Sonic Colors is an upcoming title from Sonic Team featuring Sega’s iconic blue hedgehog in an outer space amusement park setting. He is trying to save alien beings known as Wisps from the clutches of the notorious Dr. Eggman. The last few Sonic games have been lackluster to say the least, but a return to the gameplay elements that made the series great so long ago could hold the key to Sonic’s continued longevity.
When firing up the demo, which is available for download via the Nintendo Channel if you are a Wii owner, you will be presented with a screen that shows you the controls. After that, you are thrust immediately into the action. The first thing I thought was, “Wow, this actually feels like a Sonic game for the first time in a long time”. The side scrolling action in Sonic Colors spanned both screens on the DS and kept up with the breakneck speeds we’ve all come to expect from the spiky-haired rodent. There was a little attention payed to the Wisps, which serve as sort of power-ups for Sonic. In the demo, only the blue Wisp was featured, which grants Sonic a sort of dash attack which damages enemies and also gives Sonic an instant speed boost when used on the ground.
The controls are very basic and familiar in Sonic Colors. Either A or B initiates a jump, Y unleashes your Wisp ability, and X starts up the crazy new fireball attack Sonic can have by collecting a power-up. In the context of this demo, the fireball seemed to have little purpose other than to show us that the developers have something new and quite possibly fun up their sleeves for us. The graphics totally call to mind memories of Sonic games gone by, but don’t exactly push the limits of the DS system. The transition to a brief 3D segment was handled seamlessly and was enjoyable.
If this short, one level demo is just a hint of what Sega will be giving us when Sonic Colors launches next week, then I think all Sonic fans both old and new have something to look forward to!