After a delay or 2, Sega’s highly anticipated Sonic Mania will finally be releasing on August 15th, 2017.
Developed by a highly respected Sonic fan game community member Christian Whitehead, the game is a celebration of everything Classic Sonic. This week at E3 I got the chance to play the game and can easily say that this game has shot up my most anticipated list for 2017. Not only is this a great tribute and celebration to Classic Sonic, but just Sonic as a character in general. Let’s quit stalling and get into it!
The demo allows you to choose any of the 3 characters in the game: Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles. You also get the choice between Green Hill Zone Act 2 and the new Mirage Saloon Zone Act 2. I was able to try out both levels and loved both of them! The characters feel exactly how they felt in Sonic 3 + Knuckles. It’s as if they were ripped right out of the classic genesis games and placed directly into this new iteration. Of course the sprite work and animation for the characters look better than ever!
Mirage Saloon is the new zone in the demo and is really fun. You’ll be racing through sand loops that disintegrate when you run over them, jumping off swivel chairs in bar that propel you across the screen, and get shot out of a gun at high speed. There’s tons of alternate routes to take, and there are even some references cameos that are sprinkled throughout the level that reference some forgotten Sonic characters (see image above). Green Hill Zone 2 is also a great stage.
You don’t expect much since by now people have played through Green Hill Zone, but the difference here is that the layout is completely different! This is not the same Green Hill Zone from the Original Sonic. It’s completely different and feels great to re-experience an old zone with new life. even the music is different. The theme has a bit more synthetic/techno feel to it now and sounds wonderful still. The zone ends with a boss fight against Dr. Eggman in the Death Egg Robot. All you need to do is hit the top of the robot a couple of times, but it’s not exactly a walk in the park. Not only do you need to hit the top of his head, but you only have limited space to run away. Once you reach the ledge, you better hope you have one hit left because you might die the first couple of times trying to take him down.
At the end of the day, I can’t recommend Sonic Mania enough. This is the Sonic game that fans were hoping they’d get when Sonic 4 was originally announced. Everything from the physics, to the speed, and the sprites just feel right. both Modern and classic fans will find a good challenge with this game. Hopefully the game does well enough that maybe we can get a sequel? Only time will tell.