Sonic Mania/Sonic Mania Plus game review

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Amazon describes this game:

2D Sonic is back in an all-new adventure!

Play as Sonic, Tails, & Knuckles as you race through all-new Zones and fully re-imagined classics, each filled with exciting surprises and powerful bosses. Harness Sonic’s new Drop Dash, Tails’ flight, and Knuckles’ climbing abilities to overcome the evil Dr. Eggman’s robots. Discover a myriad of never-before-seen hidden paths and secrets!

This all-new experience celebrates the best of Classic Sonic, pushing the envelope forward with stunning 60 FPS gameplay and pixel-perfect physics. Welcome to the next level for the world’s fastest blue hedgehog. Welcome to Sonic Mania.

Developed by Christian Whitehead, Headcannon, and PagodaWest Games in collaboration with SEGA of America, Sonic Mania releases digitally Summer 2017 for Nintendo Switch, Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox One and PC.

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2017 – Two Sonic games for Sonic Fans

In 2017, Sega revealed two video games of Sonic the Hedgehog. One game was called Sonic Mania and the other was Sonic Forces. Sonic Mania, even though Sega owns Sonic the Hedgehog and anything related to the character and his friends, Sonic Mania was actually developed and worked by Sonic fan indie gamers. Developed by three different names, Sonic Mania is a game described as “made by fans for the fans.” Christian Whitehead is well known for creating the mobile app games of Sonic 1, Sonic 2 and Sonic CD for iPhones and Android devices. In 2018, Sonic Mania came back for it’s one year anniversary and Sega released the game in a physical version for PS4, X1 and the recent Nintendo Switch in a definitive version called Sonic Mania Plus. This new version was promoted by Sega through a short series in which you can watch on YouTube called Sonic Mania Adventures. Sonic Forces Plus includes new modes and returning classic characters such as Mighty the Armadillo and Ray the Flying Squirrel. In this review, I am going to talk about my experience on playing a 2D Sonic game made in this modern era.

Plot: Sonic returns! 

It was a normal day for Sonic and Tails until they encounter Dr. Eggman and his robot elites called the Hard Boiled Heavies in Angel Island. Dr. Eggman finds a mysterious item called the Phantom Ruby and gives it to the robots to keep it away from Sonic and Tails. With the power of the Phantom Ruby, Dr. Eggman and his Egg Robos used time-space manipulation to warp them and Sonic and Tails to Green Hill Zone. With this power, Dr. Eggman plans to use the Phantom Ruby to rebuild Little Planet (the planet from Sonic CD). It’s up to Sonic and Tails to stop Dr. Eggman and his robot henchmen. However, Knuckles gets involved too and he has own agenda. After being disturbed from the robots and the Phantom Ruby, Knuckles wants to take out his anger on the robots.

Plot Plus: Enter Mighty and Ray!

Taking place after the events of Sonic Mania and Sonic Forces, Sonic returns to Angel Island and sees his long time friends Mighty and Ray trapped in Dr. Eggman’s capsule. Depending on who you save, it turns out that one of them was Dr. Eggman’s Robo called Heavy Magician. Once again, Dr. Eggman and the Hard Boiled Heavies return and will use the Phantom Ruby to revive Dr. Eggman’s plans on creating Little Planet. Now with Mighty and Ray free, Sonic, Tails and Knuckles will work together with these two friends to stop Dr. Eggman and his Egg Robos once and for all.

Little known facts: Ray and Mighty first made their appearance in a Japanese arcade game called SegaSonic the Hedgehog in 1993 in which up to three players can control Sonic, Mighty and Ray with a jump button and a ball controller and escape from Dr. Robotnik. In 1995, Sega released the game Knuckles’ Chaotix for the Sega 32X and only Mighty returned. In 2011, Mighty and Ray made a cameo appearance in Sonic Generations as missing posters.

Gameplay: created for old and new Sonic Fans

If you played the classic Sonic games like Sonic 1, 2, 3 or even CD, you get the idea of the main premise of Sonic Mania. We got the story mode where players can play through the story as either Sonic, Tails, Sonic + Tails, or Knuckles. You can compete for a high score in time attack or play with your friends in local gameplay and race each other. Sonic Mania brings up old and new zones in a whole new concept. We have returning zones like Green Hill Zone, Chemical Plant Zone and Metallic Madness Zone. The new zones are called Studiopolis Zone, Press Garden Zone, Mirage Saloon Zone, Titanic Monarch Zone and Egg Reverie Zone. According to the wiki, we have thirteen zones but out of this, we have 5 new, original stages. Just like the past Sonic games, we have special zones in which players can try to get one of the seven Chaos Emeralds and then we have bonus stages where players can try to get every blue sphere and ring to get a medal. Regardless of type of medal you get, players will be able to unlock new features like debug mode, sound test and even a Dr. Eggman’s Mean Bean Machine minigame.

To those who either bought the DLC or bought Sonic Mania Plus, players will be able to experience a new mode called Encore mode and even have characters Mighty and Ray participate in the story. In Encore Mode, this is where in a whole new story, Sonic saves Mighty and Ray from Dr. Eggman’s capsule. In this game mode, players will be able to play as all five of the characters (Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Mighty, and Ray), However, how you use them is not what you expected. In order to swap characters, you have to break open item capsules in which you randomly swap out characters. You can swap with your character and your partner as well. For example, if you’re playing as Sonic and your partner is Tails, with one press of a button, you can play as Tails and your partner is Sonic. If your character dies, depending on who you are playing as, you will immediately play as the next character you have in stock and the only way you can get the character again is playing a crane game. For example, if you’re Sonic and your partner is Tails and you just saved Knuckles, Ray and Mighty and you got killed, instead of a game over, your next available character would be Knuckles. It’s only a game over if you lose all your friends.

Chaos Emeralds return in this game and the only way to get all seven is finding a giant ring hidden in each zone. You can find more than one in act, but once you do, you will be warped to a special zone where you have to race around a track and collect Chaos Emeralds. You can either choose to collect rings to increase the time limit in the zone or collect blur spheres and run fast.

Review: A game for fans, casuals or both?

Is Sonic Mania recommended for all gamers? I want to say yes, but I believe the ones who is going to enjoy the most of this game would be the classic Sonic fans. I only played a bit of the classics when I was little and I mostly grew up playing the modern games like the Adventure series. I didn’t play the classic games until I got Sonic Mega Collection for the GameCube. Unlike the Sonic games like Force and Lost World, Sonic Mania takes everything from the classics and revamps it for nostalgic players. However, new players can still enjoy this game and appreciate the feel of a Sonic game: going fast in 2D sprites and have great music. Sonic Mania has an amazing soundtrack and updated HD sprites. Unlike the Sonic the Hedgehog 4 games, Sonic Mania relies on sprites and using classic elements for a classic Sonic experience. The controls of each character is really simple. Sonic Mania also includes fanservice by making references to other classic titles and even a Japanese Sonic game involving popcorn! The visuals on the stages is amazing. In Encore Mode, I like seeing the sunset version of Green Hill Zone and I like the music and gimmicks of Studiopolis. However, I think the only complaints I have is that I wish we got more new, original stages. Like I said before, I think the gamers that are going to enjoy this game are Sonic fans who enjoys the 2D games. If you don’t like sprites and wanted something like New Super Mario Bros or even the Bubsy game, this is not for you. Personally, I wish we got more additional characters like Amy or Metal Sonic or the entire Team Chaotix.

Overall conclusion:

Sonic Mania is a Sonic game that really gives fans what they want. This is focused on the classic traditions such as running through levels in high speed with simple controls and story. The bonus features like adding classic characters Mighty and Ray was surprising and it was nice touch. I would love to see Sega bring these characters and more classic characters in today’s world. The new worlds in this game was enjoyable and it fits terrific with the classic stages. This game is visually good and any nostalgic gamers would be able to enjoy the game offers. The only minor aspects I would suggest it more original stages and retro characters but it doesn’t hurt the game either. This is game was made by people who loves Sonic and I would love to see more game programmers involve in big titles like Sonic. Take notes Sega!

What was your opinion on Sonic Mania?

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2 thoughts on “Sonic Mania/Sonic Mania Plus game review

  1. I definitely liked Mania. It was a pretty good take on the classic Era for sure. 3D Sonic is what I’ve always preferred but if you’re gonna go 2D, it doesn’t get much better than Mania for sure. This one really had a lot of passion behind it

    • Yeah I agree with you. I like both 3D and 2D Sonic games. I feel like this game really does put a lot of heart into it. Mania does offer fun elements for people who love the classics.

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