There comes a game every once in a while where you will just sit back start to play and realise that 4 hours have passed. This is what happened when I started playing Sonic Mania and by the time I realised what was happening, that quick 30 minutes I wanted to play had turned into around 4 hours.
The feel of the game is what it was on the original Sonic game all those years ago, giving that nostalgic feel, but also the feel that you’re not on your Xbox/PS/Switch playing, but you have a Sega Megadrive again and you’re flying through the worlds like no one’s business.
Precision for getting through the levels is a tough one, practice and finesse is needed to be the ultimate master of these levels. Green Hills is one of my favourite zones and one I love playing over and over, and going back to it in Sonic Mania really brought back those memories when I was younger.
When you start the game and you’re playing through some of the original levels from the first game, they are just as you remember, there is no denying that and this is one of the charms of the game, bringing that nostalgic feel while keeping the game up to date and fresh has been brilliantly done and I applaud Sega for it.
One thing I think has been brilliantly done here is how the game has been balanced to bring you that old school feel while keeping the game up to date. While some levels have been made to look and play just as you would have all those years ago, such as Green Hills Zone, while other levels have been designed to kind of give you that feeling of something new and fresh while being familiar at the same time. The only problem that Sega had to be careful with here is making it not exhausting playing the same, as well as not alienating players by making it not feel like Sonic any more, and the balance that has been struck here is wonderful, just enough to keep the game fresh.
Let’s talk about how the game looks, yes the old school pixelated Sonic is back, but the game looks gorgeous and I don’t think the original game looked this good. The environments have immense details and don’t feel over powering again along with how the levels have been designed, it doesn’t feel too much and adds to the polish that this game has clearly been given. If you take a look at one of the new levels introduced, Studiopolis, the sunsets within that level are remarkable and a joy to watch as you play through…. Probably why I kept dying here and there because the stunning scenery was just breath-taking.
You can tell that the amount of care and love that has gone into the game is there and that there is an air of pride with what has been created. This resonates through in the game play with the solid performance that is given out when playing through each zone.
The 3D levels within the game as well have had that polish and play well, I have to admit that it did feel strange going from 2D scrolling platformer to 3D.
Frustrations are still there, but then this for me was to bring back that nostalgic feel, that sensation when you were a youth. All rings being lost from a single hit, this was frustrating, however it’s what I know from a Sonic game, but still doesn’t make it less frustrating. I mentioned above about practice makes perfect and having to work hard to perfect moves and getting through levels in style, well this counts towards Boss Battles. High speed controls need practice to get you through and I have to admit that there were loads of times in which I died and sometimes quite cheaply as well as I started to get a bit frustrated. Lessons were learnt.
After a while all the nostalgic feel that you had from the game will bring back all these memories of frustrations that comes in a nice little prepacked present for you.
This is a classic Sonic game and one that I thoroughly enjoyed playing. Going back to play some of the old Zones as well as experiencing the new was refreshing and having that balance within the game made it that much more enjoyable and the games simplicity is what adds to this enjoyment.