You gotta love Sonic the Hedgehog. I mean, who knew back then that Sega would have a legit competitor to Nintendo and Mario? I remember being a kid and seeing the commercials and wanting a Sega Genesis almost solely because of Sonic. Sega had a hit, “blast processing” and all. It certainly lived up to the hype and Sonic had become a great series of games but over the years just like Mario, it’s gotten overused and for the most part, poorly, and as a result the games really started to suck. There have been a few good ones that I enjoyed like Sonic Colors, Sonic 4, Sonic and Mario at the Olympic Games, Sonic All-star Racing just to name a few but there hasn’t really been a Sonic game that gave me that feeling like I was back in the 90’s playing on my Genesis.

Sonic Mania kinda changed all that. It isn’t a new Sonic game but it’s a game that tugs at your nostalgic string by taking the best of the old and adding some new fun. All it took was a bunch of indie developer Sonic fans to get together and add what they thought should have been in the original games, get Sega on board and we have Sonic Mania.

Sonic Mania is just fun. There’s not much to it and not much to really describe in detail. If you’ve ever played a Sonic game before then you know what to expect. The game starts off in the Green Hill Zone just like the first one and it carries on from there. The entire game is basically a remix of some popular levels in the original Sonic games with some new levels added. Studiopolis is probably my favorite level of them all. The levels are crisp, bright, fast paced and unfortunately fairly short. The levels can get a lot longer depending on how deep you look around for secrets, collect rings and do those super annoying chaos gem bonus levels. At the end of each level you face a little mini battle with Dr. Robotnik which is different from the original to where as you would typically have to finish three variations of the respective level before you fight Robotnik with a new contraption.

You can play the game right away as Sonic, Knuckles or Tails. Aside from the standalone game there is a time attack mode and competition mode where you can play one Sonic vs another and if you get bored with that, there are plenty of hidden secrets and cheats built into the game that you must figure out which add some replay value. Replay value is subjective if you consider the worst part of Sonic Mania. The bonus levels. If you want to get the chaos emeralds for the sake of perfection then I’m not mad at you but otherwise avoid the bonus chaos levels all together. I can’t for the life of me figure out why in the world the developers chose the most annoying way to get the chaos emeralds from Sonic 3. Why not the super-fast and super fun half pipe method from part 2 and 4 or even the annoying but much less annoying version of the special stages from part 1. Anything but the version in the game now. If I’m nitpicking I’m sorry but for a game that is overall fun. This element of the game sucks.

Is Sonic Mania a must pickup? Maybe. The wheel wasn’t reinvented with this game. Sonic Mania is good old fashioned retro fun. If you played Sonic as a kid in the 90’s then you’ll love Sonic Mania and if you’re a kid trying to figure out why your dad loved this game so much then this is the game you should play and you’ll totally understand afterwards. It’s only $20 and you can’t beat that. I’ve paid $60 for games I realized I hated right away *cough cough* No Man’s Sky so why not $20? This game won’t make you feel like you’ll hate it. Even though there isn’t really too much to do in this game it’s always good to see a classic game get kind of makeover. I hope the indie developers that did this game do Streets of Rage. Now that’s a Sega game that I’d like to see get a modern update but until then Sonic Mania is a dope game.

Pros

– It’s Sonic
– Great level design with fast gameplay
– It’s only $20 bucks

Cons

– Too short
– Not enough game modes
– Annoying chaos emerald special stages

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Sonic Mania
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Mike Bitter is a born gadget head and true lover of technology. It all started with computer classes at age 10 and his first PC the Tandy 1000. From then on he found his love and he became a gamer and a PC builder and has not stopped since. He specializes in hardware, troubleshooting and custom PC building. He’s known as the “fixer” amongst his friends whenever there is a problem with a PC or a Mac. He’s also fully immersed in all things that pertain to the world of computers and gaming. He's an 80's baby and he grew up watching technology evolve from the NES to PS4 and from the Commodore 64 to the iMac. He has a unique and minimalist perspective on technology and is here to help the average person to understand technology today.