It's a mark of success that in the speed-focused levels, you'll find yourself obsessed with keeping the pace and flow up – a bit like Mirror's Edge or Assassin's Creed. You know you're missing content; you catch the beginnings of hidden pathways or bonus items from the corner of your eye as you belt along. The fun often lies in nailing the level fluidly and flawlessly, then going back and re-tackling it at a slower pace to find the goodies and achieve a higher score.
The game involves combat of a sort. Eggman's robot army is never more than a couple of chicanes away, but in a pleasing stroke, they're as much a scenery feature and method of egress, as an actual foe. Sonic automatically locks onto the nearest enemy and, while airborne, a tap of B sends you hurtling towards it. As soon as it's crushed, you auto-lock onto the next enemy, and repeat.
The whole process keeps you airborne, bouncing joyously between targets, and often lets you focus on the environment around you, trying to spot terrain features or simply scoping where you can go next. Bosses tend to be larger, more complex applications of the same principle.
The Wii's controls are used to their best. It's a traditional input method, with the nunchuck's stick controlling movement and the Wii remote buttons jumping and boosting. Given the split-second timing required for movement, jumps and rail-shifts, motion control has been wisely eschewed – except for the use of your wisp-energy. A waggle of the Wii Remote activates any you've collected, and it's probably the only control worth mapping to motion, so top marks there.
Sweet little touches abound. The music – which is rarely less than celebratory in tone – goes all tinny when you're turbo-boosting; it's as if your ears are being battered by the sheer velocity. And when you've finished a level, you can control Sonic on the score screen. The score is displayed in large, 3D block characters, and if you bounce around and pound them enough they spit out extra lives and gold rings.
If there's one flaw, it's that the game's sheer pace sometimes falls foul of the Wii's limitations. Smaller items, such as gold rings or obstacles, start off as pixel-hash in the far distance; in speedy forward-motion sections, terrain features or collectibles don't really resolve until the middle distance, by which point you should have already made the decision and begun your manoeuvre. Things are at their worst when you're in the top-end rush of a turbo-boost.
Sonic Colours won't be for everyone. The humour of the interstitial cut-scenes leans to the preschool side of gentle, and in one way that's fine and dandy; kids will enjoy the game, and rightly so. For an adult, it can be a little too much to stomach. There are none of the cleverly-penned characters you might find in, say, a Ratchet and Clank, and the game as a whole is pretty old-fashioned in a lot of ways.
Depending on your point of view, that could either be a good or a bad thing. There are tried-and-tested action-game formulae in Sonic Colours, and while they're consistently well-executed, there's little inherently new or innovative on show. For me, Sonic Colours' pace and thrill-power overcome these concerns. It's a simple, neon-tinged blast of action gaming, and sometimes, that's all you really want.
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