Now we are getting somewhere
No doubt Sonic franchise has gone through lot of abuse during the years. Luckily for us few remaining fans, the last couple of games (ignoring that Kinetic effort) have shown some signs of improvements. First Sonic Episode 4 with it back to roots approach and then Sonic Colors month later with even more of that pure platform joy. The infamous Sonic Cycle came to everyone's mind when Sonic Colours was announced certainly. More annoying cuddly sidekicks. Thankfully those new additions play very small role in the game play and wont ever feel like forced additions.
Gameplay is traditional platforming action the way Sonic always have been doing. Difference here is that the action is both 3D and 2D. The crazy level design are even crazier thanks to this. The view perspective can be changing multiple times within a level. Further changes is added with few racing "type" sections where Sonic is doing a form of high-speed run while drifting with his hands. Game world consist of six planets with each having six stages plus an boss fight. Zone selection inside planets is not too different from Super Mario 3's world map actually. where new routes are opened with beating a level. Whisp, the colourful alien forms who player major role in story grant Sonic various powers. These are activated by collecting Whisp pod which again can be activated with some waggle motion. There is nice variation in the different powers and for Sonic purist these can be ignored.
Game also has an story and I don't know if its me being a too much of an Sonic fan but I actually ended up liking it. Or describe it more neutrally, it is bearable. Dr Eggman has build an massive amusement park in the space that is hooked up to our earth with a sky lift. Sonic and Tails go to check it out while suspecting Eggman planning something. Which turns out to be right, and this on the expense of the Whisp alien forms. Sonic won't of course have none of that and continues doing what he does best. What makes story entertaining besides the cute banter between Sonic and Eggman is Eggman's two idiot robots who act as comic sidekicks. Of course the dialogue is intended for younger audience but that talking blue hedgehog might give it away. Story might be average had the game been bad or not been as impressive looking as it.
Graphically, The Wii version that I got my hands on is no doubt one the best looking Wii games. Right on part with the SMG games. Similarities to Super Mario Galaxy can be drawn further since both games are kind of based in a space and as well the named world map that draws from the same Italian plumber. Still this is no means a clone. The individual planets have enough identity and similarities to old Sonic games. Despite being way more detailed and shiny. For example in the mandatory candy level Sonic need to travel through a pile of popcorn which is really nice touch. The lack of casino zone is only downer here. Music is original catchy upbeat Sega style music know from their Arcade times.
Sonic Colours is not the longest of games. Replayability comes in form of special coins which are scattered in each level totalling 180 coins. Further hook is the ranking system that is familiar from older Sonic games where stages are graded from D to S ranks. further a 7th planet which acts more like time trial like level adds more depth.
All this might sound like a dream come through to a Sonic fan. Unfortunately this game has some faults. The default control schema with d-pad works fine for the 2D action. Not so well for each of the 3D mode, especially the horizontal travelling. Such as the very first level where controls just don't feel fluid enough.
The actual level design leaves something to be desired for as well. For first there is huge difference between the difficulty levels on the levels. Some can be finished in a minute where are way more time consuming and requires good share of memorization. It is nice to see so much amount of variation and crazy tracks. Sonic games are no stranger to unfair deaths and this is no different. Just the variation in the quality with so many cheap deaths and short levels hinders this being anything more. Still better than anything else Sonic Team has come up with a long time.