Sonic Mania Review Roundup
Does Mania finally break the Sonic Cycle?
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The first of this year's two Sonic games, Sonic Mania, is available for PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One (the PC version, however, has been delayed to August 29). Unlike the hedgehog's recent adventures, Mania turns back the clock to his glory days, mimicking the look and feel of Sonic's iconic Genesis outings while shedding the excess characters, gimmicks, and other baggage his series has accumulated over the years.
Reviews for Sonic Mania have begun appearing online, and judging by the game's critical reception thus far, it looks to be the return to form that Sonic fans have been eagerly anticipating. GameSpot critic Matt Espineli said it "exceeds expectations of what a new game in the franchise can look and play like" and called the game a "charming celebration of the past and a natural progression of the series' classic 2D formula." We've collected a sampling of other Sonic Mania reviews and their accompanying scores below; for a broader look at the game's critical reception, head over to GameSpot's sister site Metacritic.
- Game: Sonic Mania
- Publisher: Sega
- Platforms: PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PC
- Release date: August 15 / August 29 (PC)
- Price: $20/£16
GameSpot -- 9/10
"For years the Sonic series has chased the legacy of its early games, constantly delivering experiences that either came close or failed to recapture the spirit that made them classics. Whether it was by getting wrapped up in story or putting too much emphasis on speed instead of level design, the newer games lost track of what made the originals great. Sonic Mania methodically uses its sentimental appeal to great effect, but in the process, it heals the wounds inflicted by its most disappointing predecessors and surpasses the series' best with its smart and interpretive design. 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." -- Matt Espineli [Full review]
IGN -- 8.7/10
"Still, even when Sonic Mania stumbles a bit, it's only on little speedbumps in the road. For every issue I had, it didn't take long before I was enjoying myself again, eagerly anticipating what sort of wacky wonders the game would throw at me next. 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." -- Heidi Kemps [Full review]
Eurogamer -- Essential
"Mania takes everything that was memorable about Sega's pioneering 2D platformers--that joy in momentum always teetering on the brink of disaster, the deranged magnificence of those levels, the mournful bassnote as poor, faithful Tails stampedes into all the traps you've just triggered in passing--and rejuvenates it, to the point where you can only put down the pad in astonishment. Sonic the Hedgehog happened, everybody. He's supposed to be all washed up--gaming's Birdman, a balding, leather-jacketed C-lister they wheel on whenever some Mario crossover finds itself short on backing characters. How the hell is this possible? It's possible because for a small group of dedicated aficionados, the blue blur's halcyon period never ended. What's old has become new, and Sonic is once again the star he was supposed to be." -- Edwin Evans-Thirlwell [Full review]
Polygon -- 7/10
"Sonic Mania is forcing me to use one of the most forbidden cliches in a reviewer's lexicon. The mileage you get out of it will depend significantly on what you want it to be. As a synthesis and expression of a specific era of Sonic, Sonic Mania is devout toward its inspiration, for devout fans of Sega's beleaguered mascot. If more of what Sonic is what you want, then this is very much that, but more, and bigger, and faster. But for me, as someone with fond memories but key criticisms, Sonic Mania seems content to paint over some of the series' problems rather than fix them, making for a game that falls a little short of what might have been." -- Arthur Gies [Full review]
US Gamer -- 4/5
"During its best moments, Sonic Mania feels like a Sonic fan's dream game. Now that that dream is fulfilled, maybe it's time for a new dream. Like an ideal, hypothetical Sonic 5 in the vein of Mania where we get only new levels thrown into the mix, instead of mostly remixes." -- Caty McCarthy [Full review]
Game Informer -- 8.5/10
"A return to the series' roots in every sense, Sonic Mania is a joyful reminder why the franchise became such a hit in the first place. Though it's content with reliving past glories, it does so exceptionally well. Exciting level design, a stellar soundtrack, and cool expansions on the original formula work in one accord to deliver the Sonic game fans have been waiting for." -- Brian Shea [Full review]