Sonic is back! Well, he never really left, but that's the feeling you get when seeing the public reaction to Sonic Mania. Being developed by a group of hardcore Sonic fans with years of experience behind them recreating the sight and feel of the original Genesis games, it's easy to see why fans are getting excited for the first proper 2D Sonic game in years. Needless to say, I was pretty hyped when I got my chance to get my hands on the game today at SEGA's E3 booth. I'm happy to report, to nobody's surprise, that Sonic Mania is absolutely as good as it looks.
Today's demo had two stages for E3 attendees to try out: the remastered Green Hill Zone Act 2 and Mirage Saloon Zone Act 2. I opted to play the latter stage, which includes stage obstacles, such as giant guns that Sonic can load into himself like a bullet to aim and shoot himself across the stage, totem poles with pinball flippers on the top, and loops made out of sand that dissolve as Sonic spins/runs through them. It's very unique and a fast-paced, frantic blast of a level. The level design felt like the original trilogy, and the pixel art was more than on point. Sonic controlled exactly as I wanted him to—with his roll conserving momentum just as you would hope—and the new Drop Dash was another awesome way to conserve momentum throughout the level (players utilize it by tapping and holding the jump button a second time after launching themselves into the air).
I played Sonic Mania on Nintendo Switch, using a Pro Controller, but from watching someone else play it in handheld mode, it seems to work just as well using the "dpad" on the portable configuration of the console. I can only imagine that the game works just as well using the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 controllers as well. Either way, there's no doubt in my mind that Sonic Mania will be the best Sonic the Hedgehog game in a very long time when it releases this August.
Sonic Mania comes to Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on August 15th.
If you want to know more about this and other announcements happening at E3 then be sure to check out our E3 2017 Coverage Hub.