Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"


Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

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

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


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range







Record Label


Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC




August 15, 2017

On Video

Year Published



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.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!