Sonic Mania is a modern entry in the Sonic series that pays homage to the classic Genesis era of this massively popular franchise. Once considered a titan of platforming games, the Sonic franchise lacks the popularity that it had in the 90s. However, through a flurry of colorful levels, classic challenging gameplay, and an abundance of replayability, Sonic Mania looks to bring Sonic back into the mainstream. This completely 2D adventure goes back to the roots of classic Sonic gameplay, offering one of the fastest platforming adventures around. Whether you're a longtime fan of Sonic or completely new to the series, Sonic Mania is a must-play callback to the Sega Genesis.
Main Game Features
- 12 levels featuring classic and new areas
- Competitive and cooperative multiplayer options
- Multiple playable characters
Like in the early Genesis games, the story in Sonic Mania is straightforward and appropriately retro in nature. One day, Sonic and Tails hop on their plane to investigate a curious energy reading from the nearby Angel Island. On the way, their trip is delayed by Doctor Robotnik's evil horde of robots, who attempt to stop their arrival. By the time the pair reach Angel Island, the robots have already discovered the source of the energy, a crystal of immense power known as the Phantom Ruby. As the robots attempt to bring the ruby back to Doctor Robotnik, Sonic, Tails, and their pal Knuckles give chase.
Sonic Mania strips away the more modern mechanics and features that have dominated the Sonic franchise and opts for a retro gameplay formula instead. In order to retrieve the Phantom Ruby and defeat Doctor Robotnik, you must travel through 12 different zones with wicked speed, collecting rings and defeating enemies. There are three playable characters: Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles. Each character has a handful of special abilities, allowing you to reach different areas and unlock new content. Like in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, a second player can join in and control Tails in cooperative play. As is tradition, you can also discover a hidden mini-game in each stage by locating a giant golden ring. There are both classic zones and “remixed” zones to play through, offering a mixture of nostalgia and more modern mechanics.
Generally speaking, Sonic Mania plays like a dream. The controls are super tight, the game flows incredibly well, and there's a great amount of gameplay variety. However, the colorful visuals and beautiful pixel art are what truly seals the deal. Sonic Mania is easily one of the most vibrant and joyous games around, accurately recreating the 16-bit era visual style. Levels are packed with visual effects and beautiful scenery, thanks to the power of modern consoles and gaming computers. If you grew up playing the original Sonic series on Genesis, Sonic Mania is a visual treat that delivers an undeniable blast from the past.
Although the Sonic series once dominated gaming and stood alongside Mario as one of the most powerful brands around, the franchise has taken a dip in popularity over the last few years. Whether due to poor game design, waning interest, or the inability to adjust to modern tastes, Sonic has fallen on rough times. That said, Sonic Mania manages to add a surprising jolt of originality and energy into the series, resulting in one of the most enjoyable and fast-paced platforming games available. Gamers who grew up with the Sonic series will undoubtedly appreciate Sonic Mania's many references and homages, but newcomers will have a great time as well.
- Lightning-fast gameplay
- Colorful, nostalgic visuals
- Awesome combination of classic and new levels
- Leaves out some newer Sonic characters
- Too short