Sonic Mania Plus Review
The blue blur is back once again with the release of Sonic Mania Plus. Featuring new characters and stage layouts, is Sonic’s latest adventure worth double dipping for?
Sonic Mania Plus Review
Those who played through last year’s Sonic Mania will know what to expect here. The core mode will have Sonic or one of his furry friends run through a series of levels both old and new, collecting rings and destroying badniks along the way. A number of quality of life improvements have been made in Plus, with some sections changed completely. The added polish is greatly appreciated, and does not detract from the game in any way.
New to the game is its Encore Mode. In it, Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles will team up with Mighty the Armadillo and Ray the Flying Squirrel to race through a series of remixed levels. There’s a catch though – all five characters serve as your stock, with two characters out at any given time. Players can switch on the fly, and can use each one’s abilities to open paths, break spikes, use shield abilities, or fly around. It’s a novel concept, but it can be a crapshoot to get the character you want. Ray is also a dud of a character – his flying abilities are not conductive to the multi-tiered design that most acts feature.
Each stage in this mode features a different palette swap, but some are much better than others. The sunset hues of the Green Hill Zone are a welcome sight, but other areas like the Mirage Saloon Zone come across as garish. In addition, there are a number of questionable design choices rife with springs and spikes that can often make playthroughs feel a bit cheap. It feels like a different team worked on these levels, as they do not have the same care and attention to detail as Mania Mode proper.
Also included in this mode is a new pinball-themed special stage. In it, players will use flippers to knock each character into a crane game minigame to pick up captured characters, net shields, and boost your ring and continue count. There’s only one board, and though there are multiple tiers, it can get somewhat repetitive. When you have a wealth of continues and all of your characters, it makes no sense to jump in, especially because it takes so long to play.
It’s just a shame that more hasn’t been added to the game. A brief Angel Island Zone segment is included, but another Zone or two would have gone a long way. It’s not a dealbreaker (especially at its $4.99 price point), but it would have been greatly appreciated.
Sonic Mania Plus offers a number of quality of life improvements, but the Encore Mode features some questionable design decisions. Those looking for more Sonic could do far worse than this title, but don’t expect the extras to live up to the lofty standards set by Mania Mode.
Team Cherry transports players to a desolate land with the release of Hollow Knight: Voidheart Edition. Offering players exploration-heavy gameplay with an emphasis on experimentation, does the world