Saturday, 14 February 2015

Sonic Colours: Time to Reach for the Stars

Since Blaster's Reviews started almost a year ago, 100 posts have been written, with this one making post 100 and the 43rd Review... No this doesn't have anything to do with today's review, just thought you'd like to know a few stats in the lead up to the Anniversary.

Ah Sonic, the turn of the millennium has not been kind to you has it? Fluctuating sales, SEGA cutting jobs and for the foreseeable future, your home is going to be on Mobile devices and PC downloads. Its sad to say that the last good console game Sonic will be in for now is Super Smash Brothers for WiiU. A lot of people say that Sonic hasn't had a good game between Sonic Adventure 2 and Sonic Generations, but as you could probably tell from my review of Sonic Unleashed, I disagree. Sonic had 6 games on the Wii with the last game being Sonic Colours. Now I want to make myself clear with this: Yes, I know that there is a DS version, I've played that version to death. But I'm sticking to the Wii Version with this review as I want to cover Colours DS when I eventually review the other Dimps Sonic games. Time to take off at the speed of sounds, with the bright lights and colours all around. Time to review, Sonic Colours.

So what's the plot? Dr Eggman has built an Interstellar Amusement Park, consisting of 6 planetoids and is using it to kidnap aliens called Wisps with the intent to harness their "Hyper Go-On" Power to power a Mind control device in one of the planetoids, brainwashing the planet below to add to the Amusement Park, eventually becoming the Eggman Empire. You're Sonic, you have to stop him. I'm not kidding, that's it. The plot is kept simple for this game, something that is a common theme for Colours.

Now what do I mean by that? I mean it in a gameplay perspective. There's no multiple characters, there's no Krathog (See the Unleashed review). Its nothing but Daytime Sonic through to the end. Almost everything Sonic could do in Unleashed's HD version, he can do here with what he doesn't still know, he gets back with the new mechanic in this, the Wisps. The Wisps are just glorified powerups which expand Sonic's movement capabilities. You've got the Cyan Laser which allows Sonic to use special crystals to move, bounce off walls and obliterate badniks in the burst of speed you get. The Yellow Drill which allows Sonic to move freely below ground and in water, the Orange Rocket which shoots him straight into the air allowing him to float back down, one of the most useless powers in the game: the Blue Cube which gives Sonic a stronger ground pound that has a AOE (area of effect) for badnik destroying and turns blue rings into blue platforms and vice versa for a period of time. The Green Hover allows Sonic to hover in the air and use the Light Speed Dash, Pink Spikes that gives him the Spin Dash again and move along walls and both my most loved and most hated power, the Nega Frenzy which eats anything in its path, getting bigger as a result allowing for more destruction at the cost of a slower movement. Frenzy's great in 2D sections (yes they make a return) but HORRIBLE in 3D as the thing never stays in a straight line for me. The powers though are fun to use and mandatory if you go after the collectables of the game and S Ranks, but for the most part avoidable if you just want to get to the end of the level.

When I said it was like HD Day time stages, I meant it, the gameplay is exactly the same. You've got your Boost back, this time from White Wisps you can get from capsules or from badniks, not rings. Ranks are the same as usual, no experience system this time and the collectables, the Sun and Moon Medals, have been replaced with Red Rings, with 5 in each level, not including boss fights. You DO NOT need to get any Red Rings to beat the game, but if you do, you can unlock challenge levels, including levels based on stages from Sonic 1, and i you complete all of those levels, which need all the red rings to unlock, you can play as Super Sonic in regular gameplay. For the first time in 3D Sonic history, YOU CAN PLAY AS SUPER SONIC IN REGULAR LEVELS!!! Have I ever done that? No, I can't be bothered to get all the Red Rings.

Aesthetics wise, I love the way this game looks and sounds. There are worlds to the game, Tropical Resort (which is the only world that resembles an amusement park), Sweet Mountain (aka your Dentist's nightmare come to live as everything is junk food), Starlight Carnival (which I've already gushed over in my Top 10 Sonic Zones) and then  their three clones being, in order, Planet Wisp, Aquarium Park and Asteroid Coaster. The final world, Terminal Velocity, is a "technically" world as its 1 stage, the final boss (which is pathetically easy) and then a second stage that's scripted to be done in under a minute. While repetitive, Sonic Colours is one of the few Sonic games I regularly go back to as the levels themselves are a blast to play through (and as I said in the Top 10, Starlight Carnival and Asteroid Coaster are by far, the best worlds in the game). The soundtrack is a great collection of orchestral, techno and rock, which as a result, for me at least, puts Colours' Soundtrack as my all time favorite Sonic soundtrack of original compositions. While I don't normally cover voice actors, there is one thing I do want to bring up. This is the first game to use the (at time of writing) current voice actors and their performance in this, with the exception of one, isn't great. However I am willing to let it slide as, again, this is the first time. Mike Pollock is the only returning voice actor and has the most lines in the game as there are PA announcements in each of the levels and the hub map (no hub worlds). Here they are if you want a laugh.

The game isn't without its faults, and the only fault I see being an actual problem for people is its difficulty. The game is really easy with its only difficulty coming from some cheap placements, with the worst offender for me is Terminal Velocity (not the boss though). If you're used to Sonic gameplay, then you'll be racking in the lives, especially against bosses which are all pathetically easy, with several of them able to be destroyed in one hit if you know what you're doing and can effectively use the Wisps. Most of the acts are also ridiculously short and reused set pieces are plentiful. If you're looking for a comfortable game, a stress reliever if you would, then I'd give this a shot, otherwise give it a miss as its short and easy. Next week, we'll be staying in space with Sonic counterpart, time to review some Mario games with Super Mario Galaxy and it sequel, Super Mario Galaxy 2.

Foot note: Before I get complaints on grammar on the matter, where I live, colour and colours are spelt with a u, thats why I spelt it that way. Its not spelt colors!!!

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