Reviews | Written by Chris Jackson 10/09/2021

SONIC COLOURS ULTIMATE

PLATFORM: PC, PS4, XBOX ONE, SWITCH | RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW

Some baddies just never quit, do they? The dastardly chubster, Dr. Eggman, has been the bane of Sonic's life for almost three decades now, and he's still up to his old tricks – now (well, originally back in 2010, but he's doing it again now too) he's built himself a gigantic amusement park in outer space, powered by captured and enslaved members of an alien species called Wisps. Never one to keep his nose out of nefarious business, Sonic takes it upon himself to free the Wisps and send Eggman packing once and for all!

Colours' 40+ levels all feature that familiar 2D Sonic gameplay, racing through brightly coloured environments full of all the usual traps, pitfalls, blind leaps of faith and awkwardly-placed enemies that anyone who's played a Sonic game will no doubt be expecting, but shakes things up now and again by shifting to a not-quite-fully-3D perspective that lends an extra bit of adrenaline-pumping excitement. The Wisps, too, are more than just a plot device – they give Sonic a variety of powers and abilities for a limited time, allowing him to ricochet between crystals, travel through electrical cables, fly around and attack airborne enemies, burrow through soft ground, cross through solid objects and more besides.

For the most part, levels are fairly short, taking less than 5 minutes each to reach the finishing line, but they're all stuffed full of shortcuts and hidden areas, many of which are only accessible using Wisp powers. This does mean that a slightly more considered approach is needed, as spotting opportunities to use these special abilities and activating them in time when Sonic is running at full pelt can be very fiddly, but slowing things down a bit and allowing players to take in their surroundings is certainly no bad thing at all. The inclusion of some extremely elusive red rings will provide an extra challenge for completionists, and chasing the top ranked scores is likely to cause no end of frustration for those wishing to push themselves even further.

In the old days, when Starburst rated things out of ten, Sonic Colours Ultimate would easily have earned itself a solid seven – not quite essential but still great fun, especially if you've got fond memories of playing the original back in 2010. While there were no issues at all playing on Xbox Series X, there have been reports of various bugs and glitches on other systems, so it might be worth seeking out further info if you're playing on older / less powerful hardware. Having said that, the smattering of new additions – a “rival rush” mode where you race against Metal Sonic, an extra Wisp power, a handful of player icons based on the 2020 Sonic movie and a few remixed tunes – are a nice touch, the sharper image quality (4K!) means that the game now looks exactly like your brain thinks it did back in the day (when really, if you fire up the Wii version today, it's terribly fuzzy and muddy), and the blend of 2D and 3D sections along with multiple routes through each level make SCU one of the better Sonic games of the past couple of decades.