Sonic Colors: Ultimate: (PC, PS4 [reviewed on a Nintendo Switch], Stadia, Xbox One)
Developer: Sonic Team, Blind Squirrel Games
Released: September 7, 2021
"Review Copy Provided By SEGA"
Being a Sonic fan Is an incredibly difficult as for every great Sonic game we get there’s always a slew of terrible games that make you wonder why SEGA can’t get the formula right. Then there’s the fact you often have to deal with SEGA just rereleasing the older Sonic titles and not making much of an effort. Aside from Sonic Mania, we haven’t had a good Sonic game in a very long time being 2010’s Wii exclusive Sonic Colors. This was one of the few Sonic games on the Wii that was really well done and the 3rd Wii exclusive Sonic title and was part of what many fans dub the “Boost” era of Sonic games. It was incredibly well received and well loved and had fans asking for years for a rerelease on modern consoles and in 2021 we finally get that rerelease. Does it succeed in being just as amazing as it was a decade ago or does it show its age as a relic of the past? Lets find out!
Dr. Eggman decides to open an amusement park and claims to have turned over a new leaf in life of which Sonic doesn’t believe and ends up heading there along with Tails to investigate,. They find out the Dr. Eggman is using the powers of an alien race known as the Whisps to power his diabolical schemes to take over the world.
The gameplay of Sonic Colors Ultimate isn’t all about “GOTTA GO FAST!” but is also about platforming, exploration, and being creative in how you explore each level. Sure, you can blaze through a level and complete it in probably a minute or so but then you would be missing out on so much if you were to do that and nothing more. Each level has a set number of secrets and collectables to obtain giving way to tons of replay value, especially once you gain more and more Wisps power-ups.
Like a traditional Sonic title, you can run, jump, boost/spin dash, hit speed ramps, and collect rings. What sets this entry apart is the Wisps which are small aliens that come in a variety of colors and give way to powering up Sonic in different ways such as allowing him to dart about at the speed of light, temporarily fly, drill into the ground, and much more. There are 9 different Wisps in the game and as you unlock more and more levels you will gain more Wisps which will allow you to go back to earlier areas and go to alternative routes that were previously inaccessible.
There’s a new mode available called Rival Rush which has you going head-to-head with Metal Sonic and if you beat him then you’ll net some pretty cool unlockables.
Some of the other cool additions to this game are the cosmetic additions such as movie Sonic’s special effects and even customization of having different colors for your gloves and different designs for Sonic’s shoes and you could even give Sonic an aura too.
All in all, Sonic Colors Ultimate does a phenomenal job of brining a classic of the past decade to the modern era and giving you even better controls.
The game looks good even if not substantially better than the original game as this game does have better lighting effects and colors (I promise that wasn’t an intended pun) along with extra details added to the character models and backgrounds and the removal of jaggies and pixilation.
Some of the best upgrades to this version of the game is the new 16:9 aspect ration along with (depending on your platform) higher resolutions and framerates allowing you to go all the way to 4K 60FPS on PS4 Pro/PS5, Xbox One X/Series X|S, and Steam; while on the base PS4 and Xbox One you will get 1080p 60FPS and on the Nintendo Switch you have 1080p 30FPS docked and 720p 30FPS in handheld mode.
Being able to play this game with improved graphics and especially a much smoother framerate breathes new life into this classic makes the game feel much different than the original. I do wish that the Switch version ran and performed better, yet, at this point when it comes to multiplatform ports on this platform; I’ve come to just accept whatever they give us.
Sonic Colors always had one of the best soundtracks in the series history especially with it’s opening theme “Reach For The Stars”. Each level has a unique theme and motif to how they sound and it all fits. This Ultimate Edition has some remixed tunes of the original games OST with some fairing better than others.
The game’s voice acting has always been a hit for me as Roger Craig Smith has always nailed it as Sonic for me and his one liners and snark is just superb in this game. The games overall emphasis on humor is exceptional especially the interactions with Eggman and his lackeys.
There were a few glitches that I ran into while playing this on the Nintendo Switch in dock mode on a live stream where the controls would occasionally be unresponsive where I would move the control stick either left or right and Sonic would take a few moments before he would move and the same would apply when I would try to jump or do the spin dash.
I’m not sure if this happened because the game was docked or because I had the Switch running into my capture card, but I do know that the issue continues to be there when I play the game docked. This issue doesn’t appear when I play the game in handheld where it runs perfectly fine.
I ran into a few stage glitches where I would fall though the floor without any rhyme or reason. There were times when I had the Tail’s Recovery powerup and I would be brought back to a starting point and would be dropped and just fall through causing me to lose all of my rings. These issues I hope will eventually be patched out.
One other thing to bring up is that the game’s cutscenes are not updated to reflect the Ultimate Editions’ graphical enhancements and will look blurry. This decision to me is baffling because you have other games that are rereleased from this era and even further back that put more effort in updating their in-game graphics.
Sonic Colors was one of the best games of 2010 and one of the best Sonic games to be released in this era of mediocre sonic titles and was one of the best games to come to the Wii during it’s struggle to have compelling games due to the endless amounts of shovelware it had (a problem the Switch currently has). Sonic Colors Ultimate brings this modern classic over to modern consoles and revamps the controls and graphics and adds in enough new goodies to deliver the definitive way to play this gem. Sonic Colors Ultimate is a game you do not want to miss out on!