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Is Sonic Mania a difficult game? (Spoilers)


PKGaming

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Personally, I found it to be the easiest and most forgiving game in the classic series, but I've watched several playthroughs of Mania where people were having so much trouble with it and getting super frustrated. ZackScott is a good example. He tried keeping a positive attitude, but I could tell he was losing his patience with the game and not having that much fun. The only times he was having fun were the speedy sections when he didn't have to actually do much. But I can't tell if he just sucks or if I'm just seeing it that way because I'm a Sonic veteran while he and others like him are newcomers. Are classic Sonic's mechanics something that's difficult for newcomers to wrap their heads around? Because frustration is something I've been seeing a lot with newcomers. When they get hit or die, it's rarely a "Oops. Okay, let's try that again." but rather a "Oh come on!! What was that!?" But I'm thinking if he and others had so much trouble with Mania, then games like Sonic 1, 2, and 3&K would eat them alive. I personally found those games to be much harder with more jerkish enemy and trap placements (especially crushers, which ZackScott HATED in Mania).

As a Sonic veteran, I found Mania to be pretty easy, but to the average gamer, is it actually really hard? And what would that make the other classics? Brutally unforgiving? 

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 I guess I'm an average gamer and even I believe Sonic Mania is easily the most forgiving Sonic game in the Classic series. Unlike Sonic 1 and 2 at least, Mania doesn't shoehorn cheap obstacles and integrate cheap level design at all. In fact, many of the obstacles that are encountered can easily be surmounted when you understand the level design and once you do, the game doesn't inhibit your speed at all. That's not to say that obstacles and level design don't become increasingly more difficult and intricate as the game progresses, but the game never attempts to fuck you over with bottomless pits, cheap enemies, or cheap beds of spikes just to make things difficult and that's something I absolutely appreciate. Some obstacles will challenge and you will get lost at times when exploring each stage, but the game becomes easy with time.

Oil Ocean Act 2 boss though? Eggman can go f*ck himself.

 

 

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  • Celestia changed the title to Is Sonic Mania a difficult game? (Spoilers)

As a Sonic veteran, I found the game pretty well designed not to be easy for veterans. I had difficulty with blue spheres, special stages and many acts, and I loved that. On the other hand, I saw my cousin having problems with it, to the point he asked me to play for him on certain parts.

Gamers have changed a lot since S3K. Games have changed too. So it's understandable that many newbies don't enjoy Mania.

EDIT: I mean, Chemical Plant Act 2 boss is something you would only beat on first attempt if you played Mean Bean Machine. There's not even a tutorial on how to play it. That was a bit weird if you think about it. Not a problem for us Sonic fans, but...

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Overall I'd say the game's decently challenging but very forgiving. Outside of moments like Oil Ocean Act 2's boss, there's nothing too unfair but you still definitely have to be paying attention to what's happening. Of course, this is just my experience with the game, and as someone who's very familiar with the series at that. It's hard for someone like me to judge this sort of thing from the perspective of those less familiar with (or even newcomers to) the series.

...Also I added a spoiler warning to the topic title. I know it's obvious given the topic but y'know, better safe than sorry.

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5 minutes ago, molul said:

As a Sonic veteran, I found the game pretty well designed not to be easy for veterans. I had difficulty with blue spheres, special stages and many acts, and I loved that. On the other hand, I saw my cousin having problems with it, to the point he asked me to play for him on certain parts.

Gamers have changed a lot since S3K. Games have changed too. So it's understandable that many newbies don't enjoy Mania.

EDIT: I mean, Chemical Plant Act 2 boss is something you would only beat on first attempt if you played Mean Bean Machine. There's not even a tutorial on how to play it. That was a bit weird if you think about it. Not a problem for us Sonic fans, but...

This is true. What may be brutally unforgiving now was perfectly acceptable back in the day. Children were surprisingly more competent than what you would see in this generation. Mania was smart by creating a game that challenged your ability to move fast and traverse stages quickly whilst simultaneously making the game easily accessible. I can't recall any instances where the game tried to kill me simply because I've never played the stage before. I found the challenge to lie in mastering each stage instead of actually completing them which is great.

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23 minutes ago, molul said:

EDIT: I mean, Chemical Plant Act 2 boss is something you would only beat on first attempt if you played Mean Bean Machine. There's not even a tutorial on how to play it. That was a bit weird if you think about it. Not a problem for us Sonic fans, but...

That and Hydrocity Act 1's boss, which kinda relies on the assumption that you've played Sonic 3 before. That said, I'm sure most players figured both of these out eventually--as far as I can tell Eggman isn't exactly the best Mean Bean player, and HC1's boss gives you a lot of room to figure it out.

Also worth noting that the game was made almost with long-term fans in mind ("by the mania, for the mania"), but as a whole I think they did a good job of making it accessible. Especially to players who explore and experiment--seriously, there's so many 1-UP monitors you can find just by pretty much just messing around, jumping off slopes at certain times, etc.! If a newcomer asked for advice, that's one thing I'd tell them.

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28 minutes ago, molul said:

As a Sonic veteran, I found the game pretty well designed not to be easy for veterans. I had difficulty with blue spheres, special stages and many acts, and I loved that. On the other hand, I saw my cousin having problems with it, to the point he asked me to play for him on certain parts.

Gamers have changed a lot since S3K. Games have changed too. So it's understandable that many newbies don't enjoy Mania.

EDIT: I mean, Chemical Plant Act 2 boss is something you would only beat on first attempt if you played Mean Bean Machine. There's not even a tutorial on how to play it. That was a bit weird if you think about it. Not a problem for us Sonic fans, but...

With the Mean Bean boss though, I thought they did a good job with it because Eggman is such an awful Mean Bean player (even worse than me, and that's saying something). Once you figure out the basic concept of "match four", then bam, you've won. The intricate combos of Puyo Puyo are completely unnecessary. And I'm sure the developers made Eggman so easy in that fight because they knew not everyone has played Mean Bean or Puyo Puyo. 

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15 minutes ago, PKGaming said:

With the Mean Bean boss though, I thought they did a good job with it because Eggman is such an awful Mean Bean player (even worse than me, and that's saying something). Once you figure out the basic concept of "match four", then bam, you've won. The intricate combos of Puyo Puyo are completely unnecessary. And I'm sure the developers made Eggman so easy in that fight because they knew not everyone has played Mean Bean or Puyo Puyo. 

You say that, but I got triple-chained by Eggman on my FIRST playthrough and I lost a life because of that. It's mostly pure luck, sure, and Eggman sucked hard on the second attempt, but because of this randomness I consider that boss to be a very poor game design - too drastic of a genre change AND there's a randomisation chance.

 

That said, I wouldn't consider Mania too difficult if you played the classics. The only things that gave me actual trouble was Special Stage 5, perfecting Blue Spheres and the OOZ act 2 boss. There is a spike in difficulty starting from Lava Reef tho, but even then it wasn't that bad for me. Don't know about the difficulty for those who haven't played any Classic game (or even any Sonic game for that matter) tho. But for me it wasn't difficult.

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By the way, I must admit something: Sonic formula was fresh and great back in the day, compared to other platformers based on small stages with one or several well designed challenges. Classic Sonic formula involves large stages, exploration, certain semi-automated segments (the ones in which you run at top speed)... It's all built around speed and designed for speed to make sense. I love that, but I start to understand that it's not the formula that has remained as a standard to present day, as a friend of mine told me last week.

This weekend I took a train and played Rocketknight Adventures and Dynamite Headdy in my tablet from beginning to end. Both games were interesting from beginning to end, giving many different challenges in short levels. I'm sorry to admit I feel it's a superior game concept (although Sonic 3 & Knuckles will always be my favourite game ever), in the sense that anyone, even newbies, could easily enjoy it.

I know classic Sonic games have tried to apply this principle by setting different sections during those long stages, and probably Mania is an improvement on that (I'd say I found more variety than in any other classic). But seriously thinking about it, I believe they should try to go beyond this in future classic Sonic titles. Not only sections, but also challenges like labyrinths, or finding switches to open certain doors to keep moving...

Ristar was somehow in between classic Sonic's concept and other platformers'.

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1 hour ago, molul said:

By the way, I must admit something: Sonic formula was fresh and great back in the day, compared to other platformers based on small stages with one or several well designed challenges. Classic Sonic formula involves large stages, exploration, certain semi-automated segments (the ones in which you run at top speed)... It's all built around speed and designed for speed to make sense. I love that, but I start to understand that it's not the formula that has remained as a standard to present day, as a friend of mine told me last week.

This weekend I took a train and played Rocketknight Adventures and Dynamite Headdy in my tablet from beginning to end. Both games were interesting from beginning to end, giving many different challenges in short levels. I'm sorry to admit I feel it's a superior game concept (although Sonic 3 & Knuckles will always be my favourite game ever), in the sense that anyone, even newbies, could easily enjoy it.

I know classic Sonic games have tried to apply this principle by setting different sections during those long stages, and probably Mania is an improvement on that (I'd say I found more variety than in any other classic). But seriously thinking about it, I believe they should try to go beyond this in future classic Sonic titles. Not only sections, but also challenges like labyrinths, or finding switches to open certain doors to keep moving...

Ristar was somehow in between classic Sonic's concept and other platformers'.

I couldn't disagree more with the idea that Sonic should play more like other platformers. I don't enjoy your standard fare anywhere close to the amount I enjoy Sonic, tending to find myself somewhat fatigued by the end of most platformers. There are definitely ways to expand on the gameplay, of course, but the basic concept and structure is absolutely sound. The reason other platformers have never really followed suit is likely because developers find it easier to understand and build upon the Mario formula (not to mention it the has the most exposure of any other). Sonic gameplay breaks a lot of established conventions and to go against that would just render the series pointless.

It all comes down to personal preference, at the end of the day. From my perspective, Classic Sonic at its best stands above all others in its genre. For other players it could be Mario, Shovel Knight, Rayman, etc.

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4 minutes ago, Pawn said:

I couldn't disagree more with the idea that Sonic should play more like other platformers. I don't enjoy your standard fare anywhere close to the amount I enjoy Sonic, tending to find myself somewhat fatigued by the end of most platformers. There are definitely ways to expand on the gameplay, of course, but the basic concept and structure is absolutely sound. The reason other platformers have never really followed suit is likely because developers find it easier to understand and build upon the Mario formula (not to mention it the has the most exposure of any other). Sonic gameplay breaks a lot of established conventions and to go against that would just render the series pointless.

It all comes down to personal preference, at the end of the day. From my perspective, Classic Sonic at its best stands above all others in its genre. For other players it could be Mario, Shovel Knight, Rayman, etc.

Pretty much all of this, like I wouldn't mind if they did a sub series where they messed with concepts like this (I'm pretty sure they already have in some cases) but I prefer if the classic sonic gameplay builds off its strengths instead of falling into the traps of its older self by adapting concepts that don't need to be there, especially since, besides maybe fancy pants (which is kinda debatable) we don't get gameplay like this from any other game in this day and age (and done well) so i'd rather stick with what we have but with small-medium improvements made to it as it goes on.

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Honestly, not really.

I haven't gotten a single game over in the main game. Most of my deaths are crusher-related or Phantom Egg related, and that's mostly because I just try to rush it.

Blue Spheres is just tedious, not hard.

The Special Stages were the hardest levels but as soon as I figured out how to really beat them, they were second nature, even 4 - 6.

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It was by far the easiest sonic game in the series yet. Besides blue ball mode. That was annoying more than hard. And oil ocean was easy. Granted I had a flame shield and got stuck in the corner fighting the boss I never died so I had no idea why he is said to be hard

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I didn't mean they should find switches in all levels. I actually said what I said because I don't see the classic formula appealing to most non Sonic fans, not because I don't like it. 

For instance, do you remember that part in S3K Death Egg when you enter a chamber where you have to turn 6 yellow lights red? I want more like that. 

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20 minutes ago, molul said:

I didn't mean they should find switches in all levels. I actually said what I said because I don't see the classic formula appealing to most non Sonic fans, not because I don't like it. 

For instance, do you remember that part in S3K Death Egg when you enter a chamber where you have to turn 6 yellow lights red? I want more like that. 

Don´t forget Sonic 3D Blast. No switches, but technically it worked the same way. Hmmm... I would like to see some Flickies´ Island stages in Sonic Mania sequel.

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11 minutes ago, superman43 said:

No switches, but technically it worked the same way. 

Do yoy mean the "collect the flickies" mechanic? Well, that wouldn't hurt on Mania, but only for a small part of a stage. Sonic 3D was collecting flickies a lot of times. I actually liked the game back in the day, but don't play it much nowadays. Whenever I play the game, it's because of the music ^^

Hope I made myself more clear :) I'd just like acts to have certain parts with, like, small missions you have to accomplish in order to advance. But Mania does a lot of stuff to entertain the player. There are many different situations: the mean bean machine, the first hard boiled heavy boss... Well, you know what I mean. You can expand the classic formula with small goals during a stage and would still be different from the mainstream platformer concept.

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1 minute ago, molul said:

Do yoy mean the "collect the flickies" mechanic? Well, that wouldn't hurt on Mania, but only for a small part of a stage. Sonic 3D was collecting flickies a lot of times. I actually liked the game back in the day, but don't play it much nowadays. Whenever I play the game, it's because of the music ^^

Hope I made myself more clear :) I'd just like acts to have certain parts with, like, small missions you have to accomplish in order to advance. But Mania does a lot of stuff to entertain the player. There are many different situations: the mean bean machine, the first hard boiled heavy boss... Well, you know what I mean. You can expand the classic formula with small goals during a stage and would still be different from the mainstream platformer concept.

I would be interested to see Diamond Dust, Volcano Valley or/and Gene Gadget redone in 2D. I am sure that Tee Lopes would make the music god-alike. :D Now, seriously... Gene Gadget could be involved in some plot for future Sonic game.

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7 hours ago, The Tenth Doctor said:

I had a lot of trouble in Titanic Monarch. The part where you have to climb up and up using precise jumps off those orbs. I just took forever doing it, I had a lot of trouble working the right trajectory and jumping at just the right moment.

I found Titanic Monarch pretty challenging when played it for the first. I was shocked that I almost ran out of time in both TMZ's Acts and that has not happened since I played Sonic 1 for the first time ever in my life (I was 4 or 5 years old).

I even found some Blue Spheres pretty challenging even thought I had mastered almost every single one in Sonic 3&K. Overall I would say even for a veteran classic Sonic player I didn't find the game too easy, except some bosses were kinda flops.

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  • 1 month later...

When I did Sonic Mania the most difficult thing for me were the special stages, particularly special stage number 4 which took me exactly 20 attempts before I could beat it. I hated the special stages so much since they were so unbelievably hard. Eventually I figured things out and bad do all 7 much easier but wow did they make me angry. I do not think Sonic Mania is too hard. Take your time and it should go nicely.

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