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Published on November 29th, 2010 | by Cameron Woolsey

Sonic Colors DS Review

For Sonic Colors on the Wii, click here: http://www.gamingtruth.com/2010/11/26/sonic-colors-review

Dimps has been busy this year. First with Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I just last month, and now a version of Sonic Colors for the Nintendo DS. Not that we should really complain, of course, especially when considering the company’s track record for quality Sonic titles. With Sonic Colors, Sonic Team finally created the game that fans of the franchise could really enjoy and be proud of. The question now is: Was Dimps able to produce a port that recreated the same quality gameplay of the Sonic Colors while still working as well their prior Sonic titles?

Of course they could, it’s what they do.

If you wanted to, you could call this game Sonic Colors Lite. As a port, it takes nearly every key facet from the game it derives from. Storyline, music, and even a couple of CGI cutscenes make the move to the DS. Even though this isn’t really bad news, some of the things have gotten a little jumbled during the translation.

As what has been revealed before, Robotnik is using his interstellar amusement park as a front to capture poor widdle aliens, called Wisps, and use their power for more evil misdeeds. Sonic has decided to crash the doctor’s party and free the poor peace loving Wisps and once again save the day. Even some of the cutscenes have been crudely recreated with moderation in mind. The scenes display the characters as static images often changing with the change of emotion during the dialogue. Although the dialogue is mostly different to that of the Wii version, there are a few scenes that have been designed to be nearly identical and do so with mixed results. One scene from the Wii version in particular makes sense only when you get to watch the situation take place. The DS version tries to recreate this scene using still images which simply doesn’t work and the whole scene ended up confusing and pointless. Because I played Sonic Colors on the Wii before the DS, I understood what was happening. But I can imagine those who played this only on the DS would find the scene to be odd.

Like I said above, this is the diet version of Sonic Colors. And what I mean by that is you should expect a taste of everything that Sonic Colors has to offer, but not the full sugary dose. The biggest change you will need to adjust yourself to if you never played Sonic on the DS are the dual screens. The screens actas a widescreen T.V. flipped on its side. Sonic will travel through both screens as he runs so expect to be switching your views often.

The number of planets to save remains at five and initial Zone (bringing the count to six). However the number of Acts has been reduced. Instead of around 6-7 Acts per planet, there are now only three which includes the boss stage. If you can imagine the classic Sonic setup with only a few Acts per Zone then you will understand what Dimps was going for. Along with the Acts there are also missions that pop up but they are not necessary to the story.

Expect to see the same levels in decreased quality but with a Sonic Rush twist.

In a mission, Sonic runs into one of his old accomplices, plucked from the endless supply of bad supporting characters such as Shadow or Cream the rabbit, who give him a challenge to complete usually under a set time limit. The challenges can be destroying a number of enemies to gathering an amount of rings to freeing a number of white Wisps. The missions can provide a quick distraction if you’re tired of having fun with the real game but not all of them are very satisfying to play and I ultimately got bored of them. The actual Acts of the game are far more fun to play.

The gameplay is a 2D only affair and heavily resembles Sonic Rush—there is even a hang glider section if you need further proof. But, like the Wii version, the big change comes from using the power of the Wisps. In the DS version the number of Wisps has gone from eight down to six and a couple of the Wisps have been changed to support powers that work best in a 2D environment. The White Wisps are still present and still offer Sonic the ability to boost. The DS version, however, is far more generous with the white Wisps and you now have the ability to boost through most of the stage. This in turn means that Sonic Colors on the DS is fast and it’s thrilling to fly through enemies and the air like a multi-colored missile.

The DS exclusive red Burst Wisp turns Sonic into an unstable fireball.

The music is taken directly from the Wii version of the game and still just as great, albeit of lower quality. You can still expect to hear the same songs and even a few words from some of the characters. Just don’t expect full spoken dialogue; a few grunts and laughs are all you get.

Sonic purists who love the chase for the Chaos Emeralds should take the DS version into consideration. Unlike the Wii version, the Chaos Emeralds have returned as a focal point to the story. Although defeating Robotnik on the Wii was the final task, Sonic Colors on DS gives you one more thing to take care of before sending the Wisps home. In true Sonic form, collecting all the Emeralds will pit Sonic, now as Super Sonic, against the final badnik whose defeat means being able to view the true ending to the game. Collecting the Emeralds is done by finishing a stage with 50 or more rings in tow and entering the Special Stage. These stages resemble those from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 but require the stylus to navigate. In another nod to the classic games you must collect a certain amount of colored orbs while hitting bumpers and avoiding spiked balls. These stages can be difficult to get to but actually really easy to complete. I was able to complete all the stages but two on my first try.

An issue that I discussed in my review of the Wii version of the game has unfortunately made its way onto the DS port. The bosses in the game really are not all that great and provide more challenge than what they are worth. They will mostly require methods of trial and error to figure out each of their weak points and how to take them down. Though these aren’t the worst boss fights in the history of the franchise, they are still disappointing. Even playing as Super Sonic against the final boss wasn’t all that thrilling. It was just point and click about three times and hoorah credits!

In a nice addition, Sonic Colors for the DS includes multiplayer challenges where you can take on a friend (or rival) in a race to the finish line. As you race, you can pick up weapons to use against your opponent. All you need to do is pick the item up, let’s say a bumper, and then tap the icon on the lower screen, which puts a shiny red bumper in the path of your rival, impeding his or her progress. Of course, your opponent can do the same. Multiplayer is actually pretty fun, but limited. There are only several maps to play across so it’s not likely that it will take up much of your time which will be mostly devoted to the story mode.

Even though the DS version is a smaller and shorter doppelganger of Sonic Colors for the Wii, it’s still a whole lot of fun to play. Dimps has the 2D Sonic formula down to a science and they have expertly crafted a fun adventure that any Sonic or platforming will no doubt enjoy. I suppose the question one would ask now is: Which version should I buy? Despite the fact that Sonic Colors for the DS is a great title, it does not compare to the fantastic Wii version. But that doesn’t mean you will feel disappointed by purchasing it on the DS. Both games are fun and the purchase of either one is a good choice regardless. Despite a few shortcomings, Dimps has created another great Sonic for the DS. I think they earned a little break.

[xrr label=”Rating: 8.5/10″ rating=8.5/10]
+Classic Sonic gameplay
+Great music
+Exclusive Wisps are fun…
…but the bosses are not
Cutscenes are confusing
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About the Author

Video game journalist since 2006, and gaming since he was old enough to use an Atari joystick. Follow me: @Cam_is_16bit

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