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Sonic Colors is a return to Sonic's roots as a traditional platform game. Players control the blue hedgehog in predominantly side-scrolling levels filled with rings, robotic enemies, and various loops, rails, and boss battles. The setting is Dr. Eggman's interstellar amusement park, which consists of multiple themed planets with titles like "Sweet Mountain," Starlight Carnival," and "Asteroid Coaster." The park is not designed for fun and relaxation, however. Instead, Dr. Eggman is using the park as a front to secretly harvest the powers of aliens called wisps, and it's up to Sonic to stop him.
As Sonic traverses the 40+ levels in the game, he can collect one of the seven colorful creatures to imbue him with temporary powers. Yellow wisps allow Sonic to drill through the ground, for example, while pink wisps let Sonic roll up walls and across ceilings. In addition to the side-scrolling perspective, the game includes third-person sequences viewed from behind Sonic's back and a side goal of collecting five red tokens within each world's six acts. Collecting tokens unlocks levels in Eggman's "Sonic Simulator" mode, where two players can work together to retrieve one of seven Chaos Emeralds. Sonic Colors' supported controls include the Wii Remote and Nunchuk combo, the Classic Controller, and the GameCube controller.