Sonic Mania is a side-scrolling platform game developed by Pagoda West Games and Headcannon and published by Sega for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows. It was announced in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Sonic the Hedgehog series, and was released worldwide in August 2017.
Sonic Mania is a sprite-based side-scrolling platform game in the style of the early Sonic Gamesgames released for the Sega Genesis. Players select one of three playable characters, each with their own unique abilities. Sonic can perform a “drop dash” which sends him rolling in a dash after a jump, Tails can fly and swim,and Knuckles can glide and climb walls. As with Sonic the Hedgehog 2, players can either play as Sonic and Tails simultaneously, or allow Tails to be independently controlled by a second player. The game features unlockable gameplay modifiers, including the option to use Sonic’s abilities from Sonic CD and Sonic the Hedgehog 3 in place of the drop dash, and “& Knuckles” mode, which allows simultaneous control of any character and Knuckles.
Sonic Mania takes place over twelve levels, called zones; the game features eight “remixed” zones from past games, such as Green Hill Zone from the original Sonic the Hedgehog, alongside four original zones.Each zone is divided into two acts, in which the player must guide their character past various enemies and obstacles to reach the end. At the end of each act, the player takes part in a boss battle against Doctor Eggman or one of his robots, including the Hard-Boiled Heavies, elite henchmen based on the Eggrobo enemies from Sonic & Knuckles.Similar to Sonic & Knuckles, the game’s story is told via short in-game cutscenes at the end of some acts.Scattered around acts are golden rings, which serve as a form of health; players survive hits as long as they have at least one ring, but their rings will scatter and disappear after a short period of time. Television monitors containing rings, elemental shields, or power-ups such as invincibility and faster running speed are scattered throughout each level.
Giant rings hidden in each act, a feature of the original games, lead to pseudo-3D special stages similar to those in Sonic CD. In the stages, players dodge obstacles and collect colored spheres to increase their speed, allowing them to pursue a UFO carrying a Chaos Emerald; collecting all seven Chaos Emeralds allows players to use their character’s super transformation and unlocks the game’s true ending.Players’ ring counters slowly decrease during special stages and must be continually replenished; if the player runs out of rings before they catch the UFO, the special stage ends. The “Blue Sphere” bonus stages from Sonic the Hedgehog 3 also return, accessed by entering a portal that appears when the player passes a checkpoint while carrying 25 or more rings. Completing bonus stages earns the player a silver or gold medal depending on their performance; collecting medals unlocks features such as a debug mode and sound test.In the time attack mode, players must complete levels as quickly as possible, with the best times included on an online leaderboard;players can instantly reload a level to restart a stage and try again at any time.A split-screen competitive multiplayer mode allows two players to race to the end of a level, similar to those of Sonic the Hedgehog 2.Players can also unlock “Mean Bean”, a two-player minigame based on the 1993 spinoff game Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine.