PLEASE NOTE: KINDLY USE SPOILER TAGS TO DISCUSS CONTENT NOT OFFICIALLY REVEALED - USE THE EXISTING LEAK THREAD WHERE APPROPRIATE
SONIC MANIA & Knuckles
Platforms: Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
Developed by: PagodaWest Games in collaboration with Christian Whitehead, Headcannon, Tantalus, SEGA, Sonic Team and a number of amazing freelancers
Published by: SEGA
Price: $19.99/£15.99 on consoles, $17.99/£14.99 on PC
Release date: August 15th 2017 (consoles), August 29th 2017 (PC) (sorry)
A long time ago, there existed a brave little rabbit hedgehog, who like all good people just wanted a quiet, way past cool life, but wasn't going to prioritise that above bringing the hurt down on a ego-maniacal bane of nature going around enslaving the animals of Mobius South Island in robotic armour. This hedgehog was special in a number of ways. Firstly, he was kind of like a person, which is weird when all the other animals in the first game were just critters, like at least they explained Crash Bandicoot was an experiment, what the hell is Sonic meant to b- anyway. Secondly, he is-
- rather fast. This meant he could run round loops, roll down hills and cannonball through hordes of Badniks, turning them to dust before they can even circumvent the laws of robotics.
And this was fun. The levels were designed so failure to platform isn't necessarily punished, you're just dropped to an alternate route to explore. Maybe that route has some extra lives or some shields or just a chilli-dog-truck-load of rings to collect. Maybe it even has a special stage entrance or a Metal Sonic hologram or a weird angel statue. And the thrill of buzzing around a loop, building up that amazing sense of speed, moments like Chemical Plant Zone where Sonic threatened to rip out of the side of your telly - it wasn't just a good way of showing up a certain Italian-Japanese rival, it was - is - a damn good time.
And then a lot of other stuff happened.
The tale of Taxman and Stealth has been told a bunch now - I think Kotaku's brief history of Sonic fan games would get anyone up to speed - but basically their work both building a modern game engine versatile enough for a variety of platforms, and then perfecting the physics of Mega Drive Sonic across years of fan games, led to them getting the opportunity to bring Sonic The Hedgehog CD to a wider audience in 2011. The port - well, remake really - is flawless, building the game from the ground-up and embracing of the freedom of their own code to do things like add a playable Tails. That work led to the twosome giving Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 the same treatment for mobile, bringing enhancements like Knuckles' first official appearance in the first Sonic and a cancelled level erected from the ashes in Sonic 2's Hidden Palace Zone.
Sonic The Hedgehog
Sonic. He can really move. Sonic. He's got an attitude. Don't doubt what he can do, yeah? Mania features the debut of his Drop Dash, which lets him drop... to the floor from mid-air and... dash, instantly. Finally he's almost as cool as Knuckles.
Miles "Tails" Prower
He can fly! And also carry Sonic, so you should just go Sonic + Tails and get speed and the opportunity to cheese every level! No word yet on whether he will sabotage Special Stages runs.
Knuckles The Echidna
With the great Emerald's power - wait, hang on, that hasn't happened yet. With his own internal strength, Knux can glide through the air, climb up walls and chuckle with youthful abandon.
Sonic Mania features reportedly a "quite large"
I know the exact number but spoilers and that
- Green Hill Zone
- Chemical Plant Zone
- Stardust Speedway
- Flying Battery Zone
- Studiopolis Zone
- Mirage Saloon Zone
Note that the classic stages only take the aesthetic of the original, and for Act 1 at least some of the familiar level design - for all intents and purposes these are also brand new levels. Many incorporating elements normally seen in other levels or even other games, such as good old GHZ having prominent Fire Shield use. So even if you're concerned the amount of "new" in this game is low, well, you're wrong! The good kind of wrong!
- Studiopolis Zone Act 1
- Theme of the Hard-Boiled Heavies
- Stardust Speedway Zone Act 1
- Special Stage (Dimension Heist)
On top of that, there's also bonus stages based on Sonic 3 & Knuckles' "Blue Sphere" special stages, a two-player competition mode, time attacks, and even a gnarly CRT filter for if you're the worst.
Thanks for reading, everyone. I am so incredibly excited for this game, and it really does feel like it's been a long time coming, between the crazy work of the fan community all these years to the re-emergence of Sonic's classic form and aesthetic since 2011. Please go support this game every way you can if you want to see more!
Thanks to Guess Who for the improved banners!