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Sonic Mania Discussion (Nintendo Switch) [game]
 
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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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Ug, just F these "special" stages you need to do to get the chaos emeralds. Play through an entire stage, get to it, get 1 chance, fail, keep doing it over and over. And the gameplay is completely different from the regular game so it feels weird and awkward.

Buh.
Posted: 09/04/17, 03:12:43  - Edited by 
 on: 09/04/17, 07:43:44
@Zero


tldw you can farm Emeralds by going to a special stage ring you're familiar with (preferably near the beginning of a Zone), give it a shot, and then exit to menu afterwards and go get it again.
Posted: 09/04/17, 04:15:51
@nate38

I mean, sure. But the whole point of the Chaos Emeralds is to reward mastery of the game. Complaining that you couldn't get them all the first time is like complaining that you didn't have the chance to complete Star Road the first time through Super Mario World. It was always an added bonus for replay value.
Posted: 09/04/17, 04:19:45
@kriswright True, but I don't think Zero is actually interested in mastering the game. I think he just wants to see the "true" ending (not that it adds much besides a pretty tough boss battle).


As for me, I got all the Chaos Emeralds...three times over! Once as each character, exploring all the levels pretty thoroughly as each. So I think I'm ready to give the game a rest for a while.

Obviously I liked the game quite a lot and will be returning to it frequently over the years, but the best thing about Sonic Mania is its success will probably lead to more classic Sonic games from this fan-dev collective, and hopefully Sega will have confidence in them to leave out the remixed classic stages. Because while the returning stages are fun, the new stages are the game's best parts for sure.

On the other hand, the game probably would have taken a lot longer to make if all the stages were brand new. Even a lot of the "new" gimmicks are elements from the old games that have been reskinned and repurposed. Still, the stuff that was all-new was mostly excellent, and it would be worth the wait to get 100% original levels from these guys.


So with that...time to rank all the Zones!

#12 Oil Ocean -- Still surprised they brought this one back. Not terrible, the Act 2 gimmick is kinda creative, but the bosses are both more frustrating than fun.
#11 Stardust Speedway -- This stage has always been more about speed than exploration, which is less my style.
#10 Hydrocity -- The original version is one of my favorites, but this is probably the least creative of the remixes.
#9 Lava Reef -- Not a lot of new stuff here either (makes sense that they brought the Quartz Quadrant treadmills in I suppose), Knuckles' boss intro was pretty funny though.
#8 Green Hill -- Not particularly flashy, just a solid remix of a classic.
#7 Flying Battery -- One of the more polished remix zones, but the boss is kinda whack.
#6 Titanic Monarch -- Can't put my finger on why this one didn't impress me as much as the other original zones. Something about the audiovisual style didn't feel Sonic-y to me, I think.
#5 Metallic Madness -- Unexpectedly good remix, love the gimmick where you go into the background. Epic sax solo, cool boss.
#4 Chemical Plant -- Best of the remixes, love the chemicals going from water to flubber in Act 2, also that boss reference.
#3 Studiopolis -- Best casino-ish stage in the series, awesome presentation in general.
#2 Press Garden -- Cool creative theme executed very well, love the music.
#1 Mirage Saloon -- Not a fan of Sonic/Tails Act 1, but Knuckles Act 1 is great. Act 2 is so good, music is sick, boss is fanservice...instant classic.
Posted: 09/04/17, 04:44:27
@nate38

I think that might have been a grope I had with Sonic 3 (although given how the game is structured it makes sense.) Namely getting all the Chaos Emeralds doesn't require you to hunt down and locate all the specific secret rings, but rather you have multiple op[portunities to get the Emeralds. I'm not overly a fan of that sort of loose design.

But then I don't think Sonic gave you a level replay option like Mario does so you can't exactly go back if you miss a ring. Still, it kind of makes finding a ring a little less special.
Posted: 09/04/17, 04:46:26
Shadowlink said:
@nate38
I think that might have been a grope I had with Sonic 3
Posted: 09/04/17, 04:48:39
Posted: 09/04/17, 04:52:09
Well I got all the emeralds and got to the "true" end boss and died and then thought I really don't want to play through 2 stages (including 2 bosses) just to get a few more chances at the true end boss so... so I shut it off. I'll probably try again but maybe I will never get back to it.

I know this is an "old school" kickback or whatever but does anyone actually enjoy having to play the same levels over again when they die?!

@kriswright Reward... mastery of the game? But you get them by doing completely different gameplay than the core gameplay of the game!
Posted: 09/04/17, 06:17:19  - Edited by 
 on: 09/04/17, 07:43:22
@nate38

Nice list! Here's my thoughts on each level, in the order you put them. I don't really want to rank them, because they sort of fall into tiers for me. I'd probably say that my bottom three belong together (with a clear loser) some good levels in the middle, and then about 4 or 5 worlds vying for the top spot.

I agree with putting Oil Ocean where it is. Stage 2's mechanic was ripped straight from the sand level in Sonic 3K, and it wasn't very fun there, either. An okay level

Sonic CD's grassy brassy zone was a lot of fun, with great music. I'm okay with having a more speed based level. Great stuff.

I've played Hydro City Zone a lot in my failed attempts of getting through past Sonic games, so it's one of the levels I'm most familiar with. It's one of the better water levels I've played, but nothing special; Mania didn't change things up enough to make it stand out. I'm kind of tired of it, since it doesn't feel as replayable as most other levels. Act 2's boss was super cool.

Big Momma's Mad Magma Mansion didn't leave much of an impression on me, other than the nice change of scenery between acts 1 and 2. Bottom tier, but still good.

Green Hill Zone is one of those levels that feels timeless to me. Even back when I hated 2D Sonic, I could always load up Green Hill and have a good time.

I hated flying battery zone in the past, so this redo of it is a massive improvement in my book. Very well done.

Titanic Monarch is my least favorite by far. The spinning purple orb mechanic was dull, slow, and uninteresting. Both levels (especially the last one) are too long for their own good. It's a painful combination of lackluster mechanics with a bloated runtime. For the love of god, do NOT get a game over on the boss.

Metallic Madness is probably at the lower end of that big "good" tier. It's a good level that's fun overall. It's got two great bosses as well. I don't particularly care for either of it's marquee mechanics, which I feel are unnecessary recontextualizations of the core gameplay. They don't really add anything; they just change the visuals. Both bosses are pretty dang cool though.

Never been much of a fan of Chemical Plant Zone. The remixed first act has a good start, but gets bogged down with boring underwater block jumping. And after you finish that mind-numbing section, you try to pick up some speed and get on with the game. But then you're caught off guard by the floor disappearing from beneath you, which drops you back at the start of the block climbing section. It's not fun. The second act is pretty nice and puts its goop to good use. But all I can think of when Chemical Plant zone comes to mind is that tedious underwater section. At least the boss of act 2 was an exciting surprise that wasn't spoiled for me.

Studiopolis Zone is probably my second favorite stage below the next one on your list. And I'd say it's the level that really got me to fall in love with this game. It's looks and sounds great, plays super smooth, and offers a nice amount of exploration. Everything you want from a Sonic level. The only drawback for me is that the boss battle of act 2 can be frustrating to control.

Paperboy 3 zone is my favorite Sonic level. It's got nice mechanics that compliment the core gameplay, the stage looks and sounds gorgeous, and it's super smooth to play. I love the transition from act 1 to 2 as well. Being caught up in the production pipeline of some natural resource reminds me of Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze, which will ALWAYS earn you brownie points in my book. In short, this is the fun of Sonic in its distilled form.

Texas pete's rootin tootin saloon zone would be among my favorites if it weren't for Sonic's lackluster version of Act 1. Knuckle's take on the level is okay, if unmemorable. Act 2 is great stuff and I love the boss. But the quality of its latter zone can't make up for the lacking first act. It's probably dead center in my rankings, if maybe a little lower.

After talking about these levels, I feel the urge to beat this game a fourth time.
Posted: 09/04/17, 06:25:26  - Edited by 
 on: 09/04/17, 06:26:15
@TriforceBun

LOL.

OK I'm leaving that there.

(For anyone confused, I clearly meant to type 'gripe'.)
Posted: 09/04/17, 06:25:33
Hydro City Zone is the one that I got frustrated with in Sonic... 3 was it? and quit and never went back to the game over. I trudged through it here but it was definitely one of my least favorite zones. Sonic and water just don't work well together in my opinion.

/EDIT I decided to give the TRU ENDING another shot and beat it, so I'm done. A pretty great game, can definitely say that despite some of my complaints it grew on me and I think I "get" Sonic a bit better now. It's only the second 2D Sonic game that I've finished (Rush is the other) but it's definitely my favorite.

But I don't feel the need to play it with Knuckles or anything. Moving on.
Posted: 09/04/17, 06:32:57  - Edited by 
 on: 09/04/17, 07:45:02
@nate38
Hah! A highly appropriate use of that classic Sonic clip.

I will rank the zones soon.

@Zero
Of the complaints I have about Sonic, I don't mind redoing stages. I like having a penalty for dying, and I think most players would agree. The difference is where on the gradient the punishment should be placed--immediate revival? Last checkpoint? Beginning of last stage? Beginning of last world? Etc. Beginning of the zone seems fine to me for a Game Over, although I haven't taken an attempt at the final boss yet.
Posted: 09/04/17, 08:19:24
It's not even like the TRUE FINAL ENDING boss is that tough, but like most bosses it takes a bit to figure out what you're doing. And as Nate mentions above, that world is just overlongggggg. Of course, once you have Super Sonic you can get through it quicker, but still, it's probably going to be a good 15-20 minutes getting through the world + 2 bosses in order to get another couple shots at the true end one.

And to be honest it really feels rather pointless to me. There is a reason why "Game Over" is slowly being phased out of modern game design. What do we actually gain by having to replay a bunch of stuff we already beat just to try something new again? It's just tedious.

With that said the game I'm developing has a game over, but I purposely made it so that once you get to the end you will probably be able to get past it without much trouble, and you can also have saved up quite a bit of continues by then...
Posted: 09/04/17, 18:40:25  - Edited by 
 on: 09/04/17, 18:41:02
Zero said:
@kriswright Reward... mastery of the game? But you get them by doing completely different gameplay than the core gameplay of the game!
Rewarding mastery not in the actual minigame, in the finding of the giant warp rings (the reward being more chances to get super before the end of the game, or as early as Chemical Plant). I would say it's rewarding exploration more than "mastery," but it does take some slick maneuvers to get to them sometimes. Or if you consider a knowledge of the stages "mastery" then I suppose that works.

Hero_Of_Hyrule said:
Titanic Monarch is my least favorite by far. The spinning purple orb mechanic was dull, slow, and uninteresting. Both levels (especially the last one) are too long for their own good. It's a painful combination of lackluster mechanics with a bloated runtime. For the love of god, do NOT get a game over on the boss.

Never been much of a fan of Chemical Plant Zone. The remixed first act has a good start, but gets bogged down with boring underwater block jumping. And after you finish that mind-numbing section, you try to pick up some speed and get on with the game. But then you're caught off guard by the floor disappearing from beneath you, which drops you back at the start of the block climbing section. It's not fun. The second act is pretty nice and puts its goop to good use. But all I can think of when Chemical Plant zone comes to mind is that tedious underwater section. At least the boss of act 2 was an exciting surprise that wasn't spoiled for me.
Yeah I think bloat is the right word for Big King Zone. I generally like the pieces of it, it just has too many pieces. I like the Sonic 3 Special Stage orbs making an appearance in a main game, but they showed up in unnecessary places (like in corridors right before warps, or when they're all bunched together). And I liked the vertical shafts where the major platforming gimmicks of the stage were combined into one big maneuver (use the orb to swing up to the diagonal-springs that were rising and falling on the pistons). But overall the stage was just too...much. Another big culprit I think is the back-to-start warps in Act 2. Each of those four sections is plenty long even if you just run through them clean, they didn't need to be made longer with that gimmick.

As for Chemical Plant, I think that section came back precisely because it was so infamous. The devs said they wanted the returning Act 1s to be a sort of "greatest hits" of the original Zone, and the thing people remember about Chemical Plant is that exact section, for better or (mostly) worse. I wouldn't have minded seeing it left out myself.

But yeah, I waver between those top two Zones as my favorite in the game. Paperboy 3 Zone didn't immediately grab me my first time (aside from the music) but it's grown on me more and more with each play. I love the press/treadmill pieces, which are maybe my favorite completely new addition to the game. They have that perfect dynamic of encumbering at first but empowering when mastered. Fun fact, the developers used codenames for the game's Zones to obfuscate any potential leaks, and the codename for that zone was the inexplicably hilarious Backyard Dad Zone.

Zero said:
Hydro City Zone is the one that I got frustrated with in Sonic... 3 was it? and quit and never went back to the game over. I trudged through it here but it was definitely one of my least favorite zones. Sonic and water just don't work well together in my opinion.
The thing I love about Hydrocity is that it's a water-themed level with only one required water section in the beginning of Act 1 (and that's skippable by Tails and Knuckles both, maybe even Sonic I'm not sure). Plus the moving-wall start of Act 2 if you count that. Everything else is either a very quick dip or completely bypassed with a quick reaction, or a boss. But then I also like Sonic in the water just fine, so it's no big deal when I fall in.
Posted: 09/05/17, 22:21:01  - Edited by 
 on: 09/05/17, 22:26:00
@nate38 But you don't really have to find the giant warp rings, you can just find one and keep going back to it like I did.
Posted: 09/06/17, 01:51:43
TheOldManFromZelda said:
I'm happy I got this game.

The other 2d Sonic games always felt too difficult for me. And some of the stages were just too punishing (any water stage). Or too long (3 acts to a zone?).

This feels just right. Only two stages to a zone, neat bosses at the end of every stage, and not super punishing level design (besides the cheap getting crushed mechanics that still exist with those rotating blocks...).

Lots of fun and neat hidden areas and multiple paths. Oh, not a lot of water, either!!

UPDATE: I got to the water levels, and was instantly reminded why I hate Sonic games.
Posted: 09/06/17, 17:00:19
@nate38

Chemical Plant Zone, Act 1 was a great Emerald farming spot for me. You can get to the special stage in less than a minute by hitting the four-way tube and going left.
Posted: 09/06/17, 19:41:43
@TheOldManFromZelda RIGHT. SONIC WATER LEVELS SUCK HARD.
Posted: 09/06/17, 23:35:28
My ranking of the zones:

12. Lava Reef Zone - None of the levels are bad, but this was the one I was least excited to play through in each of my runs through the game. It feels overly stop-and-go, the rock monster gimmick is dull and it's got the most boring visuals in the game, IMO.

11. Green Hill Zone - It's not bad, but it felt very safe and done to death.

10. Titanic Monarch Zone - Kind of tedious to navigate; the orbs are a pretty cool idea, there were just too many of 'em. The final boss feels a little half-baked with the sudden fights against the Hard-Boiled Heavies and their equally sudden endings.

09. Hydrocity Zone - I didn't mind it too much for a water level. It goes by pretty fast and generally keeps you moving, which was nice. At the same time, I think it actually pales in comparison to the original by not really adding much.

08. Stardust Speedway Zone - It's a cool zone in general and I really like the transition and idea into Act 2. But the enemy selection is frustrating and not designed all that well; same with the kind-of-cool-but-kind-of-weird showdown against Metal Sonic.

07. Metallic Madness Zone - Sonic CD's stages were both pretty good. I like this level's soundtrack and it's (admittedly gimmicky) hook. Some of the enemies are pesky, but it has the excuse of being late in the game at least.

06. Flying Battery Zone - One stage that really grew on me in subsequent playthroughs. Flows well once you realize the (unintuitive) controls for the propellers. I like the atmosphere of Act 2 and the inside/outside approach.

05. Press Garden Zone - This is a cool stage and I especially enjoy the second act's eclectic mix of themes, but Act 1 is just too sluggish for my tastes. I know Sonic games are about platforming, but the momentum-based controls make segments like jumping on the letter cubes too finicky for their own good.

04. Oil Ocean Zone - I was surprised to find this one so unpopular; I quite enjoyed it, as I've always enjoyed it in Sonic 2. The oil is a really neat gimmick that isn't quite quicksand and isn't quite a bottomless pit, and the game takes it to fun places in both acts. I enjoyed the Mega Man-style submarine rooms that provided little bite-sized, focused bits.

03. Mirage Saloon Zone - Both of the normal acts in this one are among the best in Sonic Mania; neat level elements, strong design and theme and platforming/speed pacing that keeps things interesting through the end (plus a great boss!). But I have to knock it down a bit for that rather rough Sonic/Tails Act 1. The plane stuff just doesn't feel great to play, and the level design is iffy to boot.

02. Chemical Plant Zone - Another Sonic 2 zone I got a kick out of. On the one hand, the couple of blind jumps and hard-to-see flippy platforms are annoying. On the other, there's a great remix of the music and a ton of neat chemical-y ideas in Act 2, and both acts are fast and fun throughout. Throw in a surprise boss fight and you've got a winner.

01. Studiopolis Zone - Probably one of the best Sonic zones ever! Full of detail, lots of speedy and platforming moments and plenty of secrets make for a new "Spring Yard"-style classic. The weather boss is a creative one as well.
Posted: 09/07/17, 04:48:54
@TriforceBun

Nice! Good to see you get in on the ranking! I'm curious what scores you and Nate would give each of the Genesis games (plus Mania), since they're not rated in either of your backlogs. It'd be neat to see how more veteran fans place it relative to the original titles.
Posted: 09/07/17, 05:05:01
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