Sonic the Hedgehog, the well-known blue blur that has had plenty of ups and downs especially ever since the modern era. From racing on hoverboards, playing tennis, racing in cars, to kissing a human girl. You can see that Sonic has seen better days. But, with almost every Sonic game Sega is ready to take a step back, and introduce something new that will either hurt the Sonic franchise more, or make it better.
Sonic Mania when it was announced back at Sonic’s 25th Anniversary Party alongside Sonic Forces, was a title nobody saw coming. It was a dream come true to whoever grew up playing Sonic back during his classic era. But not only was it being made for the classic fans, it was a game actually being made by fans for fans. This was a huge step for Sega, this would be the first time they actually hired a group of fans to make a game.
Sonic Mania stays true to the classics, by reimagining a few popular zones from classic titles such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic the Hedgehog 3, Sonic & Knuckles, and Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles. It also includes references to classics, as well as gives an introduction to 2 completely original levels. The gameplay manages to replicate the classic physics almost perfectly and even adds a new gameplay mechanic called the “Drop-Dash” which allows Sonic to do a mid-air spin-dash helping players gain momentum quicker.
Aside from playing as Sonic, the game also allows you to play as Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles. Each character has their own unique gameplay style. Sonic’s gameplay being represented for the average player, Tails’ gameplay being represented for a sort of beginner player, as Tails allows to be able to fly over the majority of the zones, and Knuckles which brings a more challenging gameplay, as he’s more of a heavy-type character featuring slower gameplay, one exclusive level, and two exclusive bosses.
The story starts off as a complete reference to Sonic the Hedgehog 3 Sonic and Tails flying the tornado (Sonic’s plane) towards the ancient Angel Island. When arriving the duo come to a halt as they see a group of “Eggman Robo’s” hovering over an area at the beginning of the island. They use a large crane to pull a chunk of the island out of the ground revealing a mysterious ruby which all of the sudden activates and begins to alter reality shaking the entire island. As the Eggman Robo’s begin to flee.
Knuckles the Echidna who was resting nearby, is suddenly awoken by the shaking he notices the group getting away, he get up to fight but is instantly knocked out by the chunk of the island. The trio awake and are now found to be in Green Hill Zone. That’s all I’ll say for the story, it’s a really interesting start, and just like the classic’s the game has to tell itself through short animated transitions to different zones. It’s definitely a classic adventure you don’t want to miss out on!
Level’s are unique, each stage is split up into 2 acts. Act 1 features a combination of Act 1 and Act 2 from the original zone. While Act 2 features the developer’s reimagining of the stage with an equal amount of length. Along with each stage having a mini-boss/boss at the end of every act. Levels were designed for each character giving the player the option of going back to each stage as a different character to explore new paths, and hidden secrets.
Sonic Mania truly is a nostalgic trip for many people who grew up with his classic games, and is a huge step in the right direction.
The game has a ton of replay value, it brings back the fun “Special Stages” from Sonic the Hedgehog 3 known as “Blue Spheres”. Completing each Blue Sphere stage without perfecting it rewards the player with a silver coin, whereas replaying it to get a perfect rewards the player with a gold coin. Collecting each coin allows you to unlock various of other things to do within the extras menu. Overall my experience with Sonic Mania has been a great one.
For $20/€20 it’s really worth it, and I can’t find a reason not to replay it. While I will admit some zones and bosses are irritating, this was a game I couldn’t pass up. It’s a short, well-made new classic title, that really lives up to everything people enjoyed from the classics. I wouldn’t mind seeing a few more titles like this in the future.
- Stays true the classic's
- Plenty of hidden areas and secrets to discover
- Great gameplay
- Some unshockable's aren't worth the effort
- Can be too nostalgic to some
- While it offers remastered classic stages, it only offers very few new stages