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Sonic Mania Discussion (Nintendo Switch) [game]
 
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Welcome to the official discussion thread for Sonic Mania on the Switch!

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2D Sonic is back in an all-new adventure!

Play as Sonic, Tails, & Knuckles as you race through all-new Zones and fully re-imagined classics, each filled with exciting surprises and powerful bosses. Harness Sonic's new Drop Dash, Tails' flight, and Knuckles' climbing abilities to overcome the evil Dr. Eggman's robots. Discover a myriad of never-before-seen hidden paths and secrets!


Developed by Christian Whitehead, Headcannon, and PagodaWest Games in collaboration with SEGA of America, this all-new experience celebrates the best of Classic Sonic, pushing the envelope forward with stunning 60 FPS gameplay and pixel-perfect physics. Welcome to the next level for the world's fastest blue hedgehog. Welcome to Sonic Mania.


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Posted: 08/14/17, 20:54:39  - Edited by 
 on: 08/14/17, 21:02:25
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@Zero

I sort of feel the same way with how fast everything moves but then I just went with the flow and just simply enjoyed the crazy speeds at which I'm going without worrying about branching paths. The levels get much better and creative too. Feels like every new level keeps things fresh.
Posted: 08/18/17, 16:56:24
@Zero
A lot of people have that same issue that you have with the Sonic's gameplay direction being a bit off. I think it's essentially because speed and exploration are two concepts that are pretty much at odds with each other. And I know what you mean about not knowing which path to take--for instance, I'll come up to a fork and just have to pick "up" or "down" and go with it. As a completionist (I always go for the roads that lead to treasure first in RPG dungeons) it kind of drives me crazy not knowing where "that other path" went. But I'm trying to not dwell on that too much.

All that said, so far I feel that Sonic Mania does a better job at ironing out those annoyances than many of the games (even the older ones). But I had the same problem with the visual element of the enemies--for instance, those armored worms in Chemical Plant 2. They have kind of vaguely lumpy armor on 3 of their segments and the rest are bare blue spheres. It's unclear what's actually vulnerable on this critter, especially since its armor could be construed as spiky (it's sort of bumpy). As I found out the hard way, jumping on the armor part kills the creature while hitting its smooth, blue spheres deals damage to Sonic (goodbye, rings!).

I do theorize that the "flat" enemy you landed on may have been landed on when Sonic wasn't in his spin "form." When you hit certain stage elements (like the springboards), Sonic won't actually be spinning in midair, and you can't land on any enemy feet-first or else you'll take damage. The series has some kind of weird rules like that.

The next zone you'll play was one of my favorites. It's the first all-new zone in the game and they really ramped up the creativity.
Posted: 08/18/17, 17:56:28  - Edited by 
 on: 08/18/17, 17:57:55
TriforceBun said:
@Zero
A lot of people have that same issue that you have with the Sonic's gameplay direction being a bit off. I think it's essentially because speed and exploration are two concepts that are pretty much at odds with each other. And I know what you mean about not knowing which path to take--for instance, I'll come up to a fork and just have to pick "up" or "down" and go with it. As a completionist (I always go for the roads that lead to treasure first in RPG dungeons) it kind of drives me crazy not knowing where "that other path" went. But I'm trying to not dwell on that too much.
That's what subsequent playthroughs are for! But also, you can almost always backtrack and try the other path in Genesis Sonic games (which is one of the things post-Genesis Sonic mostly abandoned, both in 2D and 3D). Plus there's usually lots of organic interplay between the paths: take the top path and miss a jump, now you're on the bottom path...or take the bottom path and hit a half-pipe with lots of speed, get flung up to the top path. You can change lanes pretty frequently in these games.


TriforceBun said:
All that said, so far I feel that Sonic Mania does a better job at ironing out those annoyances than many of the games (even the older ones). But I had the same problem with the visual element of the enemies--for instance, those armored worms in Chemical Plant 2. They have kind of vaguely lumpy armor on 3 of their segments and the rest are bare blue spheres. It's unclear what's actually vulnerable on this critter, especially since its armor could be construed as spiky (it's sort of bumpy). As I found out the hard way, jumping on the armor part kills the creature while hitting its smooth, blue spheres deals damage to Sonic (goodbye, rings!).
Yeah those guys aren't the best design. Their heads are vulnerable, their bodies will hurt you. Their bodies do emit a painful-looking gas as they float around, but only in intervals, so you think "maybe I can hit them when they're not gassing?" and you would be wrong.
Posted: 08/18/17, 19:06:34
I think I've come to the conclusion that I really have no idea what makes a Sonic game "good" and what makes a Sonic game "bad." At least when it comes to the 2D games.

Like, this Sonic Mania game is fine, but I'm not really seeing how it's anymore or less good than the Genesis games. Or the Sonic Advance games. Or the Sonic Rush games. Heck, I even fired up Sonic Generations yesterday on my 3DS, and I'll be honest. I was having about as much "fun" playing that as I have been with Mania.

Which...is to say, yes. The games are enjoyable. But a lot of the same complaints others have voiced still mark this franchise as a "lesser" series in my eyes. Too much disorienting gameplay, lack of direction, out-of-nowhere damage taken and far too much reliance on "trial-and-error" when it comes to progression. And especially more so for exploration.

How this series became some kind of rival for Super Mario is beyond me. The two series are nowhere near the same level of quality or polish.

That said? It's still enjoyable. There's something to be said for the full-out zaniness of not just the "does in no way make any kind of logical sense" level design, that bonkers set-up for the story/presentation (a staple for videogames of the '80s and '90s!) and honestly, even the music. I mostly remember the music of Sonic from the first game, and I remember it being...okay? But not great. Green Hill Zone is memorable, but not necessarily in a good way (to me). Marble Zone was just boring to listen to. I can't even remember the rest. Casino Zone, maybe? Blah.

But these new remixes (and maybe new tracks altogether?) in Mania are actually pretty good. I dig the theme for the Chemical Plant Zone. It's groovy, dood!

So yeah, so far the game lands squarely in the "okay" realm for me. Good? Eh...sure. I guess. Great? No way. But still worth playing and for the $20 price for download? Go for it, if you're feeling nostalgic. I still feel Mega Man 9 did the best retro-revival of a classic series brought to the modern market (maybe tied with Pac-Man Championship Edition). Even better than Nintendo did with the Super Mario series, in fact. For me, Sonic Mania falls below the NEW Super Mario Bros. games, but definitely above that Bionic Commando reboot. And maybe even above the Crash N-Sane Trilogy...that collection is just the PSOne games, right? But with much better graphics? At least Sonic Mania does something NEW.

I'll put some more time into it...but I'm going to put it on hold for now so I can focus on Backlaugust. And maybe by the time I return to it, patches for the bugs/glitches in the game will have been addressed. (for the record, I haven't run into them myself) Cheers!
Posted: 08/18/17, 19:28:10
GameDadGrant said:
How this series became some kind of rival for Super Mario is beyond me.

AGREED.

But let's be honest, it's more that Sega was a rival and Sonic was their big thing so it was MARKETED as a rival. Doubt it would have been seriously considered a rival head to head otherwise.
Posted: 08/19/17, 03:04:04
I gave up on you guys having good taste long ago, so it's all good!


Finished the game tonight as Sonic + Tails. And now, to patiently await the Steam release so I can play through it again as Knuckles...and Tails. And Sonic again. And probably Knuckles again. And then maybe I'll take a break from the game for a few months.

The last three returning zones were kind of head-scratchers, as choices go. Like, I really can't imagine anybody was clamoring for the return of --- Lava Reef ---, or especially --- Oil Ocean ---. And while I like the gimmicks in Metallic Madness, it's not one of the more memorable Zones either. Just wouldn't have expected any of these three to be brought back in this type of "best of" project, let alone all three of them, in sequence, near the end of the game.

As fun and as nicely remixed as the classic stages are, the highest points of the game were undoubtedly the brand new Zones. If we get a Sonic Mania 2, I hope it's all new stuff.
Posted: 08/19/17, 08:13:38
@nate38

I'm not that far so I won't look under the spoiler tags but from some things I saw in someone's pretty damn spoilery video review, there's a zone that returns that I honestly liked a lot. So I'm curious if it's one of the ones you were unsure on the desire for.
Posted: 08/19/17, 14:42:23
Posted: 08/19/17, 17:37:02  - Edited by 
 on: 08/19/17, 17:37:27
@nate38

Heh, I know this conversation is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but I feel like there are a few fairly simple things they could do to Sonic to make a big difference. I had mentioned the telegraphing before but it makes things a little too trial-and-error. Look at this plant guy--



He looks totally bonk-able! I mean, not in the teeth of course, but that smooth, round top. This is the series that lets you stand on sideways spikes, after all! If he was meant to deal damage to Sonic from every angle, why not have him be spiky all over?? Very simple visual change that'd make all the difference. This extends to a lot of little traps like the burners in Oil Ocean. They seem to be (mis)timed to where if you aren't familiar with them, you'll jump right onto the flame as the platform shoots up without your expecting it. Kind of like how Mario Maker had that issue with Piranha Plants popping out at the exact wrong blind spot moment!

I will say this though--despite those iffy traps, when Sonic gets going, it feels great. It's very exhilarating to play it well and reach secrets and rings and junk. The surreal stages have a lot of appeal and I was enjoying that Sonic 2 Zone a lot when I played through it earlier today. It makes me really want to see Nintendo and Sega team up on a Sonic game so they can tighten up those weird little gameplay niggles and keep the spectacle intact.

If pressed, I'd almost say Sonic Mania is sort of on the same level as NSMB, but for opposite reasons. While NSMB had tight mechanics and level design, it suffered from bland presentation and playing it safe. Sonic Mania has a lot of creativity and excitement in its stages, but I'd like a bit more polish on the gameplay front.
Posted: 08/19/17, 17:37:56
@TriforceBun

I never noticed that before but when Sonic spirals down that pillar, he switches between Tails and Knuckles. Neat.

Also I agree about certain enemies not having great visual cues about the ones you can or can't hit. Though I guess they're so few and then you learn them that it quickly becomes a non-issue.
Posted: 08/19/17, 18:07:04
@DrFinkelstein Which Zone is the one that got spoiled and now you're looking forward to it?

@TriforceBun Yeah I agree with all that. Sonic Mania in particular has an issue with unclear enemy interaction rules. The one that really comes to mind is the spider boss in Flying Battery. It looks huge and menacing, but most of its body is completely intangible: it doesn't do any damage to you and you can walk right behind it. And then when you hit it, its intangibility window is incredibly unclear, and you end up trying to hit it again and go right through it (and into spikes). Maybe that one's more of a problem in co-op than singleplayer, but my friends were having a bit of a hard time with it.

Also, the Death Egg Robot at the end of Green Hill Zone 2 apparently doesn't do any damage to you if you walk underneath it. Which not only doesn't make sense, it's also completely different than it was in Sonic 2.


@VofEscaflowne That's an effect they put into the trailer with some cute editing.
Posted: 08/19/17, 18:58:06  - Edited by 
 on: 08/19/17, 19:28:42
@GameDadGrant I'd be curious about whether or not you've played Freedom Planet: also known as the best 2D sonic game ever.
Posted: 08/19/17, 20:47:42
@pokepal148 Haven't seen anything new on Freedom Planet 2 in a while. Definitely looking forward to that.

I'm been curious about Spark the Electric Jester too, but the reviews say it runs poorly on a lot of PCs that should have no problem with it.
Posted: 08/19/17, 22:11:52
I read a pretty great article a couple weeks ago about how Sonic the Hedgehog games are designed "incorrectly," which is why they're so fascinating to me. I really want to dig in and try to figure out what it is people love about this series.
Posted: 08/19/17, 22:26:00
@Secret_Tunnel

"The genius who helped create Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl” and Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space”, referred to Lorde’s song Green Light as “incorrect songwriting”. He saw its early key change, weird melodics and the lack of drums until the chorus kicks in, as improper. “It wasn’t an insult, just a statement of fact,” said Lorde. “It’s a strange piece of music.”"

Kind of sounds like the most correct way to make music to me but what do I know.

Sometimes I wonder if half of the point of being an indie dev is to break all of the "rules", but then again my game is pretty traditional in many ways, and if I break many "rules" it's probably in bad, accidental ways.

Sonic is weird though. I'm not sure it will ever totally make sense to me.
Posted: 08/19/17, 23:38:54  - Edited by 
 on: 08/19/17, 23:40:33
Good grief guys. It's been over 25 years. You gotta get over your childhood resentment of those "Sega does what Nintendon't" ads, already. The game's great. Don't compare it to Mario. You're not cheating on Nintendo. Just enjoy it.

One thing that I think casual Sonic players misunderstand about the series, though: Yeah, there's quite a lot of try-and-die elements in the game, but that's part of the design. These games came from an era where there wasn't a new game every week. Most of us had only a few games, and we might play the same game for months and months at a time. So it was reasonable to expect the player to become incredibly familiar with the lay of the land.

Sonic sort of incorporated this into its structure - the levels had multiple paths and rewarded exploration, but they could still be completed relatively easy once you learned the geography. I hear people complain that they get going and then smash into something - well, that's part of the discovery. You're expected to learn the level as you go so you don't make that same mistake next time. It's a largely discredited style of game design - but it's not born from SEGA's incompetence. If you didn't have those weird stops, then Sonic really would be a game that just played itself.

That's also why the ring system is such a stroke of genius. As long as you can hang on to at least a single ring, you don't have to worry if you run into someone. That encourages you to move fast, but helps you recover if you run into something. Remember it for next time and jump or pump the breaks. Once you get the hang of the level, you can really burn rubber and make it look easy. Then you can chase the Chaos Emeralds and get even more life out of the game. That's the whole design philosophy.

No one really makes games like that, nowadays, because we don't have the patience for learning levels that intimately and everyone's got a 40 game backlog they're itching to get to. Different times call for different styles of games. Which is fine. But let's not act like millions of kids worldwide were just deluded into liking a rotten game. It may not measure up to Mario, but it was still a great series.
Posted: 08/20/17, 09:29:41
@kriswright

Have you played Sonic Mania yet Kris?
Posted: 08/20/17, 16:20:30
@kriswright

Goodness gracious, dude. It's been 25 years. Ya gotta get over your childhood nostalgia for Sonic. Just because you were able to squeeze some enjoyment out of a troublesome game design when you were 10, doesn't mean you have to put up with it as an adult. Don't disregard the improvements and advancements in game design that have been made over the years. You're not betraying SEGA. You've just evolved and are able to recognize poor decisions when you see them.

Don't be confused and think some of us here are put off by trial-and-error gameplay. A good lot of us are Mega Man fans, and that series is well known for that kind of game design. The difference is, Mega Man's gameplay isn't hindered by the main character's powers. The game is *built around* his abilities and shortcomings, and challenges the player the learn what those are and use them to work through the adventure. Sonic, on the other hand, gives the player certain abilities (to be honest, *AN ABILITY*) and instead of building a game around that ability for the player to use to his or her advantage, the player is instead punished for it. Sonic is a character that is all about speed. Right? But each time you get the Blue Blur going, you're either punished by hitting something you had no idea was coming, or the action gets too fast that you have no idea what is going on, and the game kinda ends up playing itself. Which, to be fair, is kinda cool the first time you play. It's cool eye candy. But it does NOT make for good game design.

By comparison, Mega Man has stage design that is perfectly suited for his capabilities. The player can usually see what is coming and see what they have to do in order to progress, and it is up to their skill level whether or not they can proceed. Sonic on the other hand? You gotta die and restart multiple times before you have any clue what to do. I guess that can appeal to players that kind of enjoy a rogue-like, kinda grindy experience. But let's be honest with ourselves. That is NOT going to appeal to everyone.

And while we are being honest? I'm pretty sure no one here has said it was a bad game. I've had my gripes with it, but even I said the game is good. Not great...but good! Don't be too offended if there are people taking shots at your childhood favorites (trust me, as a primarily portable gaming fan, I've had shots taken at my childhood favorites more than once around here) - it's just people expressing their opinions. And also...uh, yeah. We're on a Nintendo fan forum. You can't tell me you're surprised several people around here aren't Sonic mega-fans, right?

Different people like different kinds of games. It's cool that you and @nate38 enjoy this series, and I hope our talking about them here hasn't negatively affected your opinions about this latest entry...or the people commenting on it. On a personal level, I just get frustrated when a game punishes you for doing what the game is effectively telling you to do. "Go fast Sonic! ....oh you went fast? Ha ha, bet you didn't see that series of spikes you just crashed into, because they popped out of the ground, had no indication that was going to happen, and you were going too fast to do anything about it anyway! Better luck next time, sucker!"

It'd be like getting punished every time you shot a robot in Mega Man. You're SUPPOSED to shoot your enemies in that game, why would you get punished for doing that? Sonic punishes you for going fast. Doesn't make sense. Also for the record, I'm not against trial-and-error games. Even today. I recently played a game called Cursed Castilla that was basically all trial-and-error. You can see how many times I died in that game. But it wasn't frustrating like Sonic is. All failure was my lack of skill. Not my lack of knowing every inch of the landscape prior to going through it.

I dunno. Anyway, don't take it too personally man. Sonic Mania *is* a good game! And hey, who knows, maybe some of us will come around on it. But some of us have legit gripes about it. Don't be confused thinking that it comes from some (admittedly brilliant) marketing done in the 1990's. We're all adults here, we know good games when we see them. Doesn't mean we can't be critical about them. Cheers!

@pokepal148

I feel like I bought that game...maybe during an 'Indie Humble Bundle' sale? If I did, I never played it. Did it ever come to 3DS? A lot of those games hit both the Wii U and 3DS, and were "cross-buy" titles.
Posted: 08/20/17, 17:04:43
I disagree with @kriswright.

Sonic absolutely measures up to Mario. Stop talking bad about Sonic, Kris, you jerk!


@GameDadGrant I don't think Freedom Planet was in any of the "Nindie" bundles, but it was in a few Humble Bundles for PC. And there's no 3DS version, only Wii U.
Posted: 08/20/17, 17:39:53  - Edited by 
 on: 08/20/17, 17:42:07
I've never felt punished for going fast in Sonic Mania. The issue definitely arises in older Sonic games (particularly the GBA games), but I feel it has been ironed out in Mania.
Posted: 08/20/17, 17:55:59
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