Sonic Mania gameplay video shows off retro remix

The upcoming Sonic Mania [official site] is a fascinating idea: an official Sonic game in the ’90s Sonic style, made by fans from the Sonic community out of bits of old Sonic games and some new parts of their own. Unexpected! You can see how that’s coming on in a new five-minute commentated gameplay video, which whizzes through Mania’s reworked Green Hill Zone to show off new areas, new style, and new abilities. See:

We watch a familiar level become unfamiliar, spy some nice added background detail, witness the beating of one boss, see Sonic’s flame shield torch those gittish rotating spike bridges, and hear about Sonic’s new Drop Dash move which, if he doesn’t have a shield active, “allows him to Spin Dash as soon as he hits the ground following a jump.”

Sonic Mania builds on Sonic, Sonic 2, Sonic 3 & Knuckles, and Sonic CD by taking bits and pieces from each and putting them together in new ways, complete with new stages and enemies of the devs’ own creation. It’s kinda old Sonic, but not. And now runs at 60fps too.

How much do I want a new Sonic? I don’t know. I see speed and colours and exciting backdrops and I want it. Then I look away and memories of garbage like Sonic 2006 and Sonic Boom come back, and I wonder if Sega have managed to ruin the idea of Sonic for me. Then I look back and ah, I want to believe in Sonic Mania.

The game is due out some time this spring. It’s made by PagodaWest Games with Christian Whitehead and Headcannon. Those last two chaps are long-time chums of Sonic, having made fangames and sanctioned remakes before. Sega letting them make an official new Sonic is pretty dang neat.


  1. thekelvingreen says:

    Sonic never managed to make it into 3d like Mario did, and Sonic 2 is still the best game in the series — yes it is, and I will fight you — so there is some sense in going back to the series’ roots. It’s not retro for retro’s sake, but instead going back to what worked.

    • ColonelFlanders says:

      Sonic 3 fan here, so: put ’em up squire, for I shall boff you into submission! Pip-Ho!!

    • kanetsuhebi says:

      Sonic 2 has two major flaws to be considered the best against Sonic 3:
      1- the lack of save states;
      2- can’t choose when to transform into Super Sonic.

      And Sonic 3 introduced a lot of mechanics that made the game more enjoyable and replayable.

    • dirtrobot says:

      Was Sonic Adventure 4D then? ;)

  2. fuggles says:

    Ironically I think because sonic is too fast. This seems to have lead to auto aim, fishing, guns and random crap or very extended rube Goldberg machines where you hold forward. methodically exploring a world suits Mario more than sonic.

    That said, i like the approach of supporting fans – streets of rage remake next?

    • Premium User Badge

      IronPirate says:

      There already was a SoR PC fan remake. It was really good but sadly Sega sent the makers a cease and desist so it is no longer available legally.

      Pretty shitty move by Sega particularly as the developers asked permission from Sega before they started the project but got no reply ubtil after the project was finished and released.

      • gou says:

        not really, they waited until after the release before they served notice, knowing that they had done their job, but it was too late to stop the mirrors.

      • Andy_Panthro says:

        The fan-made SOR remake is good, but a proper new (3D?) brawler would be nice. Whoever makes the Batman games (Rocksteady?) could probably make something good.

  3. Silent_Thunder says:

    Me and some friends saw the reveal of this live on twitch at that sonic anniversary party.

    If you have a group of friends and want to kill an afternoon, you should watch it. It was such a fantastic disaster from every conceivable angle. The audio kept failing, their Q&A panel didn’t even have a big enough table for their guests, they had a live rock concert of the bland forgettable late era sonic music, one of their gameplay previews was literally shoving a camera into the screen on a 3ds, and that poor Totinos shill looked morbidly depressed at the fact the had to present Totinos Stuffed Nachos as the necter of the gods. It was mesmerizing in it’s absurdity.

    Or just watch one of the supercuts that people have made, like Jim Sterling. Probably safer for your sanity to reduce it to 15 min or so.

  4. Turkey says:

    I still can’t believe Shadow the Hedgehog is a real character.

  5. Andy_Panthro says:

    This actually looks really good, very Sonic 2/3 like. I’m impressed.

    The biggest problem with Sonic is not so much remembering why people liked it and recreating that, but rather where you go forward. You can’t just keep making Sonic games that hark back to the Megadrive era, can you?

    • ColonelFlanders says:

      Yes, yes you can. As a long time Sonic fan, and as soneone who was old enough to appreciate their greatness the first time around, this game was the Sonic 4 we all asked for, and the one we never got.

  6. ColonelFlanders says:

    As a self-admitted 2D Sonic fanboy, I am willing to overlook the fucking awful transgressions of the Sonic Team over the last ten years, and embrace this gorgeous beauty as the Sonic 4 I always wanted.

    I always appreciated that the ST really did try to bring something fresh to Sonic with their modern iterations, but unfortunately they were either out of touch with fans, the games, or both. Every modern Sonic game smells of this weird desperation, that of a team of people who have basically forgotten in the mire of difficult development, WHAT SONIC IS ABOUT. You don’t need to be going at mach 5 to FEEL like you’re going fast, you just need a couple of springs in the right places. You don’t need massive sprawling levels to FEEL like you’re exploring, just a bit of level design and a few interleaving paths.

    Oh, and most important of all: MAKE HIS JUMP FEEL THE SAME. Then you have the makings of the modern classic people want. There’s nothing wrong woth harking back to the Mega Drive design of the games when they were so successful. I still boot up the old Sonic games all the time, and the gameplay doesn’t feel old, or dated, or reminiscent of old-school game design. It was a perfect moment in time and doesn’t need changing.

  7. Shazbut says:

    Was Sonic ever that good? The design is fundamentally flawed. It’s all about speed but you can’t go fast and see where you’re going or react to enemies.

    Alright, alright, I’m leaving

    • GeoX says:

      You are correct, sir or madame. The first level of the classic Sonic games, where you can feasibly go fast, is always fun. But in later levels, you just CAN’T go fast and survive, so they’re dull slogs.

    • Xocrates says:

      That way of thinking is what made Sonic games get worse.

      Sonic was fast, sure, but the games weren’t about being fast, at most they were about keeping flow.
      For the most part the sonic games were simply very solid platformers, and they kept a balance between “fast” sections, precision platforming, and mini-puzzles.

      The always fast, all the time is a more recent development.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      Sonic was never fast, Sonic was about keeping moving. There were very few blind jumps and loops in the older ones.

    • Marclev says:

      The design is fundamentally flawed. It’s all about speed but you can’t go fast and see where you’re going or react to enemies.

      Not really. The “it’s all about speed” is a retcon. The original games were much more about methodical exploration than just running everywhere (an approach that would in fact get you killed more often than not as, as you quite rightly pointed out, you couldn’t see where you were going!).

    • RichUncleSkeleton says:

      Sonic was early 90’s good. It wasn’t “transcendent gaming brilliance” good like the best Mario’s. For that reason I’m not really that excited about this. If I want to play Sonic 2 or 3, I can just play Sonic 2 or 3. At least think up some new level themes. How many thousands of variations of Green Hill Zone do we really need? How about a Red Hill Zone? There must be a Red Hill somewhere in Sonicland.

    • Rivalus says:

      Actually I have to disagree about Sonic games only good for speed in first zone. You need to try Sonic Advance 2, it can blaze the zones wothout the need to slow down. And, I think it’s one of the Sonic game that get overlooked. Sadly, Sonic Advance 3 slow down the pace by making it a team up. And, don’t even try to play Sonic Advance 1, too many spike ending your run.