Sonic Mania Articles RSS Feed | Sonic Mania RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Claim 4 Free Steam Games as Part of Sega's 60th Birthday Thu, 15 Oct 2020 16:13:11 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Sega is celebrating its 60th birthday with a bevy of free games on Steam, along with plenty of discounts. One of those free games is Streets of Kamurocho, a free Streets of Rage 2 x Yakuza mashup from Empty Clip Games only available from October 17 to October 19.

Streets of Kamurocho has players choose from Kiryu Kazuma and Goro Majima and then wander the streets of Kamurocho, pounding the pudding out of thugs along the way — the usual Yakuza material.

But all this takes place in glorious 2D. Kamurocho's iconic locations and, surprise, streets are recreated in Streets of Rage 2 style.

Along with Streets of Kamurocho, Sega fans can claim the following free games:

  • Armor of Heroes — co-op, top-down shooter, available until October 19
  • Golden Axedworking prototype of the canceled Golden Axe Reborn, available until October 19.
  • Endless Zone — combination of Endless Universe and Fantasy Zone, available from October 16 to October 19

Finally, Sega is hosting a Steam sale featuring Warhammer, Company of Heroes, Two Point Hospital, Persona 4 Golden, Yakuza 0, Alien: Isolation, Shenmue 1+2, Bayonetta, and a handful of free-to-keep games including Sonic the Hedgehog 2. The sale itself ends on October 19, and it features savings of up to 95% off. If you're a Sega fan, there's plenty worth checking out. 

Sonic Mania Plus Review: Simply the Best Tue, 17 Jul 2018 15:51:38 -0400 Ashley Shankle

I'll be the first to admit I make some bad purchasing decisions when it comes to Sonic the Hedgehog games. Those decisions being buying them, then buying them again. And maybe again. I'm not really sure how many platforms I have Sonic 3 & Knuckles on, but it's more than five.

Last year's release of Sonic Mania brought back the feel and style of classic 2D Sonic that Sonic Team and Dimps struggled to recreate with the episodic Sonic 4, and it quickly became regarded as one of the best -- if not the best --Sonic games to date. There is something to be said for the Sonic fangame developers behind Mania and their understanding of what made the classic games memorable and fun.

Sonic Mania Plus brings the experience of the original Mania release back with a few tricks up its sleeve, some that may seem insignificant on paper but bring the whole game together into a complete package. It's a package that can satisfy both fans and newcomers with its signature '90s style.

What's in Plus?

The most obvious addition to Sonic Mania Plus is the characters Ray the squirrel and Mighty the armadillo, both of which have their roots in the arcade-only SegaSonic the Hedgehog. These two characters aren't just for show, either -- each has its own unique maneuvers for you to play with.

Ray, an enthusiastic and nimble squirrel, is able to glide mid-air much like Mario with his cape in Super Mario World. You tilt backward to catch some air and hover, tilt forward to take a dive. Unlike Knuckles and Tails, Ray can get some tremendous momentum when airborne provided you take the time to master his gliding ability.

Mighty, an armadillo in name and function, is immune to spike damage when jumping or spin dashing. Often you can jump onto spikes a single time and bounce right off. Mighty is also able to slam down into the ground with a double jump press, and he has a slightly higher jump than the rest of the cast. Ray is fun, but Mighty's slightly higher jump and mid-air spike immunity bring huge benefits.

These new characters and their brand-new abilities are perfectly suited to the new, remixed levels found in Sonic Mania Plus's new Encore mode.

Encore mode looks different at first glance, and it doesn't take long to figure out you're not in regular ol' Mania mode anymore. The levels in Encore mode have been tweaked to allow for Ray and Mighty to shine, with obstacles just for them, along with a wealth of new challenges spread throughout each zone.

Encore as a whole is the more difficult of the two modes, no contest. The new pinball-style special stages are more forgiving than the Sonic 3-style special stages in the original release, but the new Chaos Emerald stages (which are functionally the same as the original release) are brutal. I think I hate them, but practice makes perfect.

Along with the new obstacles found in Encore mode is the new character-swapping feature, which has you control two characters at once much like you would with Sonic and Tails normally. You can swap between them with a button press, but the characters you have will rotate frequently. Special boxes are scattered about to swap your characters, culminating to no two playthroughs ever being the same. You can also use the new characters for individual playthroughs in Mania mode.


The new Competitive mode is a throwback (pullback?) to the multiplayer modes of yore found in Sonic 2 and Sonic 3 & Knuckles, with little to no changes to how the mode worked in those games. This isn't a complaint -- I loved racing friends and family in those multiplayer modes -- but it is something to note.

In Competitive, you can change how many rounds you face off in, whether there's a time limit, and which item sets are available. You are also able to choose whether you want the screen to be stretched out like in the old days or squished to not look awful. I recommend the second choice, but purists will go for the first without question.

His face is about right for the old stretched screen view.

Something you may notice is that the game is advertised as having co-op. You expect that in a 2D Sonic game that lets you have both Sonic and Tails out at once, and I had hoped Encore mode would allow for two players as you have two characters out at a time. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Encore mode is entirely singleplayer, meaning the only co-op you'll find here lies in the Sonic and Tails combo in Mania mode. This is the only thing I have to complain about with this release, but even that is a small complaint. It doesn't matter in the face of all the good found here in Sonic Mania Plus.

The best around

It's rare an original game can take me back 25 years, gaming the hours away in front of the T.V. with my Sega Genesis and Nintendo. Sonic Mania did that last year and Plus does it even better with the addition of Ray, Mighty, and the remixed stages in Encore mode.

Exploring with Ray and Mighty's abilities in Mania mode and Encore mode make the game feel brand new. More than that, it makes me feel like a bright-eyed kid who just got the latest Sonic game and is discovering that it is just as awesome as the commercials claimed it would be. I almost want to buy some Bagel Bites and Capri Suns to complete the illusion.

Sonic Mania Plus did the impossible and made what was already the best new 2D Sonic since the Sega CD even better. There is only one word to describe Sonic Mania Plus and that is rad. I am not sure what Christian Whitehead and the others behind the game have in store for the future, but I hope it leads to more stellar '90s-style platformers like we see here with Mania Plus. The only thing keeping this baby from a 10 is the lack of multiplayer in Encore mode, but one can still call this the perfect Sonic game regardless.

[Note: The developer provided a copy of the game used in this review.]

Sonic Mania Adventures Episode Three Available to Watch Today Thu, 31 May 2018 15:36:55 -0400 Zach Hunt

If you're a fan of all things Sonic, you're probably already familiar with the hit animated miniseries Sonic Mania Adventures, written and directed by Tyson Hesse, who is best known for the opening animation on Sonic Mania.

Well, the third of five installments was released today, and you can check it out right now in the video above or by heading over to the Sonic the Hedgehog YouTube channel.

We won't spoil anything, but here's a basic synopsis from a press release:

Today’s episode follows Knuckles the Echidna on his quest to guard the Master Emerald on Angel Island. Ever since Dr. Eggman and Sonic first appeared on the island, trouble has followed. Fearing the worst, Knuckles has been watching over the Emerald constantly to ensure that nobody — robot or hedgehog — gets their hands on it. Just as Knuckles finds a safe location, a mysterious figure appears in the shadows. Find out who it is in the third installment of Sonic Mania Adventures now!

In case you're just now hopping on the Sonic Mania Adventures bandwagon, you can check out Part 1 and Part 2 to get caught up. There's really no better way to get psyched for the upcoming release of Sonic Mania Plus on July 17. If you haven't already, be sure to check out the trailer below for what promises to be the ultimate version of the 2017 critical darling.

Happy watching!

Sonic Mania Plus Coming July 17, Includes Two New Playable Characters and Game Modes Thu, 26 Apr 2018 15:26:47 -0400 Zach Hunt

It's no exaggeration to say that when Sonic Mania was released in August, critics and casual Sonic fans alike were jubilant. Here at GameSkinny, we said it was "a game you can't afford to miss out on," and we certainly weren't alone in singing its praises. Years of inconsistent Sonic releases had somewhat tarnished the franchise's reputation, so when Sonic Mania showed up to remind us of the old-school games' platforming greatness, we just couldn't get enough.

Flash-forward to April 2018, and Sega has announced that even more Sonic Mania is set to arrive July 17 in the form of Sonic Mania Plus, available now to pre-order for PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch for $29.99. If you previously purchased a digital copy of Sonic Mania on PC or console, an Encore DLC pack will be available for $4.99 to upgrade to the latest and greatest version once it's hit the shelves.

New to Sonic Mania Plus is the ability to play as two old-school Sonic characters -- Ray the Flying Squirrel and Mighty the Armadillo -- as well as "Encore mode," which breathes new life into old zones. Updates to Competition and Time Attack modes will now allow for four-player competition, and players can take on ghost challenges in time trials.

Sonic Mania Plus packaging for all consoles

All of this Sonic-y goodness will also be available in a physical edition that includes a 32-page artbook, holographic packaging, and a (totally awesome) reversible SEGA Genesis cover.


Stay tuned to GameSkinny as July 17 approaches, and be sure to catch up on all of our Sonic Mania coverage to help tide you over until then.

Coolest Things That Happened in 2017 Wed, 27 Dec 2017 14:37:18 -0500 Josh Broadwell




You might not have heard about SpecialEffect, a charity focused on providing ways for disabled people to enjoy video games as if they had no impediments. It's been around for ten years, yet as Christopher Dring of discusses, 2017 was SpecialEffect's best year so far.


In addition to being in contact with more people than ever before about how the charity can help, this year's One Special Day fundraiser was the biggest on record. One Special Day is where developers and companies, including Sega, pledge to donate the full day's revenue to SpecialEffect, and many of this year's partners have already signed up for next year's event as well. It's a good reminder that aside from the competition, profits, and backlogs, video games are really about making people happy. And that, in this writer's opinion, is probably the coolest thing of all for this year.




2017 certainly wasn't short on major developments, events, and game releases. Naturally, we've only touched on a few of them here, so feel free to chime in with your coolest things from this year down in the comments!


Back from the Beyond


It's not only 3D platformers that experienced a long-awaited resurgence, though. Sonic Mania marks the first well-received and well-constructed outing for Sonic in a long time -- too long, many fans would say. It manages to capture what made Sonic so popular back in the '90s without feeling stale, and one can only hope that it is a sign of things to come (especially if we forget about Sonic Forces).




But there's more! Capcom's recent Mega Man 11 reveal was meant to show that the company is still dedicated to its rock-solid IP, intending to give the series a true resurrection, and not a halfhearted Mighty No. 9 attempt at it.


The Resurrection of 3D Platformers


After Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy, lighthearted, charming 3D platformers essentially fell off the face of the Earth, replaced by the gritty realism and edginess inspired by Grand Theft Auto. But that changed this year. The excellent, though initially-not-well-received, Yooka-Laylee saw the rebirth of classic collect-a-thon, 3D platform gaming, but that was just the start of things to come. There were a number of others this year, some not quite so notable (*cough* Ginger *cough cough*) but many that were, including Poi. Oh, and there was that Super Mario Odyssey thing that a few people talked about when it first came out. If you count that as big.


E3 2017


This year's Electronic Entertainment Expo was the first to finally be open to the general public -- if one was lucky enough to get in. Apart from being a good means of marketing and generating profit, opening E3 to the public is a recognition of the fact that gaming is much more mainstream than it has been in ages past.


And this year's expo was certainly one worth attending. For the first time in far too long, there was actual competition between the so-called Big Three, each of which showed off some fine titles and made us realize just how good it is to be gamers.


The Loot Box Controversy


Loot boxes themselves aren't cool, even though they have the potential to be. Many see them as representing everything wrong with the gaming industry. That's why this year's developments are especially noteworthy. On the political side of things, the EU and UK Parliament actually conducted separate investigations into whether the boxes constitute gambling, accompanied by a slew of complaints from gamers and parents pushing for greater regulation.


Then there was the EA incident, where fan protests influenced the developer's decision to alter its plans, changing the Battlefront II situation into something slightly more palatable. Sure, the fact that it's a Star Wars game and thus has a huge fan base probably helped, but at least it's a step in the right direction.


The Game Awards 2017


"What's so special about an award ceremony held every year?" you might be asking. This year was pretty extraordinary, though: Nintendo won Game of the Year for the first time. Of course, Nintendo fans will find that more interesting and exciting than anyone else. But, Horizon: Zero Dawn fans (and others) should still dry their eyes and clean their hankies.


Even though Sony and Microsoft execs have been quoted as saying Nintendo invigorates the market so much that it's almost become trite, there's truth in those words. Nintendo won with a complete reimagining of one of its foundational franchises. Even if you aren't a Nintendo fan yourself, it still shows that the gaming industry is alive and thriving, unpredictable and dynamic. And that's something to be excited about.


Xbox One X


Nintendo wasn't alone in putting out a new console this year, and even though Microsoft's latest box isn't necessarily brand-new, it promises quite a bit of innovation. It's the most powerful system available and the only one that can deliver a true 4K experience.


Granted, some believe you'd have to have a TV the size of your living room wall to really experience the difference between 4K and HD, but that's not the point. What matters for most is that it's a brand-new step that can only drive the industry forward in terms of visuals and technology in general, offering a different vision from Nintendo as far as what gaming can and should be.




Despite not being the first of its kind, Brendan Greene's runaway hit PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (popularly known as PUBG) certainly set the standard for battle royale-style gaming and popular games in general.


A couple of things in particular stand out about PUBG's success, one of them being the fact that the game wasn't even officially released before it started taking the world by storm. The other would have to be Greene's story itself, a modern-day rags-to-riches story that saw a father struggling to make ends meet suddenly become one of the best-known figures in the gaming industry.


Nintendo Switch


Of course, it'd be impossible to talk about 2017 without mentioning the launch and success of Nintendo's latest system. Not only does it combine console with handheld, but it actually manages to do a good job of it too, boasting an impressive first-year library of games to boot (and it's not even the end of its first year yet).


However, it isn't just the system itself that should catch your attention. It's the fact that Nintendo managed to turn around four years of failure, learning from its many mistakes with the Wii U and re-entering the industry with a bang, demonstrating how important the relationship between a company and its consumers is. Not that there aren't still issues in that particular area, but it's a mighty fine start nonetheless.


2017 was a fantastic year for gamers. There are the obvious things, like Nintendo's massive success with the Switch and the rebirth of several franchises and genres, and then some not so obvious, including the success of a charity dedicated to helping disabled people. From Microsoft's most powerful console ever to the loot box controversy and everything in between, it's been a year full of companies and organizations actually responding to consumer desires, sometimes effectively -- as with Nintendo -- and sometimes not so much (that one's directed at you, EA). But in the end, amid the controversies and kerfuffle, it's really all about having fun. So with that in mind, here are our top picks for this year's coolest events, in no particular order.

If You Have to Choose Between Sonic Forces and Sonic Mania, Choose Mania Sun, 03 Dec 2017 19:47:27 -0500 Allison M Reilly

Sega released two Sonic games recently: Sonic Mania, in August 2017, and Sonic Forces, in November 2017.Sonic Mania is much more of a throwback title, reminiscent of the Sega Genesis while Sonic Forces includes modern graphics and new mechanics like character creation. All four games are available on Nintendo Switch, PC, Xbox One, and PS4, which leads to the question "Which one should I get?"

The choice between the two would seem like one of preferences, but that's presuming the two games are equal, with graphics and mechanics being the main differences. That's absolutely not the case, and despite Mania having a few quirks of its own, it's superior by far to Forces

Sonic Forces

The Story

If the release of both games was meant to showcase two different visions for Sonic's future, then Sonic Forces is the "we're going to try new things and push the boundaries" vision. It's a wonderful, astounding vision, but the vision wasn't the problem. Sonic Forces just wasn't the best vehicle for this bold, forward-looking vision. Forces feels like a bad action movie, where the producers emphasized the wrong aspects, including some of the action. The story, the dialogue in particular, is really cheesy. Stories can be cheesy, and Sonic games are no stranger to cheesiness, but the game could've done a better job countering the corny plot and exchanges with cooler action sequences.

For example, after the player defeats Zavok, there's a short scene to explain that the place is crumbling and that "now is the time for running." The scene really issn't needed. Instead, to illustrate the consequences for defeating Zavok, the game could've showed the crumbling at the beginning of the next level. The player then has to figure out, on their own, they need to start running. Or, instead of a scene, it could have utilized the NPCs and their background chatter to let Sonic/the player know the place is falling apart and y'all need to get out now.

The Levels

Players have complained the game, and each of its levels, are too short. Short games and short levels aren't necessarily bad, but if the idea is to present what future Sonic games could be, then brevity doesn't really give players a chance to experience fully that vision for the future. For example, Stage 7 is a neat level with the Sonic/Avatar combo, the double boost, and the skydiving portion. But the whole thing takes about two minutes to complete. Another minute of play, especially another minute of the double boost or another skydiving portion with trickier obstacles, would've been so much fun to play and could have shown off the new mechanics even further.

Sonic Forces really seemed to emphasize Sonic's speed. Again, that's not a bad thing by itself, and it's what the games are known for. However, nearly every level feels like an adrenaline rush cut off at the knees. They are fun, but the end is more like running into a brick wall, versus the slow down period of a hard, solid workout that could have helped them feel more natural and provide a fulfilling arc and rhythm for each level.

Sonic Mania Isn't Perfect Either

It's easy to point out all the flaws in Sonic Forces and then to say choose Mania, but Mania isn't a perfect game either. When I first saw the Mania trailer, I thought it was a remake of one of the Sega Genesis games. Mania does emulate what fans love most about the Sonic games of old, but it emulates it so faithfully that there is some lack of originality in concept and design.

When going through the levels, I felt much of the same frustration I felt playing Sonic on the Genesis. Sometimes, I didn't have a clue of where I was supposed to go next and ended up going in circles. Perhaps I'm not as a good as other players in finding my way around, but levels can have puzzles without being puzzling. In a way, Mania's vision for the future is to stick with the past and the formula that's worked before. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it might not be something that will work forever, and it can't drive the series forward.

The Winner Is...

Overall, if you have to choose between Sonic Forces and Sonic Mania, then choose Sonic Mania. Between the two, Mania is a higher quality game, where everything comes together much more smoothly. It also has the "throwback" charm and emphasizes many series aspects long-time Sonic fans love. Forces has great ideas, but perhaps there needs to be another game or two to flesh them out and get those ideas where they need to be for an enjoyable playing experience.

Now that both games are out, what do you think about them? Which one do you think is better: Sonic Mania or Sonic Forces? Let us know in the comments!

Don't Act Surprised When Sonic Forces on PC Comes with Denuvo Tue, 07 Nov 2017 17:26:45 -0500 Josh Broadwell

Back when Valve first listed Sonic Mania on Steam, the listing gave no mention of the game utilizing Denuvo or any other Digital Rights Management (DRM) save what Steam normally has. Imagine players' surprise, then, when they found they could not play the game offline as a result of Denuvo requiring it to run online for verification purposes. Players complained to Headcannon, who then passed the complaints along to Sega.

After investigating it, though, Sega said Denuvo wasn't the cause of the problem, and Denuvo remains part of the game—even though it's been cracked. Now that Sega announced Sonic Forces will come with Denuvo at launch, players at least have fair warning of what's ahead--even if that just means they can get their pitchforks ready early.

One may wonder why Denuvo was targeted immediately as the cause of gamers' misery and what the big deal is with it being included with Forces. The answer? Well, that's not so easy to say.

What Even Are DRM and Denuvo?

A good majority of gamers go about playing their games in the legitimate way: purchasing and using them within the boundaries set out by the company, whether that be not sharing it so others can access without paying or something along those lines.

However, the pirating community likes to find ways around that. Some cite cost as a reason, some just like the thrill, others believe they should have unlimited rights with their games, and still others only want to try the game as a demo, planning to buy it later if they like it.DRM is meant to keep a pirate from having their way with a game, and Denuvo is supposed to be one of the toughest DRMs around at this point.

What's the Problem with It?

Yet a large number of players, including those who purchase a game legitimately, claim that DRM, and Denuvo in particular, hamper their enjoyment of the game. The Sonic Mania example is just one among many. Ubisoft's notorious DRM is another. They didn't use Denuvo, but for a time, their DRM required players to remain online for the duration of their play session. Any lapse in connection meant the game—and progress—was gone, and there was really no hope for portability or ease of use in that setup.

Then there was RiME. Players loudly complained about Denuvo ruining the experience. The constant pinging that Denuvo performs to verify the game and user was supposedly slowing the game down. However, it was mostly noticeable during loading times, not the game itself, and apart from a few vocal (and coarse) complaints, no one else really seemed to find the game unplayable. Grey Box, like Sega, also found that Denuvo wasn't the cause of the problems.

More to the point, though, there isn't any concrete evidence to support either side's arguments about Denuvo.

Opposing Viewpoints

Those who don't like DRM don't care, though, and despite Denuvo allegedly being the best in town, it has been hacked several times. In many cases, developers remove it via update after the cracking anyway, leading to the question of why bother implementing it to begin with.

For big companies, the answer is fairly simple. Developers lose an estimated $74 billion due to piracy, with approximately 2.5 billion pirated games downloaded per year. DRM is a way to try and prevent that loss, and it's an extra layer of protection alongside Steam's much lighter and-easier-to-crack DRM that relies on players wanting certain features enough to pay for the game.

Unlike smaller companies, most larger developers, like Sega, have fanbases willing to put up with DRM—or who don't have a problem with it—in order to play the game. Also, it's believed that if Denuvo is cracked within a certain timeframe after release, developers may be able to get a refund for it. If that is true, developers have very little to lose from implementing Denuvo and a good bit to gain.

Image via YouTube

Some  developers have a different view. Super Meat Boy's Tommy Refenes argues that DRM hurts developers much more than piracy does and thinks it should no longer be utilized. He says companies should "respect their customers, and they may, in turn, respect your efforts." (Of course, that argument works in reverse: if players respected developers' efforts enough, they wouldn't have to implement DRM). However, it is worth pointing out that smaller companies stand to gain from eschewing DRM for the fact that it draws in more fans, something especially necessary for indie developers without big backing.

It's not just small developers who promote this new approach to DRM, though. Avalanche Studios echoes Refenes's argument and cites paying customers inconvenienced by poorly implemented DRM who as the reason why it ultimately harms developers more than it helps them. CD Projekt Red--the developer behind The Witcher--provides a more practical reason for this concept. Not only does it turn players away; it doesn't protect the game anyway. That's definitely true of Denuvo as well.


The problem ultimately centers around how well the DRM is implemented. One can hardly fault developers for protecting their material. It's true that they make plenty of money and are big corporate entities. But it's a business—and that's kinda their reason for existing. Denuvo, so far, hasn't turned out to be as problematic as EA's or Ubisoft's disastrous attempts at using DRM, even though some believe otherwise.

However, considering the legitimate problems DRM can cause players, it falls to the developers to ensure they are responsible and reasonable when they do implement DRM, including Denuvo. How that will all play out with Sonic Forces remains to be seen, though hopefully whatever issues there were with Sonic Mania—real or otherwise—have been ironed out. At the very least, players know what to expect, since Sega already announced it for Forces.

Why People Are Upset Over Denuvo in Sonic Mania (Spoilers: It's Not Just Piracy) Thu, 31 Aug 2017 15:04:32 -0400 Ashley Shankle

DRM and its effectiveness are always a hotly-debated topic among the PC gaming community. The debate over whether it actually does what it's intended is one that started well before this generation and will continue into far into the future.

Sonic Mania's inclusion of the DRM Denuvo is the latest dramafest over DRM, but the community's outrage over it isn't solely based on what the peanut gallery says is the PC community (yet again) having a fit because they can't pirate the game. It's a little more complicated than that, and it has to do with:

SEGA's lack of transparency

This is a three-pronged issue overall, but this is the one prong that needs to be brought to light first.

The PC release of Sonic Mania saw a two-week delay, which was announced a mere four days before it was set to release on PC alongside its PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch counterparts. Many speculated it was because SEGA decided to add DRM to the PC version, but SEGA themselves did not make an announcement one way or the other.

In fact, SEGA did not reveal that Sonic Mania would contain any DRM at any point in time leading up to the PC release, and the Steam store page for the game didn't even mention Denuvo until several hours after release. The people who bought it certainly noticed, though -- many who had bought the game on the first day could not play it due to "connection issues".

SEGA ironed out the authentication issue and "enabled" offline play (enabling offline play for a singleplayer game is ridiculous in itself) yesterday, but the fact remains there was a clear lack of transparency on the inclusion of Denuvo. Sonic Mania is certainly SEGA's property -- but when requesting money for a product, the publisher should have the responsibility of keeping the consumer informed of changes.

You may be thinking to yourself that those who purchased the game could just get a refund and be done with it if Denuvo rustled their jimmies so much, but there's a catch to that, too.

Some pre-order holders could/can not get a refund

This is where things get sketchy. All of the above is generally enough to send a number of PC gamers into nuclear meltdown, but this specific part of the problem continues to be one of the biggest agitators to this whole fiasco.

To make up for the PC delay, SEGA granted Steam pre-order holders a free copy of Sonic 1 to be played in the Sega Mega Drive & Genesis Classics Collection. This was granted exactly two weeks before Sonic Mania released on Steam.

If you're familiar with Steam's refund system, you're probably aware of the two big criteria for refunding a game:

  1. You have to have played the game for less than two hours
  2. You have to have owned the game for less than two weeks

Those who pre-ordered Sonic Mania on Steam well in advance got their copy of Sonic 1 exactly two weeks before Mania was to be released. This normally wouldn't be an issue (I've certainly never heard of this being an issue), but it seems Steam is mistaking Sonic 1 and Sonic Mania when processing refunds, which is locking the aforementioned early pre-order holders from refunding the game.

This problem in particular is likely unintentional, but it's only fueled the hate-fire over the past few days, as many unhappy with the addition of Denuvo are unable to refund the game.

If you are one of these people and still would like a refund, it's worth noting that some Steam users have had success going into Steam support and choosing the "I have a question about this product" option and inputting your grievance in the optional box. It's not perfect, but it's worth a shot.

Denuvo's servers aren't going to last forever

Whether Denuvo is actually harmful or not is a topic still up for discussion. The most passed-around link on the anti-consumer nature of the controversial DRM is heavily out of date, and most of the complaints surrounding these days have to do with its limited lifespan, online checks, and unreliability. When was the last time a game with Denuvo didn't get cracked? It's been a while.

The biggest issue the community faces with Denuvo isn't one of the now, but of the future. No server lasts forever, and in time Denuvo will fade from relevance and take all the games its meant to "protect" with it.

Because Denuvo requires online checks to allow a user to launch and continue to run a game it is attached to, any games using Denuvo will no longer be able to run once the servers are taken down. This won't happen this year or next year, but it will happen. And a lot of games are going to fall with it.

There have certainly been examples of games that have had their restrictive DRM torn from them once it's known their DRM servers will be going down, but those examples are not indicative of the norm. Plenty of titles have fallen and been lost in the wind due to their DRM's eventual folding -- and the same will happen to Denuvo, just as it did with its predecessors.

The Sonic Mania DRM fiasco is a failing on SEGA's part, primarily due to their lack of transparency on what exactly buyers would be installing onto their computers. Is it really worth this, when the game is going to get cracked in two weeks time despite the implementation of Denuvo? Sonic Mania has become yet another example of DRM causing legitimate consumers more hassle than their non-paying counterparts.

It's a shame, since the game is undoubtedly one of the best Sonic games to come out in the past decade, if not longer.

Garry's Mod Guide: Best Sonic the Hedgehog Mods Fri, 01 Sep 2017 16:09:33 -0400 Josh Broadwell


Sonic Goes Allegro

Mod: Sonic Background+music
Get it on: Garry's Mod Website

What game is complete without music? This mod from jaidenjc contains the theme from Sonic and the Secret Rings, "7 Rings in Hand," by Steve Conte. It embodies the sound of the 3D Sonic games with its upbeat rock style and quick pace. It's perfect for any world you create in Garry's Mod, of course, but we can't help thinking it would fit especially well in the Sonic stage mod too. 




From characters and vehicles to full blown stages, there's plenty of Sonic material to be found for your sandbox creations. Let us know if you plan on picking any of these up!


The Romero Surprise

Mod: Zombie Amy
Get it on: Garry's Mod Website

If you're really looking for something out of the ordinary, consider checking out this one from Minimole the Lorax. Zombie Amy is pretty much exactly what her name implies: Amy Rose with a creepy Halloween makeover. Her pupils have vanished, and her overall expression is not quite so nice as Sonic fans might be used to. Her teeth are much sharper than usual, which probably goes a long way in explaining those rather disturbing bloodstains on her hands…


If you're brave enough, you can find it at the link above, and you may be happy to know that it also won't replace your original Amy, if you have one.


Eggbots in Disguise...

Mod: Death Egg Robot
Get it on: Garry's Mod Website

How many times have you been able to play as one of Eggman's robots in Sonic? Exactly: none. However, suroguner's Death Egg Robot mod lets you do just that. Inspired by the difficult battles from Sonic 2, this version features a Sonic 4 style to choose from as well.


On top of that, the mod features the Eggomatic hovercraft, giving you a pretty nice range of options for making this your game's ultimate foe, midboss, or even main hero.


Meet the Badniks

Mod: Sonic 4 Badnik Pack V2
Get it on: Garry's Mod Website

Of course, any Sonic recreation or sandbox world wouldn't be complete without some enemies to topple. suroguner/Glabe's Badnick Pack gives you a variety of badniks from across a range of Sonic games, including the Buzz Bomber from Sonic Adventure 2, a couple of foes from Sonic Colors and the GameGear's version of Sonic 2, and many others.


These would be great to add to any of your Garry's Mod creations, though putting them alongside the character mods would doubtlessly push all the right nostalgia buttons. 


Blast from the Past

Mod: de_Sonic the Hedgehog
Get it on: Garry's Mod Website

Entertaining as it would be to add all these Sonic mods to any game, you just can't beat the original. FPSbanana created a huge map mod inspired by the original game's areas, graphics, and textures. You can wander around the Green Hill Zone, explore Eggman's secret temple, and get impaled by spikes (ah, the good ol' days).


It also includes platforming elements -- such as disappearing platforms, to be precise -- and secret shortcuts, which no Sonic stage would be complete without. Pick up this mod here.


Take to the Skies!

Mod: (Actual) Flyable Tails Tornado
Get it on: Garry's Mod Website

Poor Tails. Always a sidekick, he remains Sonic's brainy voice of reason. But apart from a better developed sense of responsibility, he's got something else Sonic doesn't: an awesome airplane.


You can too, with kryanwan's Tornado mod, which lets you fully control Tails' iconic plane. It's a fully 3D replica of Tails' Tornado, with updated controls from earlier editions, plane sounds, missiles and bullets, and Sonic's second seat in the back. This mod can be found here.


Characters and Things

Mod: Sonic the Hedgehog Mod 2009
Get it on: Garry's Mod Website

The first thing you're going to need for any true Sonic experience is a set of Sonic characters, of course. This mod by DutyCraft includes everything you could ask for. It's got Sonic, naturally, along with a slew of additional characters, from Amy Rose to Rouge the Bat, Shadow, Super Sonic, and more. Best of all, it also comes with items like Rings and Chaos Emeralds to help give you even more options with which to expand your creativity. You can get it here.


Mods. They're almost as much fun to create as they are to use. Mods let players expand their game long after the credits roll by adding new content or altering existing material. And one of the games that shows this off the in some of the best ways possible? Garry's Mod. It's a true sandbox world that lets you build your own world and do whatever you want in it.


With the recent release of Sonic Mania and the anticipation ahead of Sonic Forces, you may be wondering how you can add some Sonic goodness to your sandbox world. Well, look no further! We've put together a list of the 7 best Sonic mods for Garry's Mod to make your Sonic dreams come true, from accessories and characters to complete stages. Read on to find out more. 




Image via Digital Trends

Sonic Mania Requires Internet Connection on Steam Wed, 30 Aug 2017 10:23:33 -0400 Kieran Desmond

It was all going so well for Sonic Mania publisher Sega. After being hailed as the first universally well-received Sonic game since the 90's, fans of the game have found a huge problem with the Steam version.

Within the download file is Denuvo Anti-Tamper Technology, which prevents players accessing Sonic Mania whilst in offline mode. It's easy to see why this would anger a paying customer who can't access a game they purchased. 

This isn't the only issue people have with Denuvo. Although the software company has denied it previously, it's possible that the program could damage your hard drive due to the constant encryption and decryption -- and it may reduce the overall lifespan of solid state hard-drives.

Between these issues and the announcement that there are "no current plans" to add support for Steam Workshop to Sonic Mania, many players are refunding the title in protest until a version with no DRM (Digital Rights Management) is released.

For details on this story as it unfolds, stay tuned to GameSkinny.

Will Sonic Forces Be Able to Usurp Sonic Mania? Tue, 29 Aug 2017 12:45:25 -0400 Josh Broadwell

As many know, the Sonic games from the 1990s were wildly popular. They rivaled Nintendo's Mario games and provided a different kind of platforming adventure that emphasized reflex and attention to detail more than most games on offer at the time.

As media outlets and players alike have widely noted, Sonic Mania's immediate appeal is nostalgia. In part, it's the fuzzy-wuzzy kind of nostalgia --happy memories of early gaming days, the thrill of finding that your favorite games aged well and are still fun, and, for some gamers, the added benefit of being able to pass these gems from the past down to the next generation. Though often exploited and frequently hawked by developers in recent years, nostalgia is a powerful thing. However, using nostalgia comes with responsibility as well, as the other part of nostalgia is recapturing the reason why a game was held so dear to begin with. 

Developers have to be careful and ensure their products lives up to players' expectations, especially with a set of games held in such high regard by so many.

Sonic Mania does just that. A large part of its success is the fact that Headcannon and PagodaWest captured more than just the sound and look of the hedgehog's 90s glory days. The level design is spot on in a way it hasn't been for many years -- too long, fans would say -- with perfectly placed platforms, devious traps, and enemies that actually pose threats. The developers found an excellent balance between levels that encourage high-speed runs and methodical backtracking, looking for different paths or missed gems. 

Stage types vary enough to keep players' interests as well, melding puzzle solving and 3D platforming on occasion -- just as the originals did. Equally as important is the fact that the physics engine works exactly as it should, ensuring the clever level design doesn't go to waste. And on top of that, Mania includes even more replay incentive through adding Knuckles and Tails into the mix.

In essence, it's nearly a perfect Sonic experience, potentially leaving no room for any other contenders -- even from its own family tree. 

Sonic Forces: Contender or Pretender?

Unfortunately, Sonic Forces doesn't have the benefit of either of those key pieces of nostalgia. Overall, the 3D Sonic games have not delivered the same kind of enjoyment over the years -- apart from the two Sonic Adventure games. And even those two contained some pretty significant flaws.

Part of the problem lies in one specific observation: When making those games, Sega attempted to create something new with every iteration, including adding new, largely unnecessary characters, rather than attempting to refine and perfect what was done well before. In some situations, these new mechanics worked well, but changing mechanics every time stonewalls refinement. And in most cases -- for example, Sonic and the Secret Rings -- iteration just didn't work at all.

Sonic Colors was the exception, offering well-designed and interesting levels alongside new powerups that changed the way players approached those levels. However, it is Sonic Generations that has been the best-selling 3D Sonic game in recent years, and mostly for its return to 2D platforming with inspired levels. Lost Worlds tried the same approach -- mixing 2D and 3D -- and was somewhat successful, before being followed by the disastrous Sonic Boom: The Rise of Lyric.

Without a strong heritage to draw from, Sonic Forces is at an immediate disadvantage to Sonic Mania, tempting players to approach it from a "How bad will this one be" angle, rather than a more positive point of view. The developers will miss out too, since there is no solid lineage for working 3D Sonic games to draw from. 

Sonic surveying his 3D legacy...

It also seems Sega may not have learned its lessons from past failures -- and early previews of Sonic Forces are mixed. The initial stage shown off at E3 this year features speed, yes, but little else. The level is linear, far more so than the escape from the city in Sonic Adventure 2 (which it takes inspiration from), and enemy placement seems arbitrary, not adding to the level design in any way, as they do in Colors, for example

The 2D elements are lacking as well. Spike traps make an appearance, with hardly any danger of speeding into them, a few easily-reached platforms break up the speed… and that's about it. Sonic bosses always vary in terms of difficulty and interest, but the one shown in Sonic Forces' E3 segment is fairly generic -- and it is almost impossible for Sonic to take a hit during the battle. 

However, the most concerning elements are the new ones. The inclusion of customizable avatar characters is one of the most anticipated portions of the new release, though it seems underused at this point. The avatar stage is supposed to mimic Green Hill Zone, but the platforming appears repetitive and severely limited.

Unique, avatar-only weapons take the place of powerups in Forces by absorbing the wisps from Colors, but they don't seem to be put to good use. One power lets the avatar fly (in a way), but the areas it opens up would have been easily accessible via platforms, like in most other Sonic levels.

The Tag Team feature recently revealed at Gamescom suffers a similar problem. It provides an extra way to speed through a level and triggers some flashy in-game scenes, though doesn't seem necessary or vital to the level that was shown -- and that's not to speak of the level's bland design itself.

The Verdict

Sonic Mania and its faithfully preserved and expanded return to precise platforming and varied stages appear to be in no danger of being toppled from its throne. Sonic Forces probably won't be a terrible game, but it doesn't seem like it will be as good as it could or should be either. It builds on a shaky foundation of lackluster 3D titles and includes showy extras -- with seemingly no real purpose -- at the expense of engaging gameplay and level design.

It looks as if it's safe to say that Sonic Mania is one of the best Sonic games in a long time -- and that it's in no danger of losing that title anytime soon. 

Sonic Mania Guide: All Cheats, Unlockables, and Secrets Thu, 17 Aug 2017 12:18:08 -0400 David Fisher

Sonic Mania may already be twice the length of the classic Genesis titles with its extra zones alone, but there's even more content stored away in this title. While most can be unlocked with simple dedication and practice, the team responsible for this callback to the past greatness of Sonic the Hedgehog made sure to pack in as much extra goodies as possible.

In this guide, we'll go over all the unlockables in Sonic Mania and how you can access every single one of them.

How to Unlock Stage Select and Debug Mode (Cheat)

Before we get to the legitimate ways to unlock bonuses in Sonic Mania, let's cover something a little more nostalgic. If you hold the B and Y button on the Nintendo Switch before the "Press Any Button" prompt appears at the bottom of the title screen, you will unlock the Stage Select mode. Once in Stage Select, you will be able to access any map in the game.

Pressing X while in a stage chosen through Stage Select  will let you access Debug Mode. In this mode you can take the form of any item, object, or enemy and freely place them around the map. Changing the item you are is as simple as pressing the Y or A buttons to cycle through the list. You can also use it as a form of noclip mode, allowing you to explore the stage for the sake of exploration. 

For PS4 and Xbox One Players

Debug Mode and Stage Select can still be unlocked on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 via collecting Silver or Gold medals from the Blue Spheres Bonus Stages. Afterward, go into the Secrets Menu to activate Debug Mode. Once activated, you can press Square and Options for PS4 or X and Menu on the Xbox One. This was likely done to avoid conflicts with the achievements systems on either console.

How to Unlock "& Knuckles" Mode

Your reward for completing each Blue Spheres stage is bonus lives. However, if you are dedicated enough to complete all of the Blue Spheres bonus stages with Gold Medals, you will unlock the elusive "& Knuckles" mode. 

This mode functions much like the Sonic and Tails mode -- but instead of Tails, you get Knuckles following you around. Even while playing as Knuckles.

The memes are real, kids...

Mean Bean Machine Mode and Blue Spheres Extras

Can't get enough Mean Bean Machine or Blue Spheres? By collecting Gold and Silver medals from the regular Blue Spheres Bonus Stages, you can unlock extra stages for Blue Spheres in a dedicated mode or a full version of Doctor Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine -- which is effectively just a mini-arcade version of Puyo Puyo.

The Mean Bean Machine substitute can even be played with a friend. So if you're really dying to get your hands on some knockoff Puyo Puyo, start finding those medals!

Wind Attack and Super Peel Out Abilities

Sonic's Wind Attack from Sonic 3 -- otherwise known as the Insta-Shield and Twin-Spin Attack -- as well as the Super Peel Out ability from Sonic CD are available in Sonic Mania as unlockable skill sets. Each is unlocked by gathering either the Silver or Gold medals from the Blue Spheres Bonus Stages. And unfortunately, these abilities can only be used in No Save mode.

To access them after unlocking them, simply press Y or Triangle to open up the bonuses menu, change Sonic's abilities to the mode you want, and then start a No Save game.

What is the Wind Attack?

For those who don't know what the Wind Attack is, in Sonic 3 and Sonic Advance you could press the jump button to create a split-second barrier that will destroy enemies just out of range of your spin jump. It's just a few pixels wider than your regular jump attack, but it is particularly useful for beating basic enemies that are a little more defensive.

Super Peel Out?

On the other hand, Super Peel Out from Sonic CD lets you hold up on the D-Pad or Control Stick while pressing the jump button to wind up your running speed. This lets Sonic run at full speed without having to use the Spin Dash ability. While this seems like a straight downgrade to the Spin Dash, the Super Peel Out ability is much better at keeping its momentum than being in ball form.

That's all for now!

These extra features in Sonic Mania really show how dedicated the developers were to making a true Sonic the Hedgehog title for the fans. Remember, these are just the unlockables, so be sure to turn on that debug mode and see if you can find any Easter Eggs hidden throughout the stages! As always, stay tuned to for more on Sonic Mania guides.

Sonic Mania Guide: How to Beat Special Stages and What They Unlock Wed, 16 Aug 2017 12:04:24 -0400 David Fisher

Just like the original Genesis games, Sonic Mania has its own special stages that will send you to bonus areas where players can find the Chaos Emeralds. While these stages might be familiar to long time fans, those who have not played the older titles might not be sure how to access the special stages or how to beat them.

In this guide we'll take a quick look at finding the special stages, how they work, and how to unlock the true ending to this wonderful callback game! (And we'll even give you the secret on how to unlock & Knuckles mode.)

Special Stages in Sonic Mania

In Sonic Mania the main form of Special Stages is similar to the one found in Sonic CD -- but only insofar as the fact that you are running in a mode 7 style stage. These stages are accessed via Giant Rings that are found in hidden areas throughout each stage and act. Unlike in previous titles, there is no requirement to find the Giant Ring to access the special stage other than finding it in the stage.

There is often more than one Giant Ring in each stage, so keep an eye out for them if you want to collect all of the Chaos Emeralds early on in the game.

How to Win Special Stages

Each Special Stage you access will be in an order based on completion. The special stage also corresponds with the Chaos Emerald -- not the zone you accessed the Special Stage from. As such, the first special stage you encounter will be the same no matter what zone you are playing until you get the Chaos Emerald for that Special Stage. Sso don't worry if you missed the Chaos Emerald in the previous act. As long as you make a point of finding the Giant Rings in later stages, you'll be fine.

To complete the Special Stage, your character will have to reach the fleeing UFO, and attack it to free the Chaos Emerald. This is done by collecting blue and yellow spheres to increase your speed until you are fast enough to catch up with the UFO. You can also "race" it at lower speeds by cutting corners or using shortcuts. But in most cases -- especially with inexperienced players -- it is recommended to gather as many blue spheres as possible to boost your mach speed to make catching the UFO easier.

Players should also keep an eye on their rings. Once you run out of rings, your Special Stage run is over. Gather rings, avoid pitfalls and spike traps, as well as other obstacles to prolong your Special Stage attempt. Each special stage gets progressively more difficult as well -- so be on your toes each time you step through a Giant Ring.

Sonic Mania Bonus Stage: Blue Spheres

Blue Spheres is a Bonus Stage found in Sonic Mania that originally was found in Sonic 3 & Knuckles. Blue Spheres is another simple concept minigame: touch all of the blue spheres to turn them red. While this sounds easy enough, the challenge can be a bit of a daunting task since the character will move faster each time you convert a sphere.

To make matters worse, Star Spheres will try to bump you back into Red Spheres, ending your run. To counteract this, press up on the D-Pad or Control Stick as soon as possible to avoid going back more than 2 spaces. This only works if there are no Red Spheres behind you though, so be careful. 

Also be on the lookout for Gold Spheres that will launch your character 5 spaces forward. While they usually just launch you into the next area, if you're jumping blind you might just launch yourself into a field of Red Spheres.

Completing the stage by converting all of the Blue Spheres will earn you a silver medal for that Bonus Stage. If you manage to get all the rings as well, you will earn a gold medal.

Gotta Go (Fast)!

That's all you need to know to beat the Special and Bonus Stages in Sonic Mania. Most of your success will be purely based in practice and memory, so do your best to get the true ending of Sonic Mania that has a special surprise for fans. 

Stay tuned for more Sonic Mania guides to help you get through this brand new Sonic adventure!

Sonic Mania Review: Bringing Back Classic Sonic Tue, 15 Aug 2017 12:11:03 -0400 David Fisher

Sonic is back with two titles this year -- and the first of them, Sonic Maniahas just launched for all three major consoles, with the PC debut delayed to later this month. Unlike Sonic Forces, Sonic Mania acts as a callback to the Genesis days of Sonic the Hedgehog. But does the Sonic Genesis trio have what it takes to bring fans into a mania -- or will it spin dash the Sonic Cycle back into a depression?

The Gameplay

The Good

If you are coming into Sonic Mania for the chance to relive your childhood, or you're looking for a solid classic Sonic the Hedgehog experience without having to play on outdated 4:3 specs, then this game will give you everything you are looking for.

With the exception of a new special stage style, Sonic Mania is a replica of the Genesis classics down to the smallest detail. One of the few changes you'll come across is to Sonic's abilities, with the new drop dash. This ability lets Sonic charge up his spin dash in mid-air to allow him to get back into the action at top speed the second he touches the ground.

Other than that, there's not really much new to Sonic Mania in terms of core gameplay. That said, what Headcannon and PagodaWest Games have done is create wonderful remixes of classic stages from the Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis series, as well as a healthy number of stages of their own design. There are also a number of callbacks, Easter Eggs, and other hidden gems throughout the game that will be sure to put a smile on any longtime Sonic fan's face.

You know Sonic Mania takes pleasing the fans seriously when Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine makes an appearance!

Those who were afraid of nostalgia being the main selling point of this game have no need to worry, as remixed stages are more of tile-sets and stage mechanic callbacks more than anything, since all of the stage layouts are completely new. Second acts also provide new puzzles and platforming mechanics in retro stages to ensure everything stays fresh.

As for the game's difficulty, if you had trouble getting through the second or third zone in Sonic the Hedgehog games in the past, and are only returning to it now for the first time since the Genesis days, expect to die...a lot. The game's difficulty is perfectly in tune with a classic Sonic the Hedgehog feel, so don't worry if you thought this game would be toned down for modern audiences.

One last feature I would like to note is that the special stages are by far my favorites in the entire series. Using Sonic R style models, and a Sonic CD style map, Sonic Mania's special stages have you chasing after UFOs in order to get the Chaos Emeralds required for the true ending. They are perhaps one of the best examples of how this game is an homage to all things Sonic the Hedgehog, and it's only a part of the whole tribute that this game is.

While Blue Spheres make a return as a bonus stage, it should be noted that they are there for extra lives, and not necessary for completing the game.

The Bad

While there isn't much to complain about in terms of Sonic Mania being a faithful Sonic the Hedgehog game, that might also be its downfall. In Chemical Plant Zone, for example, the rotating block stairs gimmick from Sonic 2 makes a return. Along with it comes the almost unfair case of what I call "broken toe death", where players will lose a life if the blocks happen to touch Sonic and Co. in just the wrong way. This is due to the game believing that Sonic has been "crushed" by the blocks, even when he could simply fall or be pushed away.

For returning players, this may not be an issue since it is expected. However, this and other old school platforming mishaps are bound to frustrate newer players, as it is not exactly something that would be expected in a modern platformer. Anyone looking to step into Sonic Mania as their first experience with the Sonic the Hedgehog series should keep in mind that this is merely a part of the experience and not an unintended side effect.


Sonic Mania is a wholehearted tribute to the SEGA Genesis in terms of presentation. To say that alone is a bit unfair though, as the sprite art and graphics are beyond that of even Sonic CD. With a 16:9 ratio, solid 60 frames per second, and crisp HD sprites, Sonic Mania is basically what your nostalgia filled eyes remember the Genesis Sonic titles looking like rather than what they actually did.

Music in Sonic Mania feels very much like Sonic CD remixes of old songs, alongside new themes for the Mania exclusive stages. Tee Lopes's talents really give the game life, and the energy brought into the title by the soundtrack is something to be experienced to believe. Even alone, the songs are fun to bob your head alongside. A personal favorite of mine is the theme of the Hard-Boiled Heavies, as their boss stages pack quite a bit of energy in.

The second this theme starts playing,  you know you're in for a fun battle!

The Verdict

Sonic Mania brings Classic Sonic back. That's about the only way to summarize it. Between the enhanced Sonic CD-like graphics, music, and revamped Genesis gameplay, it would be a lie to say that this game isn't a true sequel to the original Sonic the Hedgehog titles. It is a must-have for Sonic the Hedgehog fans -- and a must-try for anyone who hasn't played a Sonic title in the past.

If you can forgive a couple of bumps and bruises from the game's old school engine, then this is a game you can't afford to miss out on. As such, Sonic Mania gets a solid 9/10.

Sonic Mania Releases Today Tue, 15 Aug 2017 11:37:30 -0400 Greyson Ditzler

Sonic Maniathe newest installment in the Sonic the Hedgehog series, as well as the newest 2D game in the series in quite some time, finally releases today.

Sonic Mania was not developed by Sonic Team, but was instead a joint effort between developers Headcannon, PagodaWest Games, and Christian "Taxman" Whitehead -- who served as the head programmer for the project. Whitehead was chosen for his past work in porting early entries in the Sonic series, such as the enhanced port of Sonic CD, and both Headcannon and PagodaWest games were chosen for their noteworthy work on quality Sonic fan games.  

The game will allow the player to take control of Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles as they adventure through 12 different zones, composed of re-visited classic levels, re-vamped classic levels with drastic changes, and a number of brand new zones never seen before in a Sonic game. The game also features a split-screen competitive multiplayer mode, as well as a "time attack" mode with online leaderboards, and two forms of bonus stages accessible in the main campaign.

Sonic Mania is available for download now for Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, and Xbox One, and will be available for PC on August 29th. It will cost $20 on all platforms.

Sonic Mania Better Recapture the Magic of These 4 Classic Sonic Games Thu, 03 Aug 2017 11:23:31 -0400 Adreon Patterson


Sonic CD


As the best-selling game on the ill-fated Sega CD, Sonic CD was a game-changer in the Classic Sonic era. 


Its high-quality soundtrack and brilliant visuals took everything about Sonic up a notch, and it received praise from critics and fans alike. Two features -- the time travel system and time attacks -- threw everyone for a loop in terms of gameplay. And pretty much everyone loved this fresh Sonic experience.


The game was so acclaimed and beloved that it influenced the Sonic comic series and subsequent Sonic releases.




The nostalgia of these games makes it even more apparent that Classic Sonic is needed in today's gaming world. There's nothing like a seeing a spinning blue ball revving up against beautiful 2D graphics, accompanied by a well-curated soundtrack. Hopefully, Sonic Mania can recapture the magic everyone's favorite blue hedgehog seems to have lost over the years.


What are your favorite Classic Sonic games? Do you think Sonic Mania can live up to the hype of long-time series fans? Let me know down in the comments!


Sonic the Hedgehog 3


The final chapter of the original Sonic trilogy was released in 1994, along with companion game Sonic and Knuckles. Upon its release, Sonic the Hedgehog 3 was praised for its amazing visuals, special stages, and sound effects.


Sonic 3 managed to expand upon Sonic 2's progression by using 3D in the special stages and introducing new, more elaborate zones and backgrounds. The game improved upon Sonic's mechanics in lieu of challenging zones like Carnival Night and Launch Base.


For many fans, this entry served as the apex of the Classic Sonic era.


Sonic the Hedgehog 2


As the sequel to the original Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was a blockbuster for Sega in the console wars against Nintendo and its iconic character, Super Mario. This game improved on everything from the original -- cinematic music, larger zones with colorful graphics, better mechanics, and of course, the introduction of Tails.


With the addition of Tails, a new feature was introduced to the game -- two-player mode. At the time of the game's release, this was revolutionary for the platformer genre. While the feature received mixed reviews, it set the stage for many Sonic games to come.


With a total of 6 million copies sold, this release's legend grew over the years from the momentum of the original, and is remembered as a worthy successor in the series.


Sonic the Hedgehog


Sonic Team and Sega owe a great deal to the OG game in the Sonic franchise, as it set the blueprint for the series while propelling the company into the big leagues of video gaming. In 1991, Sega released the game alongside its Genesis console to worldwide popularity that rivaled Nintendo's Super NES.


Upon its release, Sonic the Hedgehog was praised for its fast gameplay, colorful, detailed graphics, and amazing soundtrack.  At the time, Sonic was faster and brighter than Mario and allowed players to do more than run and jump in the platformer genre.


At 15 million in sales and a reputation as one of the greatest video games, Sonic's legacy is still felt in everything from gaming animal mascots to animation to comics to merchandising.


Words like "excited" and "overjoyed" can't begin to describe the hype for a new Sonic game featuring the old-school 2D blue hedgehog. When Sonic Team announced Sonic Mania's August release, every old-school fan lost their mind over the thought of seeing Sonic in the Green Hill Zone again.


Sonic Mania is a blessing for many older Sonic fans who have dreamt of getting to play 2D Sonic once again. Though Modern Sonic is great in his own way, old-school fans have felt cheated by the lack of control and personality of his 3D games. They've begged Sega and Sonic Team for years to release something in the vein of the original games that made them love the character in the first place. And those companies must've heard the fans' cries, as Classic Sonic is coming back just in time for the blue hedgehog's 25th anniversary.


As fans anticipate the release of Sonic Mania, Classic Sonic brings back childhood memories for many millennials. With all this Sonic nostalgia, let's have a look at some of the best of Classic Sonic games that we hope have inspired this throwback entry in the franchise. 

Sonic Forces vs. Sonic Mania - Which Will Bring Sonic Back? Mon, 17 Jul 2017 13:15:01 -0400 Adreon Patterson

With the 25th anniversary of Sonic, the franchise seems to be experiencing a renaissance rivaling Super Mario's during the late 2000's. 

As a video game icon, Sonic has been through his share of ups and downs since bursting onto the scene in 1991's Sonic the Hedgehog. Its initial peak came in 1994 with the back-to-back releases of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic and Knuckles. Even though everybody's favorite hedgehog soldiered on into the new millennium, Sonic's luster seemed to dull as releases became more frequent, with low visual quality and lazy gameplay. This seemed to coincide with Sonic's transition from side-scrolling 2D to open-world 3D. The love-hate mentality for 3D Sonic culminated in one of the most-loathed video games ever, the 2006 re-imagining of the original Sonic. However, the tide seemed to turn with recent releases of Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations.

Riding the recent wave of good reception - both critically and commercially - Sonic's home base, Sega, decided to give fans a double treat in 2017. They announced the release of nostalgia-filled Sonic Mania and generation-merging Sonic Forces. With these two releases, Sonic seems to be on the revival trail which fans and gamers alike have been awaiting for years. While the announcements elicited reactions of joy and excitement for fans and gamers, they did stir up an age-old debate within the fanbase: who's better - classic Sonic or modern Sonic?

A Nostalgia Trip with Sonic Mania

For old-school fans who have issues with modern Sonic, the arrival of Sonic Mania is the answer. It's a game made by fans for fans with Sonic Team recruiting the likes of Headcannon's Christian Whitehead and Simon Thomley and PagodaWest's Jared Kasi, Tom Fry and Tee Lopes.  In an interview with Metro UK's David Jenkins, Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka praised the game and the team stating:

The developer of Sonic Mania – from the music to the graphics and everything – they have a really deep love for classic pixelated Sonic games. So fans who really like those past titles will be really excited about this.

With those words, Iizuka seems to understand old-school fans' desire to return to the original side-scrolling Sonic. Sonic Mania manages to build on the 1990's games while revising, remixing and adding to an already sturdy foundation.

The game manages to look and play like the Sonic of many players' childhoods. Classic levels like Green Hill Zone and Chemical Plant are revised and expanded upon while new zones (some scrapped from previous games) are introduced in Mania like Studiopolis and Mirage Saloon. Players can play as Sonic, Tails or Knuckles at any level while allowing for better control of Sonic at slower speeds and fully realized Mode 7 effects reminiscent of old Super NES games.

Joining Forces in Sonic Forces

While Sonic Mania builds on nostalgia, Sonic Forces borrow from the past while pushing modern Sonic fans into the franchise's future. The game comes off as a direct descendant of Generations and Colors as it tries to correct the errors of Sonic Lost World and the Sonic Boom series. 

Forces allow the player to be both Modern and Classic Sonic while mixing it up between 2D and 3D levels like Generations. Wisp power-ups (a fan-favorite) are brought back from Colors along with the usual obstacles and elements of modern Sonic games. With tried-and-true elements in place, Sega decided to throw in a fan request years in the making -- a custom character. This is a response to years of fan-sent drawings of colorful woodland creatures to Iizuka.

Forces allow players to create a custom character equipped with different weapons courtesy of the Wisps. The character can even maneuver between side-scrolling 2D and dynamic 3D when in play.

The Great Debate: Classic Sonic versus Modern Sonic

With the facts in mind, these two releases seem to a signal a much-needed return to form for this video gaming icon. Double the Sonic should be a moment of rejoicing for the fanbase, right? But there seems to be a generational divide dampening the excitement a bit. By perusing online, one can see countless reviews and interviews where journalists seem to praise Mania while loathing or playing devil's advocate for Forces

While both games serve their purpose, as a fan of side-scrolling 2D Sonic, Mania suits the video game palette a little more. Bringing classic Sonic into the modern era seems the best way to pay tribute to the world's most celebrated hedgehog. Playing as both 2D and 3D Sonic, the original seems to be a lively, vibrant and capable friend while the modern version seems to be more of a passing stranger than an endearing buddy.  

The main complaint Forces has to combat (and seems to fall victim to) is the player is more passive than active when it comes to gameplay. Most of the time players only get called upon to hold the left stick forward, drain the boost, or use the jump button to attack enemies with the game doing most of the work for them. This seems to defeat the purpose playing a Sonic game. This consensus along with past game baggage is creating an uphill battle for the game, especially with old-school Sonic fans. 

As 3D Sonic still struggles to unite a divided fanbase, 2D Sonic has an endearing image that still translates 25 years later. Both old-school and new Sonic fans seem to crave the classic version as Iizuka mentions:

The target audience for Sonic Mania is the fans who like the Mega Drive from back in the day... But the surprising thing about Mania is that when we were conducting research, there’s like a voice from the kids that they actually like pixelated and 2D Sonic too. 

So the arrival of Mania comes right on time as the generations seem to love and adore the hedgehog in all his original side-scrolling, 2D glory. The transition from 2D to 3D has never been easy, and the reception of Mania and Forces seems to prove this. The consensus among fans and critics is that Sonic in 3D is less dynamic and player-friendly while classic Sonic is fun and thrilling in a 3D-dominated game world. 

For Sega, Sonic Mania is the best bet for a comeback with this being its 25th anniversary, the hands-on fan input, the craving for classic Sonic and the stamp of approval from Iizuka himself. 

Hopefully, Sonic Mania will be a runaway success and push Sega into restoring Sonic's tarnished legacy with more 2D releases in the future.

Which game do you think will be most successful in Sonic's return? Let us know by leaving a comment, and come back to GameSkinny for more Sonic information, news and views!

SEGA reveals Sonic Mania’s Chemical Plant Zone Thu, 08 Jun 2017 13:33:32 -0400 daisy_blonde

Today, SEGA of America announced the addition of the Chemical Plant Zone in their upcoming title Sonic Mania

The Chemical Plant Zone is a riff on the classic hazardous second area of Sonic 2 for the Genesis and Mega Drive. According to a SEGA press release, there have been a few changes to this incarnation of the stage:

Unlike Sonic 2’s version of Chemical Plant Zone, the new makeover in Sonic Mania features additional routes, new hazards, and other new surprises, plus an entirely original Act II that … few will see coming.

Sonic Mania will also have new zones in addition to revamps of classic zones and a new drop dash move for Sonic.

The game is being developed by Melbourne-based Christian Whitehead, Headcannon, and award-winning indie development team PagodaWest Games. Those attending E3 will get the chance to try out Sonic Mania at the SEGA/Atlus booth.

For more information on Sonic Mania, check out the official website, and as always, stay tuned to Game Skinny for more Sonic Mania news.

Nostalgia-Filled Sonic Mania Pre-Order Trailer Released Tue, 30 May 2017 18:21:43 -0400 Adreon Patterson

With Sonic Mania hitting a fever pitch, Sega released the pre-order trailer for the newest installment of the franchise today.

In the trailer, we see a child-like drawing of Sonic transform into the Sonic we all know. He whizzes through a 2D background reminiscent of Green Hill Zone, passing by two drones before leaping into the air with a group of little birds. From there, we witness a 2D Sonic move his way through the various classic levels as the scenes alternate between himself and friends Knuckles and Tails.

Once out of those scenes, drawn Sonic joins an impatient Knuckles and Tails by an elevator. The doors open and the trio goes inside before Sonic passes an "M" button, unleashing a color explosion. The explosion reveals the release date -- 8.15.17 -- followed by hand-drawn Sonic and Sonic Mania packaging.

As the trailer ends, Sonic (in his traditional blue and tan) smirks while the elevator doors close on the trio -- leaving fans with a lasting image of what they can expect from the upcoming game.

This new Sonic collaboration between Sega of America, Christian Whitehead, PagodaWest Games, and Headcannon will be launching later this year, on August 18th. Sonic Mania will be available digitally on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and the Nintendo Switch (and bonus: it's going to run at 60 FPS). 

Watch the new trailer for yourself above, and stay tuned to GameSkinny for more information as we draw closer to this highly anticipated launch!

Sonic Mania: Video Footage of Knuckles the Echidna Released Fri, 12 May 2017 12:29:05 -0400 Paige McGovern

On May 11, SEGA released new gameplay footage of Flying Battery Zone Act 1 from Sonic Mania, featuring Knuckles the Echidna. You can watch the video in the header above.

Sonic Mania is an upcoming game developed by SEGA of America, Headcannon, PagodaWest Games, and Christian Whitehead. It's expected to release this summer.

There has been a lot of hype for the game so far. This 2D throwback will feature the classic playstyle of the original Sonic the Hedgehog games, where players can play as either Sonic, Tails, or Knuckles in an adventure with brand-new zones, bosses, and character abilities. In addition, the game will run at a reported 60 FPS. 

If you're conflicted on whether to pick it up when it releases later this year, check out 3 Reasons Sonic Fans Should be Hyped for Sonic Mania.

The game will be available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, and the Nintendo Switch. You can pre-order the collector's edition today for $63 to $69, depending on your platform of choice. Buyers of this edition will receive:

  • A digital copy of the game for their chosen platform 
  • The collector's box
  • A 12" statue of Sonic with SEGA startup audio
  • A Metallic collector's card 
  • A SEGA cartridge cast with golden ring

To stay up to date on Sonic Mania's latest developments, stay tuned to GameSkinny.