Bottom line: This classic Sonic game offers some really fast-paced courses to run through, but the port can be very glitchy. It also looks and plays like a dated game. Unless you're a major Sonic fan, you might want to stay clear.
Fun courses and locations
High replay value
Optional help mode
Hardly any story
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Our favorite blue hedgehog has had a rough run of luck for the past two decades when it comes to video games. The majority of recent releases have been misses rather than hits. However, one highlight from the Sonic graveyard has been Sonic Colors, which originally released on Wii and Nintendo DS back in 2010. In honor of Sonic's 30th anniversary, this game has been remastered and ported to Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
Sonic Colors: Ultimate is by no means a complicated game for players. Sonic shows up at an amusement park/space station that Eggman has built and figures the evil scientist is up to no good. He must run through various themed courses and make it successfully to the end of each location to advance the plot. How quickly Sonic completes the levels and how many items he collects along the way influences his score.
I've been able to play the game on Nintendo Switch. Ironically, this remaster tarnishes the reputation of one of the only good Sonic games to release in recent years rather than celebrate it. The fault lies in a buggy port and sluggish responses.
Sonic Colors: Ultimate What you'll like
|Category||Sonic Colors: Ultimate|
|Titles||Sonic Colors: Ultimate|
|Developer||Blind Squirrel Games|
|Genre||Platformer, Action, Adventure|
|Release Date||September 7, 2021|
|Play Time||16 hours|
|Format||Physical and Download|
Sonic Colors: Ultimate is one of the only Sonic games in recent Sega history that captures the gameplay feel from the Genesis era in a 3D space. Instead of being an open-world adventure, the blue hedgehog runs along predetermined paths with the camera angle shifting regularly. You might play while looking on from behind, to the side, or even above him, but it all still feels very much like the original Sonic games.
When you first start, you can choose whether or not to have an assist mode on. Even then, assistance isn't mandatory. As Sonic runs along paths, he might see a question mark surrounded by a rainbow circle. Running into these give players button instructions or clues for how to beat bosses. But if you don't need the reminder or you don't feel like a clue is necessary, you can easily avoid it. It's a really smart mechanic that makes playthroughs convenient for both veteran and beginner Sonic players.
One of the best parts about this game is its replay value. Of course, you might want to run through a course for the 10th time just to try and improve your score. But, Sonic also unlocks wisp powerups as he completes courses. These powerups give him abilities like drilling into the ground or turning into a ghost-like entity that can float for brief periods. As you unlock new powerups, pathways blocked in past runthroughs open up to you, giving you new ways to acquire previously unattainable rings and items.
I also found the techno music helped get me in the right mood for each setting and pumped me up. It was hard not to tap along or subconsciously start beatboxing along with the game.
Sonic Colors: Ultimate What you won't like
Several people reported encountering frustrating glitches at launch, including the loss of save data, dead screens, and potentially seizure-inducing flashing lights. Nintendo started offering refunds to anyone who purchased the digital version from the eShop once this was discovered. However, Sega responded quickly to these reports and released a patch that should have gotten rid of the flashing light glitches.
I personally didn't encounter any game-stopping glitches during my playthrough. However, there were times that the game lagged a lot or got stuck in a spot on the course until I died. In particular, there was a part that went on loop for about 25 minutes until an enemy killed me. Then, when I started the course over I breezed right through that section in a couple seconds. I was able to run through the game easily enough despite this, but it wasn't pretty to look at during certain points.
Additionally, while Sonic can run around at blinding speed, his jumping abilities feel absolutely sluggish. This often made it unnecessarily hard to jump onto basic platforms or reach moving targets, which frustrated me quite a bit. Considering this is something you do throughout the game, it makes most of the levels annoying to play.
Lastly, there are several cringy cutscenes where the characters talk in clichés and the dialogue feels like it was written for seven year olds, which is probably true since this is rated E. Even so, it was just kind of annoying and felt like fluff since there wasn't much of a plot either. Similarly, the game regularly transitions between gameplay and cutscenes to the point that sometimes I didn't even feel like I was playing, but rather watching something. In that way, it can be a good mindless game at times, but won't always fully engage you.
Sonic Colors: Ultimate Should you buy it?
Sonic Colors was a classic from the Wii era and one of the best Sonic games to release in recent years. Unfortunately, this remaster doesn't do the original justice with the amount of glitches it contains. Not to mention, several of the mechanics definitely feel like this game belongs to an older time and might not be enjoyable for everyone these days.
On the plus side, zipping through elaborately themed courses and finding various ways to get to the end of each level both gives this game plenty of replay value and makes each level fun to explore. If you're a big Sonic fan you'll enjoy this game. Just be ready to deal with the host of glitches that many have encountered already.
Review changelog, September 2021
This article was updated in September 2021 with the following changes.
- Updated Cons section to say that Sega has released a patch to fix the seizure-inducing light glitch.
Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.
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