As someone who didn’t have the chance to play Sonic Colors when it was first released on the Wii in 2010, I’m glad Sonic Colors: Ultimate now exists. It’s a vibrant and fresh remaster that’s totally worth it for those who didn’t catch it at its original launch. It makes me hopeful to play future remastered Wii titles that I overlooked as a child.
At the start of the game you’re introduced to the Tropical Resort, the first of many worlds that lie within Doctor Eggman’s Incredible Interstellar Amusement Park. You’re tasked with finding and rescuing Wisps, an alien race currently captured by Doctor Eggman that double as power-ups. The addition of the Wisps are what make Sonic Colors: Ultimate stand out, giving Sonic new abilities, and allowing players to tackle courses by drilling underground with the Yellow Wisp or battle enemies in lightning zigzag patterns with the Cyan Wisp. These power-ups provide alternate ways to explore each level and become lovable members of the storyline itself.
The Sweet Mountain and Starlight Carnival levels are where the remaster truly begins to shine. After completing a handful of levels in the Tropical Resort, you have the choice between which of the two worlds you want to play first, and there is no wrong answer. Sonic dashes through treat-filled lands backed by pastel skies in Sweet Mountain, featuring one of my favorite levels that features a factory composed entirely of junk food. In the first level of Starlight Carnival, you are immediately placed upside down, inverting your view as neon lights illuminated by starships enter your view. These levels provide a scenic and immersive setting that matches the name of the game itself, and it is safe to say that I am looking forward to replaying them in the future.
On PlayStation and Xbox consoles, Sonic Colors: Ultimate features the standard for remasters, with 4K resolution and running at 60 frames per second. The game also includes a number of new elements, including the Rival Rush mode where players can race Metal Sonic and unlock rewards. You also have the option to customize gloves and shoes for Sonic, and utilize the new Jade Ghost: a Wisp that lets you quite literally explore all parts of the map. It’s all a nice touch for the remaster, but these are relatively minor additions.
Sonic’s one liners remain a classic element of any Sonic game, and Sonic Colors: Ultimate always finds a way to fit in another joke. The story is cheesy and over the top in true Sonic fashion, and Sonic remains self aware and comical throughout all of his interactions. The cutscenes that push the story forward would arguably be too long if I wasn’t endlessly entertained by Sonic’s enthusiasm. While I don’t think the plot is the highlight of Sonic Colors: Ultimate, I appreciate the word building within the Amusement Park and watching Sonic interact with the Wisps and other familiar characters such as Tails.
I have to note that the Switch version has seen its fair share of problems. While I had a successful playthrough on my PlayStation, players who received a Switch copy have been faced with a number of glitches and graphical issues. According to a tweet from Katie Chrzanowski, a social media manager for Sonic, the bugs are being caused by “an emulator which is unfortunately out of our control,” and a patch is in the works. Since the game officially launched on Sept. 7, hopefully things will be fixed for Switch players soon.
If you missed the original Sonic Colors, you missed the introduction of worlds and elements that became the backbone to future Sonic games such as Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed, Sonic Lost World and more. Sonic Colors: Ultimate will help you fill in that background, while also offering a futuristic, colorful way for newcomers to break into the world of Sonic. For younger players looking to discover the classics, remasters such as Sonic Colors: Ultimate are vital to letting games be enjoyed across generations.
Sonic Colors: Ultimate was developed by Blind Squirrel Games from Sonic Team’s original game, and published by Sega. Our review is based on the PlayStation 4 version. It is also available for Switch, Xbox One, and PC.
Katherine Long is an intern at Paste and a rising senior at American University. She loves hyperpop, roller skating and videogames and can finish a sudoku puzzle in 43 seconds.