Sega keeps trying new things with Sonic
, and they've been criticized for a lot of it. Heavily overemphasizing speed at the expense of platforming, having on-rails sections, turning Sonic into a werewolf, or having his friends play a major role, are all things they've tried in the past to mixed degrees of success.
But the ideas they tried here work. Sonic Colors
is actually one of the most fun Sonic
games I'd played in a long time. It tries a lot of gameplay ideas that just work.
The level design is very much "go forward from beginning to end", but with a surprising amount of variety in just how you do that. There are sections where you have complete 3D freedom over your movement, sections that are 2D side-scrolling areas, sections where you run forward automatically and instead have to sidestep quickly, grinding sections, automated vehicles you can ride and even jump on, sections that require the use of your homing jump to get through quickly, sections where you fall through the air and aim your landing as seen from an overhead perspective, sections where you're chased and have to avoid an enemy's attacks, and more. It's like a controllable rollercoaster ride.
The gameplay just keeps changing many times within a single level, and it all flows smoothly. There's no glitches, no misfiring springboards that send you to your death or scripts that break.
But what adds a lot more depth to this game is one thing modern Sonic
games have forgotten: alternate routes. There's a lot of them in the levels, giving them a feel much like the old Genesis Sonic
games, albeit with more focus on speed. Exploration is encouraged, particularly with some of the powers you can earn such as the drill (go underground) and spikes (climb walls and ceiling) powers.
Plus the game has another feature that I really appreciate: a sort of "endurance run" mode that goes through all the levels straight in order, with no breaks inbetween. Very old-school.
This is a Sonic
game that combines some of the different types of action the series has tried all into one game, taking the best aspects of several Sonic
games and avoiding the pitfalls, while turning it into one big action fest. I don't think all Sonic
games should be like this one, but this was one experiment that worked.