Let it be known that 2017 was the year of exciting comebacks. After Crash Bandicoot showed us that the old dog (er, bandicoot) still has what it takes to cause a storm, along comes Sonic, who has created a sonic boom the likes of which we have never seen before.
Sonic Mania is a blast from the
past and the future. You speed through zones that are familiar from an era when
Sonic games were cool.
The game is great because it strips Sonic down to his bare roots. His games are about building momentum and maintaining it through great platforming. When you first play through a zone, chances are you will fall into traps, lose rings, drown, or suddenly hit a rock or wall. The fun is learning the zone's layout until it becomes second nature that you blaze through obstacles with ease.
Sonic Generations, which was Sega's own attempt to return Sonic to his nostalgic roots, was kind of iffy. There were too many obstacles that forced Sonic to make slow and painful detours. This made the physics feel so much worse than they initially were.
Sonic Mania's stages, on the
other hand, feel natural and wild. You can run as fast as you can to get across
obstacles and platforms. If you've played the stages multiple times and come to
know them by heart, you can speed through them in seconds. But even if you
don't know the layout of a level, the geography makes sure you don't lose
momentum while entering different areas.
The story behindÃÂÃ Sonic Mania isn't like your typical corporate order from Sega. Over the years, Sonic has drawn a massive fan base. Among these fans were programmers and developers who made their own fan made Sonic games. Sega hired some of these fans to make an official Sonic game.ÃÂÃDue to his strong following, Sonic became so big that he went out of Sega's own hands. This should be a trend among other developers: contact people who create excellent fan-made games and get them to make your titles for you. I can name so many franchises that could use this kind of treatment: Breath of Fire, Lunar, Mega Man, Castlevania, Suikoden, Wild Arms, Legacy of Kain, and Soul Reaver, just to name a few.
The fault I find in Sonic Mania is they stuffed it with so much nostalgia. In the Green Hill zones, you get five bonus stages from different Sonic games. It's not terrible, but after getting through the things Sonic fans loved about the series, it would be nice to get more new content to balance out the old.Sonic Mania dazzles with speed and is a comeback to a franchise which was sorely missed.