under water aquariums, candy lands, running on rings of planets like Saturn, the fast and engaging game play that never takes you out of the action and blends 2D and 3D sonic to the point of near perfection, there's really nothing more to cover about the game play right? Wrong, ya big dumb dumb. We still haven't gotten to one of the best parts of the game, the boss fights baby. The boss fights in Sonic Colors are really exciting and engaging, at least to me. They also can be pretty challenging if you don't pick up on their attack patterns fast enough. One of the first enemies you fight in the early game, you're stuck in a round room with him that has platforms spinning around for you to jump on, all while you have to dodge regular enemies, lasers he shoots at you, while also dodging his hand slams and this is at the same time you're trying to make it up to his face to boop him on the nose on the nose like a good boy. Other fights however are a little easier. The easier and more straight forward boss fights require you to move around the top of a ship, bouncing off enemy cannonballs to get across the stage to release switches that damage the enemy airship, and then a small boss fight where again you just bop him on the head three times, but this time in a 2D style fight. There is one major boss fight at the end of each section of a world and they all get better as they go, they're so good. After fighting all the bosses, even ones that frustrate you, you'll be wishing the campaign was longer than just a mere 3-4 hours long. That's a bummer. You know a game is giving you a good time when you just want more and more.
When you're all done with the main story mode, be prepared to have a LOT more to do. Sonic Colors Ultimate is heavy in the replayability department. Upon completion of the game, go back to your main hub world and you will again find options satellite and metal Sonic's head, which is called Rival Rush. Let's start off with option satellite. Under this category you can see all the progress you made in the game, such as red rings you've collected, which when gaining all of them in the entire game, will give you the opportunity to unlock Super Sonic and also give you an update on how many Park tokens you have accumulated so far. What are park tokens you ask? well its simple to think of them as your peter piper pizza coins. You may use these to buy items to customize Sonic with various aesthetics such as gold and silver gloves, galaxy gloves or even boost coloring aura and shoes from the recent Sonic movie and other classic SEGA titles. Great, so how do you even get them?. Well, these tokens can be picked up as you play through each individual. Some are right out in the open and simple as pie to grab, while others may take some trial and error to get to or even make you wait till you have the proper wisp power up to even reach them, such as having to use rocket wisp to fly or digging power to find one hidden in the earth. You can even get avatars for your profile that relate to different variations of Sonic, including from the new movie. I went with Baby Sonic because, look at him, he's cute as heck, I want a baby hedgehog. I'm going to have to whine to my dad to get me one, ''BUT DADDY I WANT IT NOW''. Got to harness my inner Veruca here, but hopefully I'm not sent to the fire pits like she was. After obtaining the plethora of collectibles in the game, all 7 emeralds, super sonic, all red rings, all park tokens, all clothes, you still have one thing left to do and that's rival rush mode. Rival Rush mode is a series of races against a character like Metal Sonic, where you see whos the fastest version of Sonic in super quick and intense races. These range from super fun to really frustrating because one mistake can cost you the whole race and make you start all over again. Sometimes it can feel a little cheap because he always seems to take shortcuts and is constantly on your tail, however, I feel this makes it even more fun as it pushes you to your limit and strive to perfect a level in an almost speed run type fashion. If you ain't first, you're last.
At the end of the day Sonic Colors Ultimate overall achieves what it set out to do. Take a classic Sonic 3D game and bring it into the current generation market for everyone to enjoy. Sure it has set backs with wall jumping not feeling as fluid and responsive as I'd like it to be, sticking to walls like you're Spider-Man, few game glitches here and there that can cause your death, lots of small things here, but nothing big. However, even with all the small bad things, I feel the positives far outweigh the bad. The games graphical update that makes everything look more sleek with its lighting, new control scheme that works mostly perfect without motion controls, engaging boss fights that keep things intense, wonderful utilization of the wisp powers to drill through dirt for secrets or teleport yourself through walls as a wisp ghost. Say what you want about the whole Sonic cycle, but at least in colors case, we don't have a game ending with a woman kissing a hedgehog. But hey, maybe for every hedgehog you kiss, you get a magical prince?. At the end of the day, Sonic Colors Ultimate offers up just enough to justify the $40 price tag and gives me confidence in recommending this title to people. Your options for purchasing this game are wide open too, even more so than Sonic's mouth animation in Sonic Adventure. With Sonic Colors Ultimate, you ULTIMATELY get to pick your poison and choose between four different platforms to play this game on. Where should you buy it if choose to? well that's simple, 'Some place warm, a place where the beer flows like wine, where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano. I’m talking about a little place called PS4. Or.. just do what you want!. So with everything here having been said, my verdict is clear. GameNChick says Buy now.
Sonic. You got a bright future ahead of you kid. Ehh...maybe....