NINETIES kids rejoice! Sonic is back in all his 16-bit glory in “Sonic Mania”. In the past, SEGA continued to produce a number of Sonic titles in an attempt to extend the iconic mascot’s shelf life from releases on the Dreamcast to the Nintendo Wii. While the premise was there, Sega failed to rekindle the nostalgia and magic that Sonic created for so many gamers out there time and time again. Somewhere along the line, Sega lost sight of what fans wanted and a decision was made to bring the Sonic franchise back to where it all began. Sega made a commercial decision to give the fans what they wanted and allow massive sonic fanatics Christian Whitehead and studios Headcannon and PagodaWest games to take lead on Sonic Mania.
From the very start, players are treated to beautifully crafted 2-d graphics and a rather catchy 90s style opening track…. and that was it - I was hooked. I have played many Sonic titles throughout the years, none capable of matching any of the original games produced for the Sega Mega Drive - until now. Sonic Mania is not just a trip down memory lane, it’s an instant classic. Developers have hit the nail on the head with this one by exceeding everyone’s expectations (including my own) by remaining faithful to Sonics origins on the Mega Drive yet creating a new adventure with an organic crossover.
The story follows series veterans Sonic, Knuckles and Tails as they once again set out to defeat the evil Dr Egg man over a mysterious emerald artefact. Sonic Mania has a total of 12 zones to explore, each one meticulously crafted to deliver beautiful level design to keep your eyes entertained as you whizz through a multitude of tunnels and pathways at exhilarating speeds.
Take a trip back in time as you travel through familiar settings that have adopted new paths and trails as you re-explore classic areas such as Green Hill Zone and Chemical Plant Zone.
Visually, Sonic has never looked so good. Every aspect of the game’s display has the look and feel of a classic Mega Drive game with the added bonus of the stronger detail and animation quality capable of being produced in 2017.
Controls remain true to the original game, eradicating some problems with previous incarnations which made Sonic feel sluggish at times.
The difficulty level in boss fights has been ramped up, with gamers now required to produce a lot more skill to overcome their foes – a welcome change to some of the more simplistic battles we previously encountered on the Mega Drive.
Overall, Sonic Mania has managed to seamlessly modernise the classic adventure of the 90s. It integrates everything we loved about the classic adventure from years gone by while adding new features and upgrades to make it relevant again in 2017. This is definitely a hard one to put down.
Sonic mania is available for download on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC for €19.99