Sonic Mania

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WARNING: Do not add this game to the "Games that saved the franchise" category, because it didn't save the series whatsoever due to the game's overreliance on nostalgia, and the series' reputation went back to declining after the next installment was released. Anyone persisting with this will be dealt with.

Sonic Mania

"This is where it begins."

The announcement trailer
Protagonist(s): Sonic the Hedgehog
Miles "Tails" Prower
Knuckles the Echidna
Mighty the Armadillo (Plus)
Ray the Flying Squirrel (Plus)
Genre(s): Platform
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
Playstation 4
Xbox One
Microsoft Windows
Release Date: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
WW: August 15, 2017
JP: August 16, 2017

Microsoft Windows
WW: August 29, 2017
JP: August 30, 2017

Android, iOS
WW: May 7, 2024
Engine: Retro Engine (RSDKv5)
Developer(s): Christian Whitehead
PagodaWest Games
Tantalus Media (Switch)
Hyperkinetic Studios (Plus)
Publisher(s): Sega (Original version)
Netflix Games (Mobile version)
Country: Australia
United States
Series: Sonic the Hedgehog
Predecessor: Sonic Generations
Successor: Sonic Forces

Sonic Mania is a platform video game designed by Christian Whitehead, co-developed by PagodaWest Games and Headcannon, and published by Sega for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows.

The game was announced during the 25th anniversary of the Sonic the Hedgehog series, and is inspired by the classic Sega Genesis Sonic trilogy.

The game was later re-released as Sonic Mania Plus which featured two new playable characters, including Mighty the Armadillo and Ray the Flying Squirrel, four player split screen, and a new mode called Encore Mode. These new modes are also now available as a DLC for the original digital version, which is known as the Encore DLC.

Why We Have A Mania For This Ultimate Celebration of Past and Future

  1. Unlike the infamous Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode I, this game feels like a proper follow up to the classic Sonic games by bringing in some new stages and bringing back all Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles.
  2. Sega hired multiple fans of Sonic the Hedgehog who had made their own Sonic fan games, including Christian Whitehead, who created the mobile ports of Sonic 1, 2, and CD, to develop the game.
  3. The game has remastered old stages and brand new stages. The older stages especially have some new gimmicks that doesn't make the stages feel fully rehashed in the process.
  4. Amazing soundtrack by Tee Lopes and Hyper Potions.
  5. You can play as Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles, and they all play as they did in Sonic 3 & Knuckles.
    • Playing as Knuckles changes some aspects of the game (for example, some levels are changed in terms of design, and Knuckles has alternate bosses), which gives the game great replay value.
    • Mighty the Armadillo and Ray the Flying Squirrel, originally from SegaSonic the Hedgehog, make their triumphant return an update named Sonic Mania Plus, after two decades of absence (Ray's absence was 25 years long, while Mighty's appearance in Knuckles' Chaotix made his absence only 23 years long).
  6. The Drop Dash from the Sonic the Hedgehog 3 prototype build makes its first official appearance in a game.
  7. Gorgeous graphics which accurately represents the Genesis Sonic games graphics but also does many things the actual Genesis hardware couldn't for the sake of making animations smoother and the graphics cleaner. In a way, the game gives an idea of what a 2D Sonic game for the Sega Saturn could've looked like.
  8. The Elemental Shields are brought back, and the Combine Ring is back for the first time since Knuckles' Chaotix.
  9. There are plenty of references to Sega's history and even Sonic's own history in the game.
  10. Creative boss battles. Some of them are direct homages to Sonic bosses in past games and even spin-offs, for example, the Chemical Plant boss is literally a game of Mean Bean Machine, while the Hydrocity mini-boss is the boss of Hydrocity in Sonic 3 & Knuckles with the roles reversed. On that topic, this games has tons of different bosses.
  11. Awesome new and old special stages, which require you to catch UFO before time runs out by grabbing blue orbs to increase your speed and rings to increase your time limit. These are accessed by finding a giant ring hidden within the levels. Blue Spheres is back as an optional bonus stage.
  12. There was fan demand for the game to be released physically but the developers felt it would be expensive for such a simple game so they released a new DLC for the game and extra goodies such as an artbook that has behind the scenes stuff and a reversable cover that acts like a Genesis/Megadrive game.
  13. There is New Game+ in a sense; continuing a game from a Clear save will carry over your score from the end of the game, in addition to the usual Chaos Emeralds and a life counter.
    • Plus has Encore Mode. In addition to changing the level layouts and giving all of the levels a Palette Swap, Encore Mode introduces a brand new gimmick where instead of having Video-Game Lives, you can collect other party members and swap between on-screen characters instantly, as well as use power-ups to change playable characters in the middle of a stage. Encore Mode also features a brand new Bonus Stage and harder Special Stages (played in reverse order).

Bad Qualities

  1. The game suffered from some executive meddling:
    • It was going to consist entirely of original zones, but only has five of them due to Sega mandating that the developers incorporate some zones from the older games. (citation needed)
    • The official soundtrack lacks the music from Green Hill, Chemical Plant and Oil Ocean due to licensing issues with their original composer, Masato Nakamura.
    • Christian Whitehead revealed that the addition of Denuvo to the PC port was enforced by Sega. As of Plus, it can be assumed that this is a similar case as Denuvo is once again inside the game, albeit it's put in a bit more sloppily.
  2. The game relies too much on nostalgia, something that many Sonic games like Sonic Generations have already done before. Gamers who didn't grow up with the classic games are unlikely to get all the callbacks here and might even find them intrusive.
  3. Some of the transitions don't feel very consistent, and Little Planet is randomly involved in the plot with no prior context at the end.
  4. The blue sphere bonus rounds can get repetitive very quickly and a lot of them rely on trial-and-error. Also, the controls aren't as tight as they were in the stage's first appearance.
  5. Enemy placement can be really unfair at times and can cause many cheap deaths. But to be fair, it was the same for the previous games.
  6. The special stages control poorly, making it very easy to fall off and fail them, like Mania Mode's third special stage and especially Encore Mode's seventh special stage, as the UFO is really hard to catch.
  7. There are no tutorials or extra control guides for additional controls for characters like Ray the Flying Squirrel.
  8. The Special Stages 4, 5, and 6 are noticeable difficulty spikes, while Special Stage 7 is an inverted spike and not as large and hazard-heavy as Special Stage 6 and can be easily cleared without reaching Mach 3.
    • The Encore Special Stages are a big step up from the old ones; in addition to the stages being played backwards and having overall trickier object placement, the UFO starts with a huge head-start over you and generally moves faster. This forces you to go Mach 3 to have a chance to catch it without running out of Rings, which itself is problematic.
  9. The Encore DLC was a little rushed, evident by the fact that the Encore Mode levels weren't made with Ray in mind, in adition, Mighty's super form's color palette is broken.
    • Some other examples might include the anticlimactic endings (yes, even the good one), no new zones, Egg Reverie Zone being absent from Encore mode entirely, some unpolished sprites and a Special Stage cheat that was clearly meant for testing.
  10. The mobile version on Netflix, while not bad, is severely flawed for various reasons.
    • Most people pointed out that it appears that this version is incompatible with most devices, despite them being able to download the game through third party websites and apps, and it manages to run. However, this was due to another thing that is pointed out down below.
    • The version suffers from poor optimization, as it often suffers from slowdowns, and while they're not as bad as Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis, it's still annoying.


When first revealed during Sonic's 25th anniversary, Sonic Mania was very well received by a large amount fans of the series, which had gone through a three-year hiatus after the critically panned Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric. Ever since the first reveal there was a massive debate between fans whether the game was a nostalgia-filled cash-grab or a genuinely new game that the franchise needs.

When the game was released it received very strong positive reception both by most fans and critics. The game was praised for staying loyal to how the classic games played while still feeling like a new concept, but was also criticized for having more old levels than new ones. People who pre-ordered the Switch version of the game leaked it before the game's release.

The PC version was delayed because Sega had to add in a DRM called Denuvo, an anti-tampering software. While it makes the game harder to crack, it also means you have to be connected to the Internet to play the game, this is a bug actually (despite Sega saying this is unrelated to Denuvo). This caused a lot of backlash from the fans. Sega eventually fixed this issue, and now players can play offline.

The success of the game led to its own series Sonic Mania Adventures which takes place after the events of Sonic Mania and Forces which was met with a mixed reception by critics, but positive reception by audiences.



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