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Hands-on review: Sonic Mania Plus is a fast paced experience

24 Jul 2018

Sonic Mania came out last year and is often regarded to be one of the best Sonic games of all time. Now a newer version of the game is here called Sonic Mania Plus.  While Sonic Mania Plus still features the full game that came out last year, this version of the game comes with some extra DLC that will make things more interesting for returning players. The biggest new additions is adding two new playable characters called Mighty the Armadillo and Ray the Flying Squirrel.  These two characters have new abilities that the original trio of Sonic, Tails and Knuckles don't have which adds an original experience if you choose to play as them. Mighty the Armadillo has a cool stomp feature that breaks the ground while Ray the Flying Squirrel is arguably more helpful because he can glide through the air for a short length of time.  It's quite cool playing through the levels of this game again using the new characters because it adds a different experience. Sure most of the characters have similar abilities, but Ray the Flying Squirrel is super helpful because he can glide over and avoid more obstacles than anyone else.   It's not just the two additional characters that have been added in Sonic Mania Plus. Another new mode added to the game is called 'Encore Mode'. Encore Mode features the original levels in Mania, but remixes them by adding different colour palettes and making some of the obstacles harder to get through.  For example in the main Mania mode, a moving bridge would have lots of panels for you to cross over it. However in Encore mode, the aforementioned bridge only has one panel forcing you to be more precise when you land. I think remixing the levels is pretty cool as it adds a new challenge to players that may have already completed the main game last year.  Lastly, the other new addition in Sonic Mania Plus is the four player competition mode. This mode is basically where you compete against your friends to see who is the fastest at finishing all of the levels in the game. It's old school style split-screen gaming that can be really fun if you have two or more skilled players playing. Sadly, my brother is a novice to Sonic so I never had competitive matches against him... For those that are wondering, you don't need to buy the full game of Sonic Mania Plus to experience the new things if you already own the game from last year. If you already own Sonic Mania, you can pay for the new content as paid DLC which costs only a few more dollars.  If you are new to Sonic Mania, the base game is excellent because it's more enjoyable and more engaging compared to Sonic Forces. The thing I did not like the most about Sonic Forces is the fact that it felt like I was playing the game on autopilot. Sonic Mania is far better as you actually have to use your brain to get past obstacles to make sure you don't die.  Not to mention Sonic Mania has one of the best soundtracks that I have heard in recent memory. Pretty much all of the stages in this game has a catchy tune that will be embedded in your brain every time you play through them. The retro style graphics also look great as every level is very colourful and vibrant.  The only negative thing I can say about Sonic Mania Plus is that the game isn't generous when it comes to giving the player lots of lives and checkpoints. This is because whenever you run out of lives, you will have to start from the beginning of the level. It can get annoying getting to the end boss and dying at the end just to start over from scratch all over again. Despite that minor nitpick, Sonic Mania Plus is still one of the best platforming games that have come out in recent memory. It's by far the best Sonic video game released since the '90s and it's challenging enough for both newcomers and veterans. Verdict: 8.5/10 

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