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Game Review

For years, my family was a Sega Genesis household. That classic legacy console's button-crunchers were great let's-have-fun-together touchpoints for me and my kids. And Sonic the Hedgehog ruled supreme. That superspeedy, 16-bit, blue guy performed his sidescrolling loop de loops and spikey platform jumps to the joy of all our controller-clutching kids.

Now, twenty-some years after his first appearance, the gamemakers at Sega have created a new collection of running, jumping, flying and spindashing challenges for Sonic and his sidekicks. They're back once more to keep the gadget-minded Dr. Eggman from world domination.

But have the years been kind? Are there more problematic pitfalls in this 21st-century version of the speedy hero's world?

The short answer is … nope.

The New Supersonic

Like Sonic titles from the past, this new, high-def version—designed for latest-gen PS4, Xbox One and Switch consoles—sticks almost slavishly to the look, feel and fun of the franchise. And that's a good thing.

The story is as simple as it's ever been. The fiendish and wickedly mustachioed Dr. Eggman is back once again to steal away with a collection of powerful Chaos Emeralds. And it's up to Sonic—who teams up with his multi-tailed buddy Tails the Fox and part-time enemy Knuckles the Echidna—to run through trap-filled platform obstacle courses and snatch those Emeralds back from the eggy baddy and his mechanized constructs.

For those who have never played a Sonic game, it's pretty much a classic platformer with a few additions. First, you've got Sonic's ability to spin his way up to a sense of barely controlled velocity. With this spin-like-a-Tasmanian-devil skill, he can launch himself up ramps and through blockades. He can also find creative ways past, through or over the obstacles in front of him. But Sonic does have one new ability this time around, and it's called the Drop Dash. This move lets our blue guy drop out of a jump and immediately rev up into a full run when he hits the ground.

Sonic has always collected gold rings as he runs and jumps. And that's true again here. He starts out with a certain pool of lives—because like every other platformer out there, you're expected to fail at some challenges, bouncing off the screen to reappear at a previous checkpoint. Collecting 100 gold rings can earn another life. Hitting a robotic foe or collection of spikes the wrong way can cause all that precious metal to explode out of your pockets and bounce around the stage.

Taking It to the Next Level

Then, of course, there are the myriad levels you speed through and the level-ending bosses you confront at the end of each one. And these are areas where Sonic Mania excels.

You'll encounter lots of classic-looking zones and special stages from the past—such as the Stardust Speedway and the Chemical Plant—that are graphically upgraded and decked out with new tricks, gimmicks and goopy challenges. And plenty of new areas offer Sonic more fun spins and twirls, too. Players race through the glittering, neon-lit Studiopolis, for instance, a Sonic-styled take on a movie studio lot.

As you might expect, boss battles require a variety of approaches and strategies to succeed. They involve explosives, electric zaps and the like. But in spite of these engaging surprises and spinning robotic behemoths, there's nothing here that should be overly frustrating or troublesome for younger gamers.

Ultimately then, Sonic Mania simply transports Sega fans, young and old, back to a snazzy reimagining of the nostalgic games they may recall from a bygone era. It's Sonic like you remember him, only more: bigger, faster, flamboyant-er.

And fortunately, it's free of any updated content banana peels that might trip up all that high-speed, harum-scarum fun.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

E

Readability Age Range

Author

Cast

Director

Distributor

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

Publisher

Sega

Released

August 15, 2017

On Video

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Bob Hoose

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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