P n the S er’ a k n Son
By the fans, for the fans
Over the last few decades, Sonic the Hedgehog has fallen on some pretty hard times with a variety of hits and misses throughout the series. Despite the initial shot to fame in the 90’s, the spunky Blue Blur has not quite been able to reclaim his spot in the limelight, even in three dimensions, so it was only wise when the team at SEGA decided to ditch the bells and whistles of modern-day Sonic and return to its roots as a 2D side-scroller. The result is Sonic Mania, the game fans have always wanted, which takes us back to the good ol’ days of Genesis-era Sonic.
Almost a greatest hits approach to Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic Mania lets players take on the role of against Eggman (a.k.a. Dr. Robotnik) and his new pals called the Hard-Boiled Heavies, who have come to work with the bald-headed villain to acquire a powerful gemstone known as the Phantom Ruby. Despite the absence of dialog, Sonic Mania does an excellent job at capturing the essence of the story with comedic charm, as players run, jump, spin, and collect rings across 12 vibrant zones.
All that glitters are old and gold
It’s as simple as Sonic goes, which gamers will appreciate, with each of the new and classic zones standing out with their own set of tricks and gimmicks. Fans of the franchise will immediately perk up at the sight of classic stages like Chemical Plant and Stardust Speedway, which have been reworked with new enhanced artwork and gameplay elements that give them a more refreshing appeal, while new zones like Studiopolis and Mirage Saloon took what’s loved about 2D Sonic games and twisted them into new levels that are both creative and revolutionary. Paying homage to what made the originals great, Sonic Mania also brings back classic bonus stages that fans may be familiar with in Sonic 3 & Knuckles, as well as improves on Sonic CD’s UFO hunt with its own take on the special stage. This and a couple of other references throughout the game, including cameo appearances of characters like Nack the Weasel and Bark the Polar Bear (we are not making this up), make it an all-round tribute. Back it up with a soundtrack that remixes the original tunes and captures the new jack swing of Sonic CD, and you’ve got a Sonic the Hedgehog game for the ages.
While the fastest hedgehog alive may have had a few stumbles in the past, there’s no doubt that Sonic Mania has restored the joy of blazing through roller-coaster platform levels in 2D, as it celebrates the successes that have made Sonic super. By working with fans to deliver a true blast to to recapture that nostalgia of its golden age, paving the way for more revitalized classics. Now, please bring back Streets of Rage.
A perfect throwback to Genesis-era Sonic.