What goes around comes around. It’s an apt phrase to use when talking about Sonic Mania, given the blue blur’s passion for loop-the-loops. Some twenty-five years later, we’re back at the beginning once more with 2D pixel art Sonic game.
Why has it taken this long for SEGA to go back to basics and give oh-so loyal Sonic fans something they’ve long hankered for? We imagine the positive reception of Christian Whitehead’s 16-bit Sonic conversions were the catalyst, as the Australian programmer spearheads Sonic Mania’s development team, working alongside Headcannon and PagodaWest Games.
As many critics rightly state, this is a Sonic game for the fans by the fans – a love letter to the games so many grew up with. Not only this, but it may also be the greatest Sonic game of all time.
Not convinced? Take a look at some of the scores Sonic Mania has garnered:
‘Essential’ – Eurogamer: “1992 is alive and well. Christian Whitehead and team turn in a beautiful rewrite of the 16-bit Sonic games with all-new stages”
10/10 – The Sixth Axis: “Sonic Mania surpasses the Mega Drive/Genesis originals. It not only incorporates what made Sonic great, but has the inventiveness to shatter what was possible in a 2D platformer”
9.5 – The Jimquisition (video review): “Sonic Mania is a brilliantly staged celebration of the past that acts as a true sequel to the Genesis line of games”
93/100 – VentureBeat: “Sonic Mania isn’t just a great game for old Sonic fans. It’s a great game. This inspiration from the past should be Sonic’s future”
9/10 – The Metro: “A touching, and highly playable, a labour of love by fans that understand Sonic The Hedgehog better than Sega ever has in the last 20+ years”
9/10 – GameSpot: “An excellent 2D platformer, Sonic Mania goes beyond expectations, managing to be not only a proper evolution of the series’ iconic formula, but the best Sonic game ever made”
8.7 – IGN: “It truly is the classic throwback longtime series fans have been clamoring for, but there’s plenty to love here even if you didn’t grow up with a Genesis. Sonic Mania is a stellar example of a retro revival done right”
8.5 – GameInformer: “Sonic Mania succeeds in paying homage to the classic ’90s entries that so many fans remember fondly, and in the process delivers the best Sonic game in decades”
4/5 – US Gamer: “Sonic’s first true 2D, pixelated outing since 2004’s Sonic Advance 3 was well worth the wait”
8/10 – God is a Geek: “Sonic Mania is both fluid and fun, and reminds us all of what a Sonic game should be. This is a game by Sonic fans, for Sonic fans”
8/10 – Destructoid: “Sonic Mania is short but sweet. It even functions as a proper Sonic 4 if you don’t count the episodic Sonic 4 (remember that one?)”
7/10 – VideoGamer: “It took two decades and change, but a team of developers has shown they understand what made the old Sonic games great with Sonic Mania, even if nostalgia is sometimes too much of a driving force”
3/5 – Slant Magazine: “[What’s more], the development team’s tweaks to this level’s design, such as newly unexpected dead ends, ensures that one isn’t drearily reliving the good old days”
Sonic Mania is out 15th August on PS4, Xbox One and Switch. The PC version is due out 29th August.