The fastest and most colourful Sonic adventure races into remastered glory!
It’s been just over a decade since Sonic Colours originally raced onto the Nintendo Wii, thrusting the iconic blue hedgehog into an adventure to stop the maniacal Eggman from harvesting creatures known as Wisps to fuel a mind-control weapon on his deceptive amusement park space station.
By harnessing the technology available in 2021, Sonic Colours: Ultimate is a re-invigoration to the experience that presents its vibrant, exciting, and undeniably Sonic world in current gen glory. Available on all platforms, Sonic has never looked and played as good.
Despite re-treading the familiar plot territory of Sonic and Tails inevitably thwarting Eggman’s menacing schemes, the story is enjoyably entertaining and sidelines Tails, placed on wisp interpretation duty, leaving Sonic to race through every mechanical obstacle Eggman has thrown in his path. The robotic forces set out to stop Sonic are placed over 6 striking, unique locations, each an arm of the deranged amusement park space station, that are visually distinct and offer varying playgrounds for Sonic to venture through.
Six stages and a boss battle comprise each of the six locations, offering up a total of 42 stages that comprise the main story, and will take around 4-5 hours to complete with moderate exploration. Players looking to further incentivise their experience will be interested in the Park Tokens and Red Rings that are scattered throughout each stage.
Park Tokens can be collected and redeemed to unlock new cosmetic options for Sonic to provide customised gloves, shoes, aura, boost and player icons. These cosmetic alternatives will appear on Sonic for the gameplay but not for the cutscenes.
The Red Rings are the key to unlocking the Chaos Emeralds and Super Sonic. Each non-boss stage has 5 Red Rings hidden, a total of 180 need to be found in order to unlock all of the stages of the Game Land mode. Each of the 7 Chaos Emeralds are unlocked by completing the 3 brief stages that are associated with each.
New stages only become available when enough Red Rings have been collected, meaning that all 180 will need to be collected to be able to complete the Game Land mode and unlock the golden Super Sonic.
The Egg Shuttle mode is essentially a speed run mode tasking players with completing all 7 stages of each of the 6 worlds as fast as possible. Rival Rush mode can be unlocked by finding 15 Red Rings in each location which makes a race against Metal Sonic available on the six worlds. This is purely a race and its always great to see the legendary Metal Sonic return.
As the subjects of Eggman’s diabolical scheme, the Wisps serve a narrative purpose as well as influencing the gameplay mechanics. Each of the 9 coloured Wisps provide Sonic with temporary abilities to navigate the map that are fun to experiment with. The following coloured Wisps provide these boosts:
White – Fills Sonic’s boost gauge to let him run super fast and obliterate enemies and objects in his path
Jade – Sonic turns into a ghost that can phase through solid surfaces
Cyan – Sonic becomes a laser beam that can be fired off in any direction at ridiculous speeds
Green – Transforms Sonic into a hovering ghost-like form that can reach higher areas or sections on the other side of obscured surfaces
Blue – Turns Sonic into a cube that can crush nearby enemies and trigger the structure change of blue blocks and blue rings to open up new pathways
Orange – Sonic becomes a rocket that can launch high into the air to reach new areas
Yellow – Turns Sonic into a drill that can pass through dirt to reach new areas
Pink – Sonic transforms into a spike that can roll up walls and ceilings
Purple – Turns Sonic into a monster that grows larger when enemies and objects are eaten
These are fun to experiment with and as new Wisps are unlocked with story progression, they become available in earlier stages when replayed. This encourages replayability, especially for players looking to find all of the Red Rings and collect Park Tokens to customise their Sonic as some of the areas they are hidden couldn’t previously be accessed without these new Wisps.
At its core Sonic Colours: Ultimate is very fast-paced and the gameplay is appropriately simplistic to accommodate the speed at which stages can be raced through. Environmental hazards and enemies are simple to navigate and overcome and prevent the experience from becoming overly complicated while trying to manage speed, combat and platforming. Especially when stages are replayed after completing the main story, each stage becomes more of an experimental playground with new pathways opening up when the Wisps are taken advantage of. Rail grinding, platforming, sliding, and drifting are fun deviations to the core run-and-jump gameplay that are executed seamlessly.
Boss battles are enjoyable and simple, putting Sonic against a larger than life enemy to overcome by typically avoiding their attacks until a window presents itself for Sonic to strike, rinsing and repeating a few times until the boss is defeated. As with previous entries in the extensive franchise, these encounters are fun and keep things interesting to cap off the six stages worth of events that came prior.
The landscape in Sonic Colours: Ultimate is beautiful and the diverse locations on offer in each of the 6 areas are stunning, vibrant, and creative. The Sweet Mountain location is easily the most playful, peppering sweets and cakes amidst the environment and actually comprising the structures that stand within it. The remastered visuals are simply gorgeous and provide fun locations, charming character design and vibrant set pieces. Accompanied by an energetic soundtrack that blends the original music with remixed versions keep the tone upbeat at all times, rounding out a solid presentation across the board.
Sonic Colours: Ultimate hits all the right notes a Sonic game should hit. It feels fast, it’s visually gorgeous, the soundtrack keeps the energy high, and the gameplay is simplistic enough to remain accessible to players of all ages while remaining enjoyable in its depth-lacking mechanics and concepts. Whether you’re a fan of Sonic or not, Sonic Colours: Ultimate is the greatest the series has ever looked, plays as well as it can given its single-player limitations and is outright fun. Regardless of your preferred platform, the 2010 Nintendo Wii gem is available on all modern platforms.
So, what works?
And what doesn't?
Cutscenes weren’t overhauled
Single player only
Sonic Colours: Ultimate was reviewed on Xbox Series X and is also available on Xbox One/Series S, PlayStation 4/5 and PC.
Games of DAYNE
Games of DAYNE is a reviewer and Xbox Achievement Hunter based in Wangaratta, Australia. Video games keep him busy whether it’s playing, reviewing or achievement hunting and other than entering "Dad Mode" for two young boys under five and working full time as a cheesemaker, he exists almost exclusively in the world of gaming.