Much improved over previous games, but still has many flaws

User Rating: 6 | Sonic Colors: Ultimate (Launch Edition) NS

Oh man, where do I start. I'm not the biggest 3D Sonic fan and never have been. I didn't care for Sonic Adventure even when I was a kid. My hot take here is that Sonic Adventure is awful and not a good game. Sonic Team seems to be the only developer on the planet that can't improve their games in 20 years. Sonic Generations was the only good 3D Sonic game because it cut out all the crap that slows the game down and makes it frustrating. Why do you need combat? Why do we need gimmicks? Mario hasn't changed in 30 years but has somehow naturally evolved. Why can't Sonic just do what it's good at Going fast?

That may have made some people mad, but I don't care. This type of stubbornness is just unacceptable today. Now Sonic Colors is a better 3D Sonic game, but it has many problems. The game is poorly balanced in difficulty, but it makes going fast still fun. I hate the combat. I don't like homing in on enemies to speed the game up. If anything it makes jumps inaccurately. I nearly tore my hair out trying to complete certain levels due to stupid game mechanics.

Sonic's double jump is terrible. It's too floaty and I constantly overshot jumps or undershot them. His wall jumping is awful. You have to waggle the stick in the same direction as each jump. This is too much for a game that's supposed to be fast. The Wisps, while interesting in their own way, just slow the entire game down. Some are neat like the drill that lets you burrow through water and dirt. The purple one that turns you into a giant monster is fun. The green one that lets you shoot around like a dart is also fun. The ghost is an awful Wisp. It's slow, the zooming through rings mechanic just doesn't work right, and it made some levels insanely difficult to complete. The Wisps are cute, but I don't want them back.

Like other 3D Sonic games, you are on a track and transition from 2D to 3D. I honestly wish the game stayed in 2D. The fun loops and speed pads are so much fun. This is where the game accelerates (HA!) and does a great job. The levels zoom by here and there are a good amount of collectibles. Red stars plus gold coins to spend in the shop to customize Sonic (which I didn't care about at all), and it made my completionist demon itch. Sonic games have always been good at making you want to explore and retry levels and master them to know where all the goodies are. Colors kind of does this until you have to use the bad mechanics in certain levels. Why does the game need to slow down and make me bounce across a moving spring through half a level just die dozens of times to get a single jump timed right? That is what killed this series.

I also don't care for the repeating boss fights. They are pretty dumb, to begin with. A giant Ferris wheel thing that just adds annoying obstacles later on that make it frustrating and not challenging. There's a ship you need to take down and the captain jumps down after you get through its obstacle course. Later on, it adds missiles that need to follow you through a series of moving platforms to break a glass bubble. This slows the game down as you need to wait and guide the missile carefully. This isn't what makes Sonic games! That's like having Mario go through an entire level on a floating platform and jump over an occasional rotating fire bar. But that's it. No enemies. No power-ups. Just float along and occasionally jump. It would be maddening!

There are a few levels that made the game enjoyable somewhat. They were better designed but didn't have any obstacles or ridiculous platforming shenanigans or floating platforms to deal with. The levels that focus mostly on using Wisps also were frustrating and took dozens of tries to get through. I also never mentioned the story. Yeah, just forget it. It's pretty basic and pointless and doesn't really have a conclusion. The voice acting has at least improved over time.

The visual upgrade from the Wii version is decent. The game runs smoother and there are texture and model upgrades, but it's not mind-blowing. There's an extra mode where you can do challenges in 2D mode only, customization, and that's about it. I don't see any reason to replay this game unless you specifically like this kind of Sonic with the momentum always being interrupted. It's over-engineered gameplay when it needs to stay basic. Colors is decent to play through, but many gamers will turn it off after their first irritating level they get stuck on.