Sonic Mania + Vinyl OST Review
I got a bit excited back in 2016 when I heard that a new Sonic game will come out. I never actually liked Sonic, but last year I was in a “Retro Mode” on because of my purchase of my first Sega MegaDrive console. Also because of my passion for game design I wanted to learn more about the old games, analyze them a bit better. Last year I also bought Sega Archives by Imagine Publishing book and I also started to read about about the “war” between Nintendo and Sega that happened in the 90s. I was fascinated.
Not only that, but as some of you know last year I started to collect vinyls. On of the vinyls that was on my “must purchase list” was the OST from Streets of Rage 2. I will talk more about SoR2 OST in another article, but that SoR2 OST Vinyl release was made by data-disc. That vinyl was sold out for 1+ years but they announced a re-press set for release in the summer of 2017. When that date was approaching, data-disc announced a release of the Sonic Mania OST. I was a little bit intrigued but I decided to listen to the first and only song that was released (at that time). It was this song:
I was hooked. That piano sound combined with a little bit of retro sound… I started to think if I should really order the vinyl based solely on only one track. But I decided to go for it and I ordered the Limited Edition of Sonic Mania OST and the Streets of Rage 2 OST on clear vinyl.
read more below
This is how the vinyl looks. It looks and sounds incredible! However one really small disappointment is that the vinyl does not have all the songs. After all a vinyl can store 44 minutes at 33 RPM while the Sonic Mania OST is around 1 hour and 48 minutes. However the selections of the songs that were picked for the vinyl work really well. If you want to listen to the whole OST I recommend you this video.
So enough about the music. Let’s talk about the game!
I started this article by saying that I “never really liked Sonic”. Why was that? Well I always found it a bit confusing. On top of that I never had a console so I could really “try” the game and get into it so I always preferred other games. Sonic encouraged me to “move fast” but we also had enemies. Do I have to stop to kill the enemies? On top of that we also had a lot of rings. Do I need to get all those rings? What’s the purpose exactly besides reaching the end of the level? It also didn’t seemed that those mechanics worked great together. If I go fast… I miss monsters … if I go fast I miss rings… what the hell is going on?
So before I bought Sonic Mania I decided to actually ask this question on the internet. “What is the purpose of Sonic?”. Surprisingly people didn’t made fun on me and they told me this. Rings and monsters are not really important. What is important is to have at least 1 ring on you because if you get hit you will not lose a life. If you have no rings on you and you get hit, you lose one of the 3 lifes that you start with.
I was also told that the level design is made in such a way that you have multiple paths to the end of the level and usually the top part of the level is more rewarding.
With that in mind I started my Sonic Mania journey!
I quickly found out some elements that I didn’t liked that much. The fact that you have lives. The fact that you have a timer. When the 10 minute mark hits, you lose a life.
The levels are structured into 2 acts. So each level has Act 1 & Act 2. If you get a Game Over (if you lose all your lives) in Act 2, you have to start from the beginning of the act and for me this was ALWAYS the case. I always started a new Level with only 3 lives because I kept losing them in the level that just passed. So it was always a try out… learning the Act 1, failing on the Act 2, starting again in the Act 1 and then pray that I don’t use any lives in the Act 1 so I have more lives in the Act 2. Also, each Act has it’s own boss with his own mechanics.
Another thing that I found a bit confusing (before I started to actually play the game) was the level design. That thing with multiple paths, etc… made me super confused because I “might never find the end of the level”. This wasn’t really the case! Actually, neither of my fears were the case until I reached the last level (I think it’s the last). The last level that made me stop playing the game has all the problems I thought I would have. It’s confusing, it teleports me around and even if I kind of have some progress in the level… the FREAKING TIMER WILL RUN OUT.
Back to the level design. The levels were amazingly crafted and the fluidity of them was simply superb. The speed was always right, the tubes were in the correct spot… I’m not sure how to describe it. You will have to play this to understand it. There were even a couple of “Aha!” moments for me. There is a level where you are under water. If you don’t get to some bubbles you instantly die and lose 1 life. I was super super annoyed by that. Exactly what I hate! However at one point I found some kind of switch that lowered the water… I was like “THAT IS SOOOO COOOL!”.
Boss Fights were also pretty engaging and stressful for me. 🙂
Anyway. The article kind of ends here. I was “done” with Sonic Mania about 2 months ago but I kept postponing the article and some things are not that fresh in my mind. All I have to say is that the 9 hours I had with Sonic Mania were really enjoyable except the last level which made me stop playing the game. I liked the mini games, I liked the flow of the levels, I liked the boss fights and I especially loved the music!
Thanks for reading & watching!