Sonic Ma­nia

You can’t al­ways get what you want… un­less it’s a Sonic Saturn game

Games Master - - Feature -

51

Fi­nally, it’s the Sonic game we’ve been want­ing and hop­ing for since 1995. Sonic Team never made a true next-gen, 2D Sonic game for Saturn, but this al­lur­ing gem has been de­signed to look as though it’s run­ning on that ma­chine. De­spite the iconic Green Hill Zone mak­ing a re­turn, be­gin­ning as a blow-for-blow re­tread of the orig­i­nal Sonic The Hedge­hog, this is no HD re­make. For starters, it’s not HD at all, but thanks to gor­geously pixel­lated, all-new retro-styled art­work, it’s ut­terly lovely to look at. Se­condly, the clas­sic level soon branches off into new ter­ri­tory, fol­lowed by all-new zones to ex­plore. The playable trio of Sonic, Tails and Knuck­les all look mag­nif­i­cent, full of per­son­al­ity and boast­ing smoother an­i­ma­tion and deeper colour pal­ettes. Best of all, it moves ex­actly like Mega Drive Sonic, only with an ex­tra move – the ‘drop dash’ – and a cou­ple of mi­nor im­prove­ments to jump physics in cer­tain sit­u­a­tions, like ver­ti­cal wall runs and item box bounces.

Even in its cur­rent un­fin­ished state, Sonic Ma­nia is an ab­so­lute joy to play, with fun, en­gag­ing and in­ter­est­ing things to do ev­ery­where in the en­vi­ron­ment, and flow­ing, canny level de­sign by a devel­op­ment team that clearly ‘gets’ what Sonic should be about. Be ex­cited – the decades-long wait for a proper 2D Sonic se­quel is al­most over. Noth­ing less than su­perb will do.

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