Another late-to-the-party reflection, this time on Sonic Mania Plus.
I beat the game, got all the Chaos Emeralds, and right now I’m going what I did way back with Sonic 3 and Knuckles: beat the game with every combination of characters (all CE’s, of course). So obviously, I really enjoy the game. The level design is mostly great (I love the long levels, despite the opinions of some), excellent controls, good stuff. It is certainly a love letter to guys like me, who played not just Sonic 1-3 and Knuckles, but the Game Gear Sonic Games, Sonic Spinball, Sonic CD, Knuckles Chaotix, and Sonic 3D Blast. I didn’t play the Sonic isometric arcade game, but I was very aware of it as an EGM reader. Anyway, tons of references, and that’s great too. The creator clearly loves these games, so I enjoyed sharing that mutual love as I played.
But, there are two things that really hold this game back.
One, there aren’t enough new level mechanics: the vast majority are recycled from the old Sonic games. On many occasions, I had a been-there-done-that feeling which went against that feeling I had when I first played a new Sonic game.
Second - and I know I’m in the vast minority here - , the music isn’t that great. As I stated in the early post, the boss music is underwhelming. Every boss track (except the final ones) sound like mid-boss music. The final act of every zone should have epic boss music (well, at least the ones with Eggman in this game’s case). Not goofy, lighthearted tunes (again, that’s mid-boss stuff). And the music for the new zones were just good. It wasn’t that catchy Sonic music where I’d often find myself humming along. They weren’t bad by any stretch, just good. The remixes of the old stages were pretty great, but for the most part, I preferred the originals; but I’m sure that just my nostalgia talking.
Anyway, the game is excellent, money well spent.