Sonic Mania

  • Original platform: PC, PS4, XBO, Switch
  • Version played: PS4
  • Where to get: Widely available digitally and physically.

After creating ports of Sonic CD, Sonic 1 and 2 on Android, Christian Whitehead got a chance to work on a new Sonic game. While it looks very similar to the Mega Drive Sonic games, Sonic Mania doesn’t limit itself to what the Mega Drive can do, and lots of small improvements can be noticed such as extra frames of animation on rings and background objects. In a way, Sonic Mania feels like this could have been what Sonic on the Sega Saturn could have been if they didn’t feel the need to go the 3D route.

My biggest issue with Sonic Mania is that it tries to rely on nostalgia when it doesn’t need to. Sonic Mania has 12 main levels, but 8 of them are remixed versions of levels from 1, 2, CD, 3 & Knuckles – including the often revisited Green Hill Zone and Chemical Plant Zone. New levels include Studiopolis, Press Garden, Mirage Saloon and Titanic Monarch. All of these levels are brilliant, capturing the feel of classic Sonic levels while including their own twists on the formula. They all have a great style and brilliant music. I just wish the whole game could have been new levels.

Not that the remixed levels are bad. All of the Zones are two acts. The first act of each remxied level is exactly that: it feels like the original level, but different. Green Hill Zone Act 1 is pretty much the first two acts from the original combined,, while other levels have similar but different parts.

The second act of each returning zone, however, is essentially brand new, with new level gimmicks to focus on, some of them even look very different. These are all brilliant levels. Essentially, my main complaint with Sonic Mania is that I wish there was more: two separate games (one focusing on remix levels, one on new levels) would have been amazing to have.

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