Poor old Sonic. After years at the top of his game as an ice-cool alternative to Nintendo’s wholesome heroes, the move to 3D platforming wasn’t kind to the hedgehog or his candy-coloured pals, allowing Mario, Lara and the rest to leave Sega’s mascot looking like a tired has-been. But after decades in the wilderness, Sonic Colors takes the best bits of Sega’s 16-bit classics and learns a few lessons from Mario, in turn delivering one the most accomplished, rewarding and compelling Sonic adventures in years.
Although Colors will be an instant nostalgia fix for anyone who’s ever played a Sonic game, new energy comes in the form of cutesy Wisps; strange creatures that imbue the spiky hero with special powers, allowing him to tunnel underground, transform into a lightning bolt that bounces around the worlds, or use incredible bursts of speed that make the worlds spin past in a technicoloured blur, giving the adventure a clever riff on the classic formula established by Super Mario Galaxy. And coupled with some of the best graphics ever seen on the Wii and fabulous level design that makes best use of Wisp powers, this is a startling return to form for the blue streak and shows there’s life left in the old hedgehog yet.
The game’s retina-sizzling colours, juvenile story and impossibly cute characters won’t encourage Black Ops fans to put down their weapons and take a chance on this Wii quest, while cheap challenges that see you dying again and again,and a shoddy co-operative mode mean Sonic Colors doesn’t scale the dizzy heights achieved by the early ’90s cartridge classics. But despite being based on one of gaming’s oldest and most recognisable faces, this still feels fresh and exciting, making Colors one of the best kids’ games you’ll find this side of Christmas.
Reviewed by Dave McComb