Sonic the Hedgehog has gone through a bit of rough patch over the years. Many of the modern era titles in the franchise have been slammed by critics and users alike. The most recent Sonic titles, however, have seen the franchise return to form by going to its 2D platformer roots. Sonic Mania Plus, is easily one of the best Sonic games in decades and is a must buy should you enjoy platformer games.
In Sonic Mania Plus, gamers will be introduced to two new characters, Mighty and Ray. If you’ve played Sonic Mania previously, Sonic Mania Plus introduces two new characters and a different way to play the game. In Sonic Mania, Sonic was thrust into a dimensional time warping adventure as Eggman uses a chaos emerald to wreak havoc across various zones. In Sonic Mania Plus, the same thing happens again but with a larger focus on Co-operative gameplay.
Players are now able to actively switch between two characters on the screen whenever they want to. What this means is that you can use each specific character’s special ability to get through a level in new ways that previously were not possible in the base Sonic Mania game. If you ever played Sonic 3 and then combined the game cartridge with Sonic and Knuckles, Sonic Mania Plus is essentially that. It brings new characters and new mechanics to an old game and spices it up just enough to keep you entertained for hours on end once more. The levels have also undergone some changes and have been “remixed” to keep things fresh.
Mighty’s ability to jump smash is welcome and helps with dispatching enemies. Ray’s ability to glide is incredibly useful for traversing large gaps. Knuckles also joins the fray and fans of this character will be glad to see him featuring in the game since his mechanics work really well too. Gameplay is slightly different from the base game since the new characters have abilities that are different from Sonic’s own abilities in the base game. Additionally, gone are the extra lives and instead, these have been replaced by each playable character that joins your party. This does, however, increase the difficulty somewhat since you can’t stack up multiple lives as with the base game.
The mini-game that checkpoint posts trigger is also different this time around and is effectively a pinball game. Fans of Sonic Pinball will enjoy this but it’s not as iconic as the Blue Spheres mini-game found in the base Sonic Mania game.
The soundtrack is still just as great as ever and the level designs are also as amazing as they were the first time around. The additional characters being able to traverse levels in different ways opens up new possibilities and makes the game far more enjoyable than ever before. The brand new competition mode also offers a fresh take on competitive gameplay and is worth giving a bash with friends should you be so inclined.
Overall, Sonic Mania Plus is a great update to an already exceptionally good 2D platforming title. If you are a fan of Sonic or 2D platformers in general, Sonic Mania Plus is a must buy. If you already own Sonic Mania, be sure to download the free update and dive right back into it to play the Plus features.