Sonic Mania Plus is a true classic Sonic experience
Available on all major platforms, Sonic Mania Plus brings all the high speed action from last year’s Sonic Mania’s digital release into a collectible physical release. Not only do you get the definitive version of the game, there are two new characters to play as, an all-new Encore mode, and more!
Sonic Mania Plus is a celebration of Sega’s iconic mascot over the last 25 plus years with lush 2D landscapes, high quality HD 60 frames-per-second graphics and nostalgic nods galore. Oh, and did I mention it comes in really cool collectible packaging?
Simple put, if you are Sonic fan, you will not want to miss out on what is arguably the best game in the series to date—Sonic Mania Plus. Let’s take a look at what’s been added to this definitive retail enhanced version.
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
Developer(s): Hyperkinetic Studios, Christian Whitehead, Headcannon, PagodaWest Games
Genre: Platform Action
Modes: Single-player, Multiplayer
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
Take the challenge with the all-new Encore mode
Without a doubt, Encore mode is the single biggest addition to Sonic Mania Plus. It takes place after the events of Mania mode and the end of Sonic Forces. This mode includes remixed levels with increased difficulty and the ability to swap between five characters on the fly. Stages include various levels of new terrain, enemies, bosses and graphics.
For instance, you begin the game on Angel Island Zone—a re-imagined version of the original Angel Island Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog 3 for the Sega Genesis. This level only contains a few slight differences in level design compared to the original. However, the next level is a completely retooled version of Green Hill Zone.
There are new enemies and new paths to traverse the level on. The mountains in the background are much closer and various waterfalls and caves underneath them are now visible. The lower areas have rocky floors with smaller vegetation and rock formations. Also, Encore mode contains a new bonus stage that takes place inside a giant pinball machine. You’ll need to have at least 50 rings to access it from any Star Post.
Say hello to Mighty the Armadillo and Ray the Flying Squirrel
For the first time ever in a Sonic game outside of Japan, Mighty and Ray are both playable characters. Long time Sega fans will recognize Mighty and Ray from the 1991 arcade game Rad Mobile. Both characters, including Sonic, were air fresheners. The only time both Mighty and Ray were playable characters in the same game was in the Japanese only SegaSonic the Hedgehog arcade game from 1992 and 1993.
In Sonic Mania Plus, Mighty and Ray play very similar to Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles. Though, just like the other characters in the game, both Mighty and Ray have their own unique moves. For instance, Mighty has a Hammer Drop, which makes him blast downward in a burst of speed. This is extremely useful for making hidden items fall out of trees, break open destructible surfaces, and as an attack against enemies.
Conversely, Ray has the Air Glide—a move that reminds me of a certain Italian plumber from Super Mario World. It allows Ray to glide large distances through midair and even gain altitude in some instances. Overall, I felt that both Mighty and Ray are great additions to the Sonic roster. It’s worth mentioning, that Ray’s Air Glide is a little bit tricky to control at first until you get the hang of it.
A new party and lives system
Additionally, Encore mode introduces a new party and lives system to Sonic Mania Plus. At the beginning you’ll start with Sonic and either Ray or Mighty. You can control either character, one at a time, and can switch between them but a press of a button. However, to get all the other playable characters you must find monitors scattered through out the stages with cycling character faces on it.
It’s only then that you will unlock the character who’s face is shown on the monitor. Sonic Mania Plus introduces a new lives system to gameplay. Instead of accumulating lives, characters themselves act as lives. If the character you are controlling dies, they will be lost and you’ll take control the next character waiting. If all your characters die, it’s game over.
Other new and improved features
Sonic Mania shipped with a two player competition mode where you race through campaign levels to be the first to the finish line. Sonic Mania Plus breaks the two player limit and ups it to four players. Playing with four players is truly a sight.
It’s a throw back to the days before online play and the screen is divided up into four. What is impressive is that even with four player split-screen, the action never misses a beat.
Furthermore, Time Trials now gives you the ability to save and playback replays. Gameplay options such as unlocking the Sonic CD peel-out dash are available, including for your saved games. And, last but certainly not least, you can turn of the time limits on stages.
Stunning collectible packaging
Not only is Sonic Mania Plus the best game in Sonic’s 25 plus year history, the physical packaging is a sight to be seen. You get a super sleek looking holographic box, a reversible retro Sega Genesis cover for your game, and a stunning 32-page art book.
Just take a look at my pictures below and I am sure you will agree, this will please any Sonic fan.
Sonic Mania Plus is one of, if not the best platform action games I’ve played in recent memory. It takes everything that made Sonic the Hedgehog a household name in the early to mid 90s and throws it all into one fantastic game filled with crisp HD 16-bit visuals, silky smooth animation, and an amazing use of colours.
While Sonic has had his ups and downs, Sonic Mania Plus is one of the franchises biggest highlights in its 25 plus year history.
+ Beautiful HD retro-inspired graphics
+ Excellent remixed audio tracks
+ Four-player split-screen competition mode is fun to play
+ Ray and Mighty are a welcomed addition and spice up gameplay
+ Reversible cover and art book are simply gorgeous
– Encore mode difficulty can spike quickly
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4.5/5
Overall Rating 4.5/5 (90%)
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Jon, don’t @ me, but I’ve NEVER liked Sonic…..
I love your reviews…..but Sonic?? No.
Wayne you never liked Sonic at all? I can totally appreciate people’s different tastes in games. Maybe one day you might give Sonic Mania Plus a try.
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