Sonic Colors (Sonic Colours in Europe) is either of two action platforming titles from Sega, Sonic Team and Dimps -- one for Nintendo Wii, the other an offshoot title for Nintendo DS. It brings a distinct new setting to the Sonic series, going after the fantastical rather than realism, and takes inspiration from games like Mario Galaxy to become an evolution of the 3D Sonic games, as opposed to the throwback to the 2D classics like Sonic 4.
There are two Sonic Colors games: a full 3D one for Wii, and a 2D one for Nintendo DS, and both were released on November 16, 2010. Sega has stated that if Sonic Colors for Wii sells well enough, they might port the game to the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. However, a version for PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 has yet to be announced, even over a year after Sonic Colors for Wii was released.
Sonic Colors for Wii
The Wii game is a spiritual sequel to the ''daytime'' Sonic stages of Sonic Unleashed. The stages are in full 3D in which Sonic can run and jump in any direction, periodically changing to a fixed 2D perspective for gameplay along a 2D plane, reminiscent of the original Genesis/Megadrive Sonic titles. The 2D part of the stages take up roughly half of the levels, with plenty of vertical level design for platforming. The 3D segments, however, are narrow, and encourage high speed acrobatics.
But unlike Sonic Unleashed's gameplay, Sonic Colors allows the speedy rodent to collect Wisps, colorful floating aliens that give him special abilities upon flicking the Wii remote. (Unless the player opts out of motion controls and uses a Wii Classic Controller, which the game supports.) These power-ups include abilities such turning into a drill that lets Sonic dig through rock or water, or increasing his speed while he bounces from the walls like a laser. Only one Wisp can be used at a time, and the power-ups have a gauge that displays how long they will last.
The levels are sizable and feature a very large amount of hidden paths and items, mostly accessible only with a specific power-up. For example, there are various pockets of air underground that contain hidden emblems and rings that require a drill to access, but the power-up can run out of juice before Sonic can get there, causing Sonic to literally be buried in his grave.
Sonic is the only playable character in Sonic Colors for Wii. This is also the first game in the Sonic series, along with Sonic Free Riders, to use his new voice actor.
Sonic Colors for DS
The DS game is a spiritual sequel to Sonic Rush and Sonic Rush Adventure. The stages are in full 2D, with the boss battles in full 3D, expanding to both screens of the handheld. It also incorporates the Boost Gauge from Dimps' previous games. However, like the Wii version, the Wisps also make an appearance and function as power-ups, two of which are exclusive to the DS version. Each Wisp can also activate certain stage mechanisms, like igniting a rocket that allows Sonic to fly over a large segment of the stage.
The bosses from the DS game will not be available on the Wii game, and the Wii bosses will not appear on the DS game. However, the DS levels make a cameo appearance in the backgrounds of the Wii game, while the same goes for the Wii version of the DS levels, giving the impression that each version shows a different view of the same world.
Interested in the native Wisps, Dr. Eggman (aka Robotnik) has pulled their home planets together using a large tractor beam, and converted each planet into a large amusement park. Each planet was given a theme, with one planet being a full Las Vegas casino, another filled by mountains of giant donuts and candy, and another converted into a tropical water park.
Dr. Robotnik controls the theme park and periodically speaks through the PA system to rant about his opinions on the world, the amusement park costumers, Sonic the Hedgehog, and someone leaving their car's lights on in the parking lot. Each Wisp Sonic finds will help him defeat the boss battle of the attractions, using their specific abilities to exploit the stage and their weaknesses.
The story is written by the writers of MadWorld.
Developed by the same team that created Sonic and the Secret Rings and Sonic and the Black Knight, they wanted to again bring Sonic to play in a new world he has never gone to before, this time a very large and dangerous amusement park. Development began as a watered down Wii version of Sonic Generations, but SEGA executives wanted another Sonic game to roll out in holiday 2010, so the project became Sonic Colors. After the bad receptions of Sonic 2006, Sonic Unleashed, and Black Knight, they decided to move away from getting the hedgehog to do realistic human things, and go back to the more imaginative and fantastical ideas that fit the character better.
"By adding game elements that didn't fit with Sonic's traditional sense of speed, I think the recent titles in the series have failed to play to Sonic's strengths."
-Takashi Iizuka, producer
The producer for the game, Takashi Iizuka, began by bringing Sonic to a new, more cartoon-like sense of style, with brighter colors and more imaginative surroundings and characters. Described as a game primarily aimed for kids, the team decided to base each stage on a popular theme park attraction, and then blow it up to fit an entire planet.
This time they tried to let Sonic do something that made sense to his character, unlike their previous attempts at making him a were-hog or letting him handle a sword. When asked about Sonic, people always come up with speed, but the developers could not find any way to make Sonic's speed a main part of the gameplay, so they came up with a transformation system that gave him moves that fit with the nature of speed, like allowing him to pass through walls of rock or run over water. They made sure for those power-ups to remain a temporary transformation so that they do not dominate the gameplay, and keep Sonic always in motion with his traditional abilities.
While Sonic the Hedgehog 4 is meant for the Sonic crowd that prefers the older games, this game is made for the audience that prefers the 3D games. Aiming both games at different markets keep them from competing against each other. However, fans say that it is unavoidable, with classic Sonic fans complaining that speed is entirely the wrong way to go with the series, claiming that platforming was the basis for the character. However, bad press from the Sonic 4 leaks, and positive impressions from the E3 demos of this game brought more hype for Sonic Colors.