Home Gaming PlayStation Sonic Colours: Ultimate (PS4) Review: Reach for the Stars

Sonic Colours: Ultimate (PS4) Review: Reach for the Stars

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Sonic Colours is more than a decade old and can be considered to be a niche gaming classic at this point in time. It originally released way back in November 2010 on Nintendo Wii and DS and received some rather mixed reception from critics. Sonic Colours has however also attracted a lot of praise from fans of the franchise over the years.

I myself played the original Sonic Colours back in 2010 on Nintendo Wii and thoroughly enjoyed the game. The motion controls weren’t always friendly or conducive to getting ultra high scores in levels but all of that has now changed with Sonic Colours: Ultimate’s release thanks to Blind Squirrel Games and Sega.

Sonic Colours: Ultimate

Now that we’re in 2021, Sonic Colours: Ultimate brings Sonic Colours to a wider audience since it’s available on PS4, Xbox One / Series X, PC (Epic Games Store) and Nintendo Switch. So if you’re looking for a nostalgic Sonic fix, you may want to add Sonic Colours to your radar. I played through the PS4 version of the game by using the PS5’s backwards compatibility feature.

Sonic Colours: Ultimate follows the tale of Sonic and his pal Tails as they try to save an alien race known as “Wisps” from Dr Eggman’s nefarious plans. Dr Eggman plans on harvesting the powers of the Wisps to control the entire universe and naturally, it’s up to you to put an end to this.

Players will take on the role of Sonic and adventure through six different in-game worlds which are broken down into smaller acts. There’s six acts to get through in each world and there’s a dedicated boss level to beat in each world too. Each of the six different worlds have a different theme and the levels featured in each world vary greatly because of this.

For example, in the “Sweet Mountain” world you’ll be racing across delicious desserts and confectionery treats whereas in the “Starlight Carnival” world you’ll be running along, inside and between starships. The worlds in Sonic Colours: Ultimate are great and the variation between them is much appreciated.

High Speed Platforming

Gameplay in Sonic Colours: Ultimate hasn’t been changed much from the original game. The controls on PS4 work great and players will get used to it in no time flat. You may struggle initially with the game’s high speed pace right off the bat but this is exactly what a Sonic game should be about. Speed. And lots of it!

Thankfully the struggle melts away in no time as you learn the game’s controls through some handy tutorial question marks in levels. There’s also infinite lives and a Tails power-up which lets Tails fly in to save you from certain death if you happen to fall to your doom.

As Sonic, you’ll be able to run at high speeds in either a forward facing 3D view or a side-scrolling 2D view depending on how the camera angle is displayed in a level. This often changes throughout levels so one minute you’ll be racing along sideways and the next you’ll be grinding along a rail in an over the shoulder third person view while avoiding obstacles and enemies.

The camera can therefore be slightly disorientating at times in Sonic Colours: Ultimate but after playing through a few levels you will acclimatise really quickly. The game further complicates matters with the “Wisps”. Sonic is able to use a colour coded Wisp’s power to perform a special ability within a level. If you collect a Blue Wisp for example you’ll be able to transform yourself into a cube and collect blue rings and destroy chroma cubes.

Transforming using an Orange Wisp’s power will turn you into a rocket which can fly straight up at high speeds. Each of the Wisps in the game worlds impart a special ability to Sonic and players will use these abilities to collect rings and collectible red star circles within levels.

Players will be unable to collect everything in a level in one run since certain Wisps will be locked away and need to be obtained through advancing the story first. This means that Sonic Colours: Ultimate has a large amount of replayability built into the game. This is a good thing because the game’s entire story can be completed in around five hours or so.

Each of the acts in each of the worlds vary in length and some world’s have some truly dastardly level design that will make you work to get a high score ranking in them. If however you don’t really care about high scores or collectibles, the game’s story mode, while filled with cheesy lines and puns in cutscenes, will keep you entertained to the end.

There is a distinct feeling that the game was aimed at a younger audience though so don’t go into this expecting a Shakespearean masterpiece. The game is clearly all about the high speed platforming fun.

The enemies in Sonic Colours: Ultimate are defeated by jumping straight into them using Sonic’s homing boost attack. This helps keep the momentum going when you’re speeding through a level.

Most levels have enemies in high-speed sections as well as in slower platforming sections so players will have to be sure to protect themselves by always collecting whatever rings they can find. The boss battles are fine but some more variation would have been welcome.

Graphically, Sonic Colours: Ultimate looks fantastic. Blind Squirrel Games and Sega have done a great job here remastering each of the levels and sprucing up the visuals to look modern. Thanks to the art style and overall aesthetic, the game holds up extremely well in 2021.

Where the game does falter though is in the fact that the cutscenes have not received the same remaster treatment. This is incredibly jarring when you go from shiny new vibrant visuals and end up viewing a dull coloured, lower quality, dated cutscene. It’s a shame that these weren’t upgraded too but alas this isn’t the case.

Thankfully it doesn’t detract from the game too much since the cutscenes are quite short and players may opt to skip them if they’ve seen them before.

The soundtrack in Sonic Colours: Ultimate is great with the main theme being a Sonic fan favourite. Players will definitely enjoy the fully remastered catchy beats used in the level themes too. The voice announcer screaming the Wisp power names every time you use them will also engrave itself into your memory. “Cube!”, “Drill!”, “Rocket!”. The rest of the voice acting in the game was fine despite the copious amount of jokes.

Sonic Colours: Ultimate also has some new content in that you can now customise Sonic with cosmetic items. These items are unlocked through playing the game and obtaining enough Park Tokens to purchase them. There’s also a “Rival Rush” mode where you’ll race through a level with Metal Sonic as your rival but this was quite lacklustre to be honest.

Final Verdict

Overall, Sonic Colours: Ultimate is the best form of the game and brings it up to modern standards with a lot of quality of life improvements. The game’s level design and gameplay elements stuck to a tried and trusted platforming formula and it did a good job of it without being too bogged down with grander ambitions.

The Wisps add a fun factor to the game that completionists will have a field day with while more casual gamers will just scratch the surface of and move on. Sonic Colours: Ultimate therefore delivers an easy-going, fun, high speed platforming adventure. It will definitely appeal to younger gamers a lot more but hardcore Sonic fans will also be pleased by this remaster.

The PS4 version of the game ran with zero hiccups for me too which was another plus. Whether you’ve played Sonic Colours or not, Sonic Colours: Ultimate is the best version of the game available right now and is certainly worth playing through.

Sonic Colours: Ultimate

8 Score

Overall, Sonic Colours: Ultimate is the best form of the game and brings it up to modern standards with a lot of quality of life improvements

Review Breakdown

  • Total Score 8
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