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Sonic Mania Reviews/Impressions Thread

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Makes sense, although it still looks weird :(

 

Btw, the more I play Mania, the more I think elemental shields abilities should be available for all characters. How I think it could work: while on air, button A could perform the character's special ability, and button B or X could perform the shield special power). 

This would also allow using the shields special move in Super forms, although it would require the shield being drawn while being Super (I wouldn't mind).

Oh, and if Sonic became underpowered because of all characters being able to use the shield special move (which I doubt because drop dash is quite powerful), they could make that quick pressing and releasing A button while on air performs insta-shield, and keeping A pressed loads drop dash. I think these changes would improve the current formula a bit :)

 

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1 hour ago, molul said:

Makes sense, although it still looks weird :(

 

Btw, the more I play Mania, the more I think elemental shields abilities should be available for all characters. How I think it could work: while on air, button A could perform the character's special ability, and button B or X could perform the shield special power). 

This would also allow using the shields special move in Super forms, although it would require the shield being drawn while being Super (I wouldn't mind).

Oh, and if Sonic became underpowered because of all characters being able to use the shield special move (which I doubt because drop dash is quite powerful), they could make that quick pressing and releasing A button while on air performs insta-shield, and keeping A pressed loads drop dash. I think these changes would improve the current formula a bit :)

 

He won´t be underpowered, rather a not really good choice. It would eliminate all areas that are possible to enter just with Sonic carrying a shield. Mighty basically eliminated all uniqueness of Sonic´s Water Shield ability, for instance.  

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I guess I should start with that, for $5 dlc, this isn't terrible. Fans of the base game are sure to love it and I do think I got my money's worth.

Though, I will say that this certainly wasn't something Sega needed to spend 4 months hyping up. All I'm going to say is I wish they'd put that kind of effort into something like TSR which, at the time of writing, has only had 3 track reveals and only 2 of them actually shown in game (for 7 seconds).

As for Encore mode itself, well I really have to come at it with the view that it's only $5 because otherwise, gonna have to say that I'm not that into it. The new color pallets, a majority of the time, make the levels look dull. Level design wise, all they really seemed to have done with a lot of them is add in more enemies in poor places and go crazy with the spikes. It's design philosophy that I hated from some of the original games and was honestly something that I was glad to see dropped from the base game. Now you have levels like TM which go from bad to worse with it's obnoxious enemy placement. There is a difference between hard and annoying. Encore mode definitely falls into the later category for me more often than not.

Then you have the special stages which also throws the nice difficulty curve from the originals out the window and leaves with 7 new courses that feel poorly designed for the most part. 1 and 2 generally feel like a step up challenge wise but then you have 3-6 which are super easy with poorly designed layouts. 7 continues this trend but then adds in some weird jumps and leaving the ground color the same as the background just to make it a pain to complete. I mean, I'm glad that it's the hardest level this time around but it's that way for all the wrong reasons I feel.

Then there's Mighty and Ray who, I'll be honest here, I'm still not crazy about. Mighty I'm somewhat warming up to as his moves are generally useful and jive well with the game as is (not to mention he was one of the best things about Adventures even if that's stupidly not canon). Ray on the other hand is an absolute chore to use imo. To me, one of the biggest things going for the classic games were that they were simply to pick up and play with the difficulty (ideally) scaling with your increase in skill as you played. Ray glides right in the face of that. His ability is way too unreliable when compared to every other character and the payoff for using it isn't even that great when you can still take damage while using it. Not to mention that a majority of the levels later on simply don't cater to it. Tails is literally always a better option as he's easier to control and can still usually cover the same ground Ray can (most of the time more with his verticality). Maybe if they had expanded out of the same few buttons they limit themselves to and had probably extended things out to the rest of the controller the glide would feel better but as it is now... no. I've experienced too many other games get gliding right to ignore how badly Ray's main ability plays here.

Also, why can't you switch to any character you currently have instead of just two on the fly? It literally just serves to heavily limit exploration potential. I've obtained the character, let me use them when I want.

And don't even get me started on the ending.

So um... yeah. Again, before y'all get at me here, I'll still say that for $5, none of this really matters. Things like Mighty, at least two good new special stages, and better bonus levels makes it worth the price alone. I imagine the same could be said for the full physical edition too when you add all that up. Hell, if you're only now just playing Mania then it's all good. It's just beyond those things... eh, this new content ain't great. Definitely no where near the original stuff. Honestly can't see myself ever touching the mode again.

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10 minutes ago, Strickerx5 said:

Then there's Mighty and Ray who, I'll be honest here, I'm still not crazy about. Mighty I'm somewhat warming up to as his moves are generally useful and jive well with the game as is (not to mention he was one of the best things about Adventures even if that's stupidly not canon). Ray on the other hand is an absolute chore to use imo. To me, one of the biggest things going for the classic games were that they were simply to pick up and play with the difficulty (ideally) scaling with your increase in skill as you played. Ray glides right in the face of that. His ability is way too unreliable when compared to every other character and the payoff for using it isn't even that great when you can still take damage while using it. Not to mention that a majority of the levels later on simply don't cater to it. Tails is literally always a better option as he's easier to control and can still usually cover the same ground Ray can (most of the time more with his verticality). Maybe if they had expanded out of the same few buttons they limit themselves to and had probably extended things out to the rest of the controller the glide would feel better but as it is now... no. I've experienced too many other games get gliding right to ignore how badly Ray's main ability plays here.

Ray is probably the hardest character to use, but he's one of the most effective when used well, that's the thing.  Tails may be easier, but you aren't going to be setting any time trial records with his flight.  Ray does for aerial movement what the drop dash does for ground-movement.  You have to learn when and where to use it to reap it's full rewards.  There were a few occasions where I thought there was no way I'd be able to get Ray up a vertical area that Tails would do just by tapping the A button, but it turned out with the right momentum from nearby slopes and timing with both my liftoff and my immediate swooping (if any), I was able to reach those paths, and while it may have taken me several attempts, it felt ten times more fun to do than just flying up in a straight line as Tails.

 

Also this isn't replying to you directly, just stating my thoughts: I actually quite liked the limited selection of two characters.  The random element made for a more dynamic play experience where I was forced to adapt my route choices based on what two characters I had "equipped".  A lot of missed shortcuts would have the weight and consequence of my failure be lost if I ALWAYS had Tails/Knuckles/Ray to hand to undo my mistakes.  I feel like, thanks to the random element, no Encore playthrough will take you down the same routes every time.  On single-character playthroughs, that tends to happen to me unless I actively resist my gut feelings about what route I want to take the whole way through the experience.

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19 minutes ago, JezMM said:

Ray is probably the hardest character to use, but he's one of the most effective when used well, that's the thing.  Tails may be easier, but you aren't going to be setting any time trial records with his flight.  Ray does for aerial movement what the drop dash does for ground-movement.  You have to learn when and where to use it to reap it's full rewards.  There were a few occasions where I thought there was no way I'd be able to get Ray up a vertical area that Tails would do just by tapping the A button, but it turned out with the right momentum from nearby slopes and timing with both my liftoff and my immediate swooping (if any), I was able to reach those paths, and while it may have taken me several attempts, it felt ten times more fun to do than just flying up in a straight line as Tails.

 

Also this isn't replying to you directly, just stating my thoughts: I actually quite liked the limited selection of two characters.  The random element made for a more dynamic play experience where I was forced to adapt my route choices based on what I had.  A number of missed shortcuts had meaning to them when I didn't ALWAYS have Tails/Knuckles/Ray to hand to undo my mistakes.  I feel like, thanks to the random element, no Encore playthrough will take you down the same route you normally take and have become complacant to, which is what tends to happen on my regular Sonic playthroughs unless I go out of my way to actively ignore my gut-feelings about what routes I want to take.

He's certainly a character that has some real potential with speed runs and while I did notice his glide becoming somewhat useful with practice, I still can't say that excuses the poor controls imo. There are so many games that are able to pull off 2D gliding better which makes the initial difficulty here pretty unwarranted to me. Honestly, I wish I had liked Ray more seeing as this glide feature should be right up my ally for faster moves but in practice, I just couldn't get behind it. Especially in later levels where I'm literally going to have to see its usefulness come into play to believe it has any reason for being there in a number of areas.

As for the randomness element, eh, I see what you mean there. Though, I will say that the same thing could've easily been done by just giving the player the option to choose each character anyway. If someone want to switch things up and get random with it, they wouldn't need to find a box or anything. Just press the button a few times and you're g2g. Personally, I don't think any run-through would lose any form of meaning or uniqueness due to it. Just gives the player a choice is all.

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7 hours ago, Strickerx5 said:

He's certainly a character that has some real potential with speed runs and while I did notice his glide becoming somewhat useful with practice, I still can't say that excuses the poor controls imo. There are so many games that are able to pull off 2D gliding better which makes the initial difficulty here pretty unwarranted to me. Honestly, I wish I had liked Ray more seeing as this glide feature should be right up my ally for faster moves but in practice, I just couldn't get behind it. Especially in later levels where I'm literally going to have to see its usefulness come into play to believe it has any reason for being there in a number of areas.

As for the randomness element, eh, I see what you mean there. Though, I will say that the same thing could've easily been done by just giving the player the option to choose each character anyway. If someone want to switch things up and get random with it, they wouldn't need to find a box or anything. Just press the button a few times and you're g2g. Personally, I don't think any run-through would lose any form of meaning or uniqueness due to it. Just gives the player a choice is all.

I think it's more of a player psychology thing, very few people would CHOOSE to cripple themselves for a challenge without the game forcing it upon them.  We'd need a random character button or something, because with the ability to switch freely, the character switch item boxes would be pointless and removed.

I feel like a compromise would be to have free character switch be an unlockable feature for finishing the mode once - add a "cheats" menu to Encore like Mania mode has (also I mean, might as well let Sonic have his peel-out and insta-shield in Encore too).

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What about Ray's gliding controls is supposed to be bad, though? I'm not sure what you could add/change that wouldn't either make an already powerful character brokenly good, or fundamentally change the nature of his gliding (and probably lose what makes it fun in the first place).

Also I've been getting plenty of use out of it even in more cramped stages/areas. Obviously it's trickier than gliding through a huge empty space, but that's where practice and skill come in.

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I really like using Ray, but I do find his usefulness pretty limited unless you are practising time trials. Most of the levels have ceilings which stop you dead in your tracks, or enemies that you fly into with little warning. If you are playing the game normally and without speed running, his gliding isn't really that useful, even though it's fun to use and looks cool. It's not like Tails and Knuckles, whose abilities are useful throughout the game. I'd argue even Mighty gets this right, because even though his abilities aren't as flashy, his immunity to spikes and obstacles is consistently useful.

The cape is better suited to Mario, since the skies are usually clear, and it often opens up level design in the air. It makes more sense there as a powerful item you have to hold onto.

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21 minutes ago, Plasme said:

If you are playing the game normally and without speed running, his gliding isn't really that useful, even though it's fun to use and looks cool. It's not like Tails and Knuckles, whose abilities are useful throughout the game.

I'd honestly say it's the opposite; Ray's gliding is constantly useful for little dodges and high jumps that help smooth out the experience, while Tails' flight and Knuckles' gliding and climbing are too slow and clunky for me to want to use them regularly.

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21 minutes ago, Plasme said:

I really like using Ray, but I do find his usefulness pretty limited unless you are practising time trials. Most of the levels have ceilings which stop you dead in your tracks, or enemies that you fly into with little warning. If you are playing the game normally and without speed running, his gliding isn't really that useful, even though it's fun to use and looks cool. It's not like Tails and Knuckles, whose abilities are useful throughout the game. I'd argue even Mighty gets this right, because even though his abilities aren't as flashy, his immunity to spikes and obstacles is consistently useful.

The cape is better suited to Mario, since the skies are usually clear, and it often opens up level design in the air. It makes more sense there as a powerful item you have to hold onto.

I guess it's subjective based on how you play the game, but with Ray's air glide I find myself using it all the time. I don't speed run or anything of the sort, I just find it fun to play around with in the same way that I like gliding and climbing as Knuckles. It's certainly useful for reaching higher areas if you miss them or are on wrong path. And just in regards to picking up speed, it's very useful all the time. Mighty doesn't have as many direct applications. His hammer drop and defense don't really expand on mobility, but they are still fun to use. It's  like Sonic's drop dash; the new opportunities are limited, but what it adds to the gameplay is fun.

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4 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

I'd honestly say it's the opposite; Ray's gliding is constantly useful for little dodges and high jumps that help smooth out the experience, while Tails' flight and Knuckles' gliding and climbing are too slow and clunky for me to want to use them regularly.

I didn't want to use Tails (I barely liked him before) after playing Ray. He is so much more fun to use.

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I really like Ray as a character and use him a lot (I'm playing a Mania file with him now), but I find his gliding limited due to how open to attack he is. It's very, very difficult to avoid enemies with his glide, and unlike Knuckles and Tails, you can't attack enemies while you are using the move (Tails by flying into them, and Knuckles by gliding into them). You can cancel the move into a spin though, which is pretty ingenious. But because he's so vulnerable to attack, I almost always fly into an enemy I can't see and instantly lose all momentum. It's not as elegant as Knuckles' gliding I don't think, where that doesn't happen nearly as much because you can simply punch the enemies you glide into.

I also find the ceilings kill a lot of the point of the move. In levels such as Studiopolis 1, the invisible ceilings stop the move outright, and in the later levels, they are so cramped that when I use his gliding I just fly straight into a block I couldn't see.

I do accept that he's faster and keeps momentum flowing better than Tails and Knuckles. The move is also really fun to use, looks cool, and has a great sound effect accompanying it. I do think though, that despite being slower, Tails and Knuckles are more intuitive and don't stop the game in its tracks as much as Ray does (unless you are really good with the move). And crucially, Tails and Knuckles are constantly useful to the player, even if they do slow the game down. Ray often just makes the player go flying into an enemy or obstacle. 

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Has anyone actually taken the time to list out what stages they consider too cramped for Ray? Because I'm not feeling even remotely. I'll give you Press Garden, act one especially, or even act 2 where I'm usually too busy busting ice with Mighty to consider it, but otherwise it's smooth sailing from Stardust all the way to Oil Ocean and even Mecha Madness is quite roomy for a factory stage (which fits being Sonic CD zones were always vertically heavy). I end up with 9 out of 12 zones that I think cater enough to the air glide.

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Just picked up the game today (for free!) and I'm enjoying it so far. Got up to Flying Battery on Encore. Prefer Mighty currently and haven't mastered Rays ability yet. Also glad my data from the previous version automatically carried over.

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Recently got Encore Mode finished with all emeralds collected. The DLC as a whole did not do much for me. As many here stated the new color themes are kinda boring and I agree with few exceptions that were also stated already. SSZ Act 2 and OOZ being personal favorites. Overall I would rate the DLC as decent. I really do love the new characters, especially Ray ❤️ and want them to return for both 2D and 3D titles. All in all, Mania is still a great and fun game to play through and I will finish Mania Mode with Mighty and Ray for once. 

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Do you think in hypothetical future classic games, Knuckles' climbing should be sped up?  I'm not talking a massive speed increase, but I feel like bumping it up a little would make it feel a little less tedious.  I really like exploring with Knuckles but his climbing feels incredibly slow.

Additionally, after playing Ray, Tails' flight feels like trying to maneuver a greased sausage through molasses.

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Just finished Encore mode and enjoyed the majority of it. Started with Mighty as he's a fave, but found myself using Ray a whole lot more. 

Things I didn't like were:

If Heavy Magician was either Ray or Mighty in the capsule depending on who you choose, where did the other character appear from? They're just there. Would have liked to see the other rescued later on in the stage. 

The bad ending was decent and made me want to go collect the Chaos Emeralds. I do, and then, even though partially decent, the ending falls flat without the final boss the bad ending hints towards. Disappointing. Final scene was a tad confusing. 

Ray's sprites being too big. Every time I got hit I thought his head looked massive. 

Worth the money though as a DLC. 

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4 hours ago, Jambone said:

Do you think in hypothetical future classic games, Knuckles' climbing should be sped up?  I'm not talking a massive speed increase, but I feel like bumping it up a little would make it feel a little less tedious.  I really like exploring with Knuckles but his climbing feels incredibly slow.

Additionally, after playing Ray, Tails' flight feels like trying to maneuver a greased sausage through molasses.

Yeah its really interesting because wasn't Super/Hyper Knuckles in S3&K faster when climbing walls?

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4 hours ago, Jambone said:

Do you think in hypothetical future classic games, Knuckles' climbing should be sped up?  I'm not talking a massive speed increase, but I feel like bumping it up a little would make it feel a little less tedious.  I really like exploring with Knuckles but his climbing feels incredibly slow.

Speeding it up might make it a bit less tedious, but I'm not sure if it's the best solution, because it means you're still stuck with a very static way of moving compared to the core gameplay being so fluid and dynamic. I've thought about him having something like a mini-spindash while clinging to a wall; normal climbing would still exist as the safe option, but you'd also be able to launch yourself upward at a decent speed, at the risk of falling if you didn't reach the top or didn't jump off somewhere.

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1 hour ago, Gemster312 said:

Yeah its really interesting because wasn't Super/Hyper Knuckles in S3&K faster when climbing walls?

I'm fairly sure, yes, although it's been awhile since I've played, well, any Sonic game other than Mania.

1 hour ago, Diogenes said:

Speeding it up might make it a bit less tedious, but I'm not sure if it's the best solution, because it means you're still stuck with a very static way of moving compared to the core gameplay being so fluid and dynamic. I've thought about him having something like a mini-spindash while clinging to a wall; normal climbing would still exist as the safe option, but you'd also be able to launch yourself upward at a decent speed, at the risk of falling if you didn't reach the top or didn't jump off somewhere.

Interesting idea.  Didn't Knuckles have some sort of wall-based spindash in Sonic Advance (one of them, not sure which)?  Seems like a pretty viable solution to the problem, though.  If you can't re-glide after the move, there'd be some strategy to using it since it'll put Knuckles at a bit of a disadvantage without solid ground, but you get to move further upward than Knuckles could by simply climbing.  Not to mention making climbing shortcuts more viable for Time Trials and the like.

Maybe it could be a move where Knuckles vaults forward with his arms, putting him in the "spring" animation to make it a little more risky (you couldn't sail into enemies with it) and establish that Knuckles can't go back into a glide afterward?  Or it could just put him into a running animation so you could still hop backwards off the wall.  That'd probably make for some interesting jumps, although that'd remove a bit of risk without a way to prevent the player from turning right around and gliding again.

I guess it just goes to show even simple additions add a lot of variables.

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Just finished Encore mode. Ray and Mighty grew on me as the game went, and I like the character switching mechanic for the same reasons Jez cited. However I'm disappointed that the level layouts were basically the same, and it was only toward the end in some areas of Lava Reef and Metallic Madness when I noticed some substantial differences. I didn't like most of the new level palettes, although Oil Ocean 1 is pretty good. I did end up getting all emeralds before I beat the final boss but I cheesed that last special stage by using the dev menu to restart whenever I failed it lol. Overall it wasn't as fun or interesting as I hoped, and while I might replay Encore mode once in a while for the randomized character swapping, I'll largely be sticking with the main game.

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19 hours ago, Diogenes said:

What about Ray's gliding controls is supposed to be bad, though? I'm not sure what you could add/change that wouldn't either make an already powerful character brokenly good, or fundamentally change the nature of his gliding (and probably lose what makes it fun in the first place).

Also I've been getting plenty of use out of it even in more cramped stages/areas. Obviously it's trickier than gliding through a huge empty space, but that's where practice and skill come in.

Mainly the prompts needed to maintain it. Compared to the other characters, it just feels out of place. As far as Classic moves usually go, they're usually easy to get started but their usefulness grows with your skill. With Ray, that first part is thrown out the window which is why I don't think his abilities are a good fit here. I also think making his up glide work like a jump attack would do wonders to its usefulness. At least that way you have a chance to react to incoming enemies due to the 2D viewpoint.

Though, I've been messing around with the control scheme (thank you pc) and I edited it so that I could use the triggers to manage the glide and it works so much better. Actually, simply thanks to that, my tolerance for Ray has grown over the last 24 hours. In the right places, the glide does work. Still not seeing how a character like this is any good in levels like MM or TM but hey, it's a start.

As of now he's tied in last place with Knuckles who's stop and go glide is a lot more annoying than I remembered it being.

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