Xbox One Review: Sonic Mania

Lord of the Nostalgia Rings…

As much as I love Sonic, it’s clear that he has struggled with the transition to 3D. Most fans have been after a true sequel to Sonic and Knuckles or Sonic CD. Sonic 4 didn’t really hit the mark, but Sonic Generations was a good balance between old and new…then came the Wii U games that fell short. Sonic Team aren’t involved with Sonic Mania however and is made by fans who have made fan-made Sonic games in the past. So how does it fare?

Think of Sonic Mania as Sonic Remixed and you’ll know exactly what to expect. Remixed 2D Sonic levels, special stages, bosses and a remixed soundtrack of classic tunes from the classic games. Some levels are completely new, while classic ones like Green Hill Zone and Chemical Plant Zone return. Bosses are also a collection of old and new, some with new twists that will make you think twice.

The blue sphere mini-game from Sonic 3/Sonic and Knuckles also returns with a great number of tough stages to overcome, as well as having an achievement for getting Gold medals on each by getting Perfect ratings on them. This will take a LOT of practice. There are so many Easter Eggs to classic Sonic, some you might miss the first time through. The craziest has to be the boss in Chemical Plant Zone 2 which pits you against Eggman in a remake of Dr Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine.

There’s also a tougher Metal Sonic fight to overcome and the final boss in the game is a real challenge, especially if you collect all the Chaos Emeralds…which isn’t easy thanks to the mini-game itself being hard as nails. It’s reminiscent of the one from Sonic CD and the UFO’s, except Sonic has to simply catch up with the UFO to grab the Emerald…but he’s too slow and has to gather spheres to increase his Mach speed, while gathering rings so he doesn’t run out of time and avoiding objects that will deplete them, as well as making sure not to jump out of the stage or fall through holes planted on the course.

Each stage is a true homage to the blue hedgehog, even though you can tell fans are responsible for the game…it doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. In fact, it’s the best Sonic game in years and feels like a true sequel to Sonic CD. I only hope they get another chance to make Sonic Mania 2 or something along those lines.

The Verdict

Sonic Mania is an amazing tribute to classic 2D Sonic. Remixed stages, soundtrack, bosses and mini-games as well as Easter Eggs galore, including a &Knuckles mode that lets you play as two sets of Knuckles as a nod to the classic meme…there’s so much fun to be had here and while it plays on nostalgia, that’s no bad thing when it’s this damn addictive. Let’s hope this is the start of something special.

Score: 9.0