There have been plenty of Sonic adaptations over the years, when I say plenty yeah its fully loads. But none have even come close to the mark of the original. I mean way back when in 1991 Sonic 1 really did set the bar up high. Sonic for me, and I hope for a lot of fellow gamers of similar age. Provided the first ‘holy shit this is awesome’ moment in gaming.
Sonic was new and fresh and fully addictive, it was very pretty for its time and provided a challenge to get though. Something to chat about in the playgrounds. Wait… That sounded weird, by playgrounds I mean I was student at the time. I don’t go around looking for kids in playgrounds… We are going down a dark path here. Lets get back on track.
From the game launch screen its very clear that Head Cannon & Panda games wanted to remain faithful and pay respect to the original. The classic Sonic finger wag is very much in place, the logo screen is exactly what you want from a Sonic game. There he is a floating above the title as he should be. So that’s the first box ticked. Happy days.
Sonic Mania provides a great mesh between the nostalgic memories of the original and just enough of an update on the look and feel of the game to keep you interested. I mean, if we wanted to play Sonic we can do that on our phones these days. We need something new here in order for us to give it the time of day. Does Sonic Mania provide that? Hell yes it does. Here Cometh the review dear friends.
Of course its still a platform game, you would be forgiven to think its just another left to right game play with a boss at the end of the zone. And OK it is still pretty much that, but you don’t necessarily finish on the right. What I mean by that is yes, start on the left but you can be sent in any direction to find the end of the level.
As for the Zones themselves, they are either new new or remixed. In my opinion even the remixed levels really do bring it, even for me a person who cannot stand change the remixed levels are a welcome change from the norm. From when the Zone kicks off, you have to stop yourself from heading in the same direction you knew way back when.
Yes they will look very similar but try the old school method of getting through the zone as quickly as possible wont do you much good. Normal rules do not apply, this is a good thing here people, I mean how long has it been since a Sonic game gave you those familiar feelings while at the same time gave a decent challenge?! Seriously, this game in parts could be classed as ‘Megaman’ hard and that really is saying something. Sonic Mania is not just another rerun of the classic games, its not Sonic & Knuckles or Sonic CD bullshit, it really is a brand new game with all the elements we loved from the original. Finally kids these days will know the reward of getting past a tough Zone or the pure unadulterated panic of Sonic drowning in the water stages.
The zones are clearly based on Sonic 2, the spin dash is back but so is tails. That said that part of tails personality that made him a total douche has been largely removed. Still kind of a douche though. You still have the option to play simultaneously however, which is always fun.
In terms of look, Sonic Mania has remained faithful to the original 2D graphics but with awesome little updates making it a joy to behold. Even the special stages are back with an update, remember jumping into the huge ring at the end of a zone? Not the way anymore, you will have to seek out the special stages within the level. To obtain the chaos emerald you must run through a Sonic CD stage, which I guess gives a change of pace to the actual game. Personally I would have preferred to see a classic Sonic 1 special stage but you can’t have everything I guess. I’m more thankful that they didn’t go with a Sonic 2 special stage, this of course is the source of most of the hate towards Tails. Dumb ass always losing all my rings. Tails, everyone hates you.
Sonic Mania is made up of 12 zones, 4 brand new and four remixed. Don’t worry, the developers have not gotten lazy at all here. Every zone is different from what you remember. I actually found myself getting stuck on more than one occasion, this was welcome! Ever feel that the boss levels were really just too easy, as soon as you figure out the system its simple. But this time around there is no system. Its almost like old eggman learns how you fight and adapts his attack. Meaning you have to actually think about your strategy to beat the boss. Have to make use of the environments, its trial and error here.
Which brings me to my next box ticked about this title. The option to continue. You still have a set amount of lives which you can increase by collecting those rings, however your actual continues are unlimited. This is fucking great, lost count how many games are just sat on my shelf because if I pick them back up I have to start right from the beginning. With Sonic Mania at worst you need to start the zone again but its only ever two zones. Another system to keep you playing and yes it works. Well played sir, well played.
Now what I would have liked to see is online multiplayer, but no such luck. Its old school all the way here, split screen. Now that’s fine if you have friends over but not so much if not. Still fun though, with a little luck something for the future?
You really can’t go wrong here, pays enough homage to the original to peak your interest and enough of an update to keep you playing and most importantly give you that long awaited challenge missing from recent Sonic spin offs (see what I did there?).
Thumbs up from me.