Available now on: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Developers: Headcannon / Pagoda Games West / Christian Whitehead, supervised by Sonic Team & SEGA
Music by: Hyper Potions & Nitro Fun (intro and ending music), Tee Lopes (level bgm)
An intro from a classic Sonic fan:
I grew up with the classic consoles, NES, and Genesis. When a blug hedgehog whizzed by, and dashed across a colorful, and exhilarating level. There was nothing like it, and never would be. And the music was something unexpected. This series would go on to evolve, from 2D, to 3D. But what if it were to go back in time to explore one more time?
And by golly they are rings! (* phew, I feel better)
Late last year, Sega teased something special during the annual Sonic Celebration. The last time something astonishing knocked everyone's jaw to the ground was Generations. Hard to believe its been seven years already. Flash forward to now, a then hidden surprise teased classic Sonic & pals (Tails & Knuckles) the excitement hit the roof. Like the trailer teased "going back, to what made the series fun".
Little Blue Planet
8/15/2017 release day, worldwide. Fans waited, and it was worth it. The most astonishing part about the game: it was fun again, and tough as nails. Old school difficulty, with new ways to explore, but also challenges that would test those old school reflexes. (guess what, I love it!) This is the game we have wanted for years, and by golly it kicks our butts.
Right in the Feels
The intro screen, picks up where the teaser trailers left off. (online the crossover dev team along with Sonic's social media teased hints of what the in-game story was about)
Sonic, Tails & Knuckles banding together, on a strange elevator with 1, 2, 3 & M buttons. Sonic hits one, and off they go.
From there, the doors open, the gang embarks on another adventure. Sprawled across various worlds, they cross time and space exploring all sorts of levels (from the past, and the unknown). We're introduced to the new baddies called "the Hard Boild Heavies" a new armada of Eggman bots that have a grudge against our pals.
There's hints of the worlds we get to explore, but the trio never lets up. The pathways they cross, together to find out what connects it all together.
Green Hill Zone
Classic start up level, but with a twist. So many options lay before you. Take any route you want, even destroy obstacles along the way (What the!?) Yes, you can, and its totally worth exploring these vast levels, which are in fact massive. The details within the first stage, and the next is so diverse, colorful, expansive, an expressive. Every level feels alive (but wait a time aspect?) **will come back to this later.
As you clear each area, the music interchanges with the enviornment, giving a whole different energy to the in-game atmosphere.
Every stage is divided into seperate areas, and that old school design fits the flow of Mania. From classic adventures, to a slew of new levels (and some based on lost levels that never made it to the classic series). With challenges across the universe, some will test all you have to make it through from start to finish.
Boss: Every baddie has a theme, however there are various kinds sprawled throughout the game. A mix of old and new, and fun surprises along the way. No two are alike, and will keep you on your toes
Bonus stages: Grab enough rings (50), and find a super sized ring to rush down an Emerald. Or to go for another challenge, clear a checkpoint and hit the stars above it. See what happens if you can beat the tough blur sphere run. (careful may get dizzy)
Time is not on your side: this is a spiritual sequel to the classic Sonic series. Sonic CD set a precedent that changed games forever. Mania in fact is its sequel, transitioning the connection from Generations (which would be.. let's say original Sonic's other crossover before this game) and connected to another chapter very soon.
Mania is a beautiful game, displaying what the past could deliver but on current generation hardware. Showing a vast array of colors, level design, enviornments, and flow from a to b,
From Green HIll and beyond, the levels are insanely huge. The most intimidating thing is the timer (which has been our enemy since day one)
The most unique aspect about Mania, is the usage of 3D in the bonus stages. Its a great nod to the past, but also gives it that feeling we are crossing time and spaces with Classic Sonic and friends.
How to describe the visuals: Amazing, it feels like we've taken a step back in time, and the wait was worth it. And every level has incredible landscapes, traversing low and high, multi-tiered challenges that await at every turn. There is nothing quite like Mania.
Like the past games, its setup in a simple way. Using the d-pad, up, down, left, and right. And Attack. That's it. But the best part, is that its reaction time is spot on. Every movement is fluid, for example:
Press up, and you'll see Sonic looking in that direction (the attention to detail, and expression is amazing)
Press down, and of course he will duck
Dash: In later games, Sonic Team utilized the ability for the hedgehog to charge his attack. Gaining enough momentum, release and he will go zipping across the level.
In Mania, it feels natural, almost second nature and comes in handy in various aspects. Once you find a rhythm, there is no stopping that flow (except for the occasional spikes, or out of bound areas.. and the dreaded losing a life
Music to my ears:
When the teaser debuted during the Anniversary celebration, the audience was floored. The bgm set up a new energy, with that old school spark. Including later videos with the in-game beats, they utilize that classic sound with timeless beats. That funky feeling is back, and it is so good. The music created for Mania is insane, from the intro screen (let it play, there are two songs). In-game, every level pays tribute to the past, with some new sounds blended in. Creating a fun vast atmosphere worth exploring more than once. Not listing zones, but the attention to detail will bring a smile to your face (even when you die on occasion)
Thanks for Playing:
How to sum up in a few words.. this is the Sonic game we waited for. Even when the series went 3D. The trip back to the classic rush, is superb. That feeling you get when you hear any song from the series, can bring back many emotions. (or want to dance). Sonic is a part of us, the energy, the sound, the attitude. Mania is a love letter, that even with new technology, revisiting the past can be a new adventure all over again.