Review – Sonic Colours (DS)

Sonic Colours
Developer: Dimps
Publisher: SEGA
Platforms: Wii, DS
Genre: Platformer
Release Date: Out Now (EU), 16th November (US)

If you’ve read our review of the Wii version of Sonic Colours, then you’ll know what to expect from the title in general. Today we’re taking a step to the DS to have a look at what the portable version has on offer. Ready your stylus, grab those wisps and boost off past the jump button for the full review of Sonic Colours DS!

As with the Wii version, Colours DS keeps the same storyline. Instead of full narrative cutscenes, we’re instead treated to scripted text with character portraits, in the same fashion as the Sonic Rush series. Every now and then you’ll get a small audio clip of the characters talking, but you’ll be reading more than listening for the most part. I will admit, the scripted style really adds a little unique flavour, as you actually get to read more dialogue from the wisps. It’s pretty cool seeing wisps other than Yacker talking.

Colours DS features gameplay resembling that of the Sonic Rush series. You alternate between the top and bottom screens, speeding along paths and grinding on rails. The wisp system is also present, with two exclusive wisps, red and violet. The red wisp allows Sonic to jump through the air in a ball of flame, with movements that resemble the screw attack from the Metroid franchise. The violet wisp transforms Sonic into a dark void, sucking up enemies and objects as it expands. It’s similar to the purple wisp from the Wii version of Colours in the way that it grows bigger by taking in objects.

The game features the same 6 zones as the console version, but significantly shorter. Each zone consists of two acts and a boss battle. Exclusive to the DS version are missions, which are given to you by either Robotnik’s helper robots or Sonic’s “should have stayed at home” friends. Yep, that’s right. The Sonic characters you love to hate are present,  including Cream, Rouge, Omega and even Silver. The missions are optional but did they really feel the need to cram in side characters? It would have been fine without. Well, at least Shadow isn’t here.

The missions consist of playing either a section of a level or the full stage, fulfilling the conditions set to you. These come in the forms of rescuing wisps, collecting a certain amount of rings and reaching the end of the level before time runs out. It’s an enjoyable change of pace at first, but it soon becomes repetitive and tedious. Variety seems to be something both versions of this game struggle with.

On the subject of variety, the game presents you with a couple of new boss battles, while keeping a few from the Wii version. Each boss battle plays exactly like the ones seen in Sonic Rush, which has you either moving left and right or running around a circular platform. Again, sharing another similarity with its console counterpart, the boss battles are re-used later in the game and feel just as repetitive. I guess even Dimps found it hard to create bosses.

As with the console version, Colours DS features red rings for you to obtain in levels. However, these unlock artwork and sound effects in the gallery, as opposed to the Sonic Simulator featured on the Wii. There are 5 red rings in each main act, and two in every mission. It’s not as rewarding as Sonic Simulator levels, but if you love to unlock artwork which is easier to find on the internet, then you’ll have a good time. Assuming there’s someone out there who will want to, that is.

To make up for the lack of Sonic Simulator, we’ve been given special stages to get our hands on the Chaos Emeralds. If you finish a stage with 50 rings or more, you’ll be given the chance to enter that zone’s special stage. The stages take place in a tube-shaped road, resembling the special stages from Sonic 2. The goal is to collect a certain amount of coloured orbs, without touching the wrong colours. You loop the track 3 times, aiming for different coloured orbs each time. Again, it feels a lot like Sonic rush as it controls in the very same way as the special stages. I think you’ve got the message that this game is pretty much Sonic Rush.

While the game does have some nice features on offer, I can’t help but feel let down at how it performs. The wisp system just doesn’t fare well in this style, and frequently suffers from clumsy controls. I had lost count of many lives I had lost from the drill wisp not going in the right direction and the violet wisp dragging me into death traps. It was a nice try, but I feel that the wisps should be left to the 3D Sonic games.

Sonic Colours DS is in no way a bad game, but compared to the Wii version, it comes up short. If you have to choose between one of them, go with the Wii version. If you’re a big Sonic fan then you’ll probably pick up the DS version regardless. But if not, you’re really not missing out on much. Can’t win ’em all SEGA, can’t win ’em all.

Final Score – 6/10

Lacks in comparison to its Wii counterpart. The wisp system doesn’t work as well with Rush style gameplay and the main story won’t even take you 2 hours. There’s really no reason to choose this over the Wii version.

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