Since the death of the Dreamcast (may it rest in peace in Video Game Valhalla) Sonic the Hedgehog has had a rocky time. Sega has tried to keep it’s mascot in the public eye by any means necessary. With the exception of the Sonic Adventure Dreamcast ports to other systems most Sonic games have been received poorly by fans and critics (not counting Sonic Generation which critics enjoyed but seemed to be ignored by customers).
Then of course last year during the celebration of Sonic’s 25th anniversary Sega announced Sonic Mania, which is a return to form for the series. Ditched are the complex plots which never made any damn sense, and an HD version of the classic 16-bit game. The levels are remixed versions of original Sonic games and by remixed I mean they change a lot around not just one or two things, for instance the boss battle at the end of Chemical Zone isn’t even close to what it was, in fact its a very fun and surprising mini game which I won’t spoil here but it was a delight to play.
This feels like the Sonic 4 we were always promised not that watered down episodic Sonic 4 we got. Also, I find it hilarious that the first great Sonic game we got since the Genesis wasn’t made by Team Sonic, but outsourced by Sega to modders, you heard that right, modders are responsible for this gem of a game. Director of this game, Christian “Taxman” Whitehead, has been highly active as a Sonic fan game maker for sometime now, and has made some great games. Sega, unlike Nintendo, instead of going after fan made games has embraced them and has gone to that next level and hired them.
This avenue for Sonic Mania has made this game a true labor of love and it shows. This game is a delight to play and so much fun to play. It’s a nostalgic trip down memory lane, one that hasn’t really been felt since Mario Maker… cough cough… Sega make a Sonic Maker, because we’re playing a version of a game that feels like it was straight out of the 90’s when platformers were king.
What’s nice about Sonic Mania, especially on the Switch (the system we played it on) is that you can just put your system in sleep mode and pick up right where you left off unlike back in the 90’s when you had to start all over when you turned the system off. Also on the Switch you can take it where ever you go. Also if you are a super Sonic fan I suggest the Collector’s Edition which comes with a Sonic statue on top of a Genesis 1 which plays the iconic “SEGA” when turned on. It also comes with a Sonic Ring, and a replica Sonic Mania cartridge along with a metallic card.
In closing this is the Sonic game we’ve been waiting for for almost 20 years. It is so good that it almost makes you forget that there were Sonic games between this one and Sonic Adventures. It’s a nice trip down memory lane and a must for any Sonic Fan. We at Clash of the Nerds gives Sonic Mania a 9 out of 10.
Sonic Mania is out now for the Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PS4, and Windows PC.