Review: Sonic Colors — Ultimate sullies the one good Sonic game in years

The sequel to the popular DS game finally lands on Switch.

Our favorite blue hedgehog has had a rough run of luck for the past two decades when it comes to video games. The majority of recent releases have been misses rather than hits. However, one highlight from the Sonic graveyard has been Sonic Colors, which originally released on Wii and Nintendo DS back in 2010. In honor of Sonic's 30th anniversary, this game has been remastered and ported to Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

Sonic Colors: Ultimate is by no means a complicated game for players. Sonic shows up at an amusement park/space station that Eggman has built and figures the evil scientist is up to no good. He must run through various themed courses and make it successfully to the end of each location to advance the plot. How quickly Sonic completes the levels and how many items he collects along the way influences his score.

I've been able to play the game on Nintendo Switch. Ironically, this remaster tarnishes the reputation of one of the only good Sonic games to release in recent years rather than celebrate it. The fault lies in a buggy port and sluggish responses.


Sonic Colors: Ultimate

Bottom line: This classic Sonic game offers some really fast-paced courses to run through, but the port can be very glitchy. It also looks and plays like a dated game. Unless you're a major Sonic fan, you might want to stay clear.

The Good

  • Fun courses and locations
  • Upbeat music
  • High replay value
  • Optional help mode

The Bad

  • Hardly any story
  • Glitchy launch
  • Dated mechanics

$34 at Amazon $40 at Best Buy

Sonic Colors: Ultimate What you'll like

Category Sonic Colors: Ultimate
Titles Sonic Colors: Ultimate
Developer Blind Squirrel Games
Publisher Sega
Genre Platformer, Action, Adventure
Release Date September 7, 2021
Game Size 6.9GB
Play Time 16 hours
Players Singleplayer
Format Physical and Download
Launch Price $40

Sonic Colors: Ultimate is one of the only Sonic games in recent Sega history that captures the gameplay feel from the Genesis era in a 3D space. Instead of being an open-world adventure, the blue hedgehog runs along predetermined paths with the camera angle shifting regularly. You might play while looking on from behind, to the side, or even above him, but it all still feels very much like the original Sonic games.

When you first start, you can choose whether or not to have an assist mode on. Even then, assistance isn't mandatory. As Sonic runs along paths, he might see a question mark surrounded by a rainbow circle. Running into these give players button instructions or clues for how to beat bosses. But if you don't need the reminder or you don't feel like a clue is necessary, you can easily avoid it. It's a really smart mechanic that makes playthroughs convenient for both veteran and beginner Sonic players.

One of the best parts about this game is its replay value. Of course, you might want to run through a course for the 10th time just to try and improve your score. But, Sonic also unlocks wisp powerups as he completes courses. These powerups give him abilities like drilling into the ground or turning into a ghost-like entity that can float for brief periods. As you unlock new powerups, pathways blocked in past runthroughs open up to you, giving you new ways to acquire previously unattainable rings and items.

I also found the techno music helped get me in the right mood for each setting and pumped me up. It was hard not to tap along or subconsciously start beatboxing along with the game.

Sonic Colors: Ultimate What you won't like

Several people have reported glitches including some that erase their save data.

Several people have reported encountering frustrating glitches, for example, losing save data or activating glitches that cause flashing lights and dead screens. It's gotten so bad that Sega has made a statement saying they are aware of the issue and are working on it. Meanwhile, Nintendo is offering refunds to anyone who purchased the digital version from the eShop. It's likely that Sega is working on a patch that will release in the near future, but for right now playing can be very frustrating.

I personally didn't encounter any game-stopping glitches, however, there were times that the game lagged hard or got stuck until I died. In particular, there was a part that went on loop for about 25 minutes until an enemy killed me. Then when I started the course over it breezed right through that section in a couple seconds. I was able to run through the game easily enough despite this, but it wasn't pretty to look at during certain points.

Additionally, while Sonic can run around at blinding speed, his jumping abilities feel absolutely sluggish. This often made it unnecessarily hard to jump onto basic platforms or reach moving targets, which frustrated me quite a bit. Considering this is something you do throughout the game, it makes most of the levels annoying to play.

Lastly, there are several cringy cutscenes where the characters talk in clichés and the dialogue feels like it was written for seven year olds, which is probably true since this is rated E. Even so, it was just kind of annoying and felt like fluff since there wasn't much of a plot either. Similarly, the game regularly transitions between gameplay and cutscene to the point that sometimes I didn't even feel like I was playing, but rather watching something. In that way, it can be a good mindless game at times, but won't always fully engage you.

Sonic Colors: Ultimate Should you buy it?

Sonic Colors was a classic from the Wii era and one of the best Sonic games to release in recent years. Unfortunately, this remaster doesn't do the original justice with the amount of glitches it containes. Not to mention, several of the mechanics definitely feel like this game belongs to an older time and might not be enjoyable for everyone these days.

3.5 out of 5

On the plus side, zipping through elaborately themed courses and finding various ways to get to the end of each level both gives this game plenty of replay value and makes each level fun to explore. If you're a big Sonic fan you'll enjoy this game. Just be ready to deal with the host of glitches that many have encountered already.

Sonic Colors: Ultimate

Bottom line: Eggman has created a strange new amusement park but Sonic and Tales think something sinister is in the works. Run through elaborate courses battling robots and collecting rings to see what's going on.

$34 at Amazon $40 at Best Buy