Sonic Colors E3 2010 Preview

Quick Take: Forget about ridiculous werehogs and stupid twin-tailed foxes. Sonic goes back to basic in a game that's all about him, running fast, collecting items, beating up baddies, and using new powers. It looks like the Sonic franchise is finally headed back to its former greatness. nope

One of the most pleasant surprises at E3 2010 was Sonic Colors on Wii. I'm a longtime Sonic fan and have despised most of the recent games in the series. With that mindset, I wasn't expecting much from Sonic Colors. What I saw was a very cute and very clever platformer that uses several of the classic Sonic platforming elements and adds new twists through the use of new powers. If what I saw during the controlled demo is an indication of where the game is headed then I have high hopes for it.

Sega showed off two levels in the demo: Tropical Resort and Sweet Mountain. Both are amusement parks that have been collected by the dastardly Dr. Eggman. For questionable (and probably evil) reasons, Eggman is collecting various worlds to create the universe's most diverse amusement park. Populating the parks are wisps, various colored creatures that can grant Sonic special powers. Together with the wisps, Sonic must free each world.

The two levels combined the 3D gameplay of Sonic Unleashed with the 2D gameplay of the classic Sonic games. The game will be half 3D and half 2D, though some levels will feature more of one than the other. As expected, there was plenty of high-speed running, coin collecting, and enemy bashing. I saw how two of the wisps -- cyan and yellow -- added to the gameplay. Cyan allows Sonic to use a laser, which is great for blasting through foes and creating a ricochet effect to get out of tight spaces. Yellow allows Sonic to drill through the ground, allowing him to reach hidden areas and take shortcuts.

As Sonic gains new powers through different colored wisps, he can revisit previously conquered levels and reach new areas in them. This gives the game some replay value and adds to its exploration element. The powers can be strung together for added bonuses. Even though I only got to see two new powers, it was easy to see how they add great twists to the classic platform gameplay.

At long last Sonic seems on the way to returning to his former glory. The portion of Sonic Colors that I saw was full of zippy gameplay and clever level design. The developers are bringing together something old and something new, which should result in something great. Even if you've become disenchanted with Sonic, I recommend keeping your eye on how this game progresses. You should be in for a real treat.

Coming to Wii and Nintendo DS, Sonic Colors is due in "Late 2010."

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