Sonic Mania (XBOX One) Review
Game Name: Sonia Mania
Developer: Headcannon, PagodaWest Games
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, XBOX One and Microsoft Windows
Release Date: August 15th, 2017 (XBOX One)
I grew up as a Sega Genesis kid. Most of my friends had Super Nintendo's. I was different. So the only real exposure that I had to the games on the platform was when I would rent these games at my local video store. I was a huge Sonic the Hedgehog fan growing up. I never really thought that it was competition to Super Mario. I just thought that Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 were very fun games. I always loved the level design and the music.
Through the years there have been other Sonic games but, without saying that they were not good, I think it is safe to say that they were not at the same level of quality as the original games. Where Super Mario managed to reinvent itself through the years, Sonic tried to do the same and the fans just did not follow. I remember playing Sonic Unleashed and that was not a good game by any means. So it is nice and refreshing to see a game that was created in the spirit of the original.
Let us see how it plays and how it measures up to its predecessors.
Right off the bat it starts with the sound that any Sega Genesis fan is used to. The "SEGA" sound when first loading the game. That alone brings the fans back to when Pearl Jam was number one on the charts.
The theme song as you would expect is new but old at the same time. It has that old 16 bit sound which is awesome.
Every level, like the original has its own unique soundtrack. They really knocked it out of the park with the music in this game. It really feels like you are playing a sonic game and although some parts of the game were challenging, I loved replaying some parts because of the music. Below you can find the soundtrack for Sonia Mania.
Now that we got the sound and music out of the way, is the game itself any good? The quick answer to this is yes. Let me start by listing the different zones in the game.
List of Zones
Green Hill Zone
Chemical Plant Zone
Flying Battery Zone
Press Garden Zone
Stardust Speedway Zone
Mirage Saloon Zone
Oil Ocean Zone
Lava Reef Zone
Metallic Madness Zone
Titanic Monarch Zone
Egg Reverie Zone
As you can see, some of the levels may seem familiar to you. That is normal, as some of these levels were reimagined from previous Sonic games. For example, the first zone which is a throwback to the first ever level in a Sonic game. At first, you start and you think that it is the same as your remembered. However the further that you get into the level, the more you notice little changes. I could have played the original Green Hill Zone with my eyes closed. Although the first level is not hard by any stretch of the imagination, it has a good balance of nostalgia and new twists and turns.
I will admit, I have not fully completed the game yet. I am at Mirage Saloon Zone. So I can say that so far, the gameplay is exactly how I imagined it. There are parts of the game where you can get a little stuck for a while as you are wondering what you are supposed to be doing. That is fine, it challenges you to find a solution. It is a puzzle that needs solving.
I will admit that sometimes with other games, I am tempted to see how to get through a level or stage. Every gamer does it. If you say that you do not, you are lying!!! ;) However, I have made it a point to not look at other gameplay so that I can fully enjoy what Sonia Mania has to offer. Below is sample gameplay from Mike Matei from Cinemassacre. He has finished the game.
Sample Gameplay Sonic Mania (Part 1) (Curtesy of Cinemassacre)
I did not have the chance to record my playthrough yet. :(
So, I will try to refrain from using the nostalgia part as why I am a fan of this game. On its own, if I remove the sonic characters, would the game still hold up? I think that it would. Yes, fans of the franchise have been wanting this kind of game for many years now. So, Sonic does have its appeal. However, the game itself is pretty solid. From the music to the 16 bit style graphics, this game has something for everyone. It can get challenging at times and that is why some of us liked the original. However there are levels that are just fun to play and discover the stage.
On the Switch version of the game there is a level selector by pressing the B + Y. It seems that as of right now, this is not available on the XBOX and Playstation versions of the game. That would be awesome. The reason being if that if you are stuck on a stage for a while, you can go to another one and get back to it later.
I think that this game will being in the old fans but will also bring new fans to the mix. They have the potential to create something special here with the franchise. We shall see if the next game, if there is one, will have all fresh new levels. I know something for sure, I t will keep this on my XBOX One hard drive and will go back to it periodically. Since, I do not have the Nintendo Switch and cannot play Super Mario, this would be the next best thing.
Rating: 9.5 Turbo spins out of 10
What do you think? Let me know.