This is an updated review in conjunction with last year’s review of Sonic Mania, and the original review can be found at the end of this review. This review elaborates and builds on the review published at the original time of release.
After a successful comeback which saw the infamous blue hedgehog return to Green Hill Zone last August, Sonic Mania got the physical release treatment with the definitive retail release, Sonic Mania Plus.
Mania mode has been given a new lease of life with cutscenes taking place after the end of every Act 2 level, though all the levels have been given a new coat of paint and have been remixed for Encore Mode, which brings back Mighty the Armadillo & Ray the Flying Squirrel.
Encore Mode brings about 3 Game Slots instead of 8, which is perfectly understandable as less is more, but being able to switch between five characters (two during gameplay) is a plus, for instance, Sonic & Tails, Mighty & Ray or even Sonic & Mighty.
Angel Island Zone returns in Encore Mode, with Mighty & Ray trapped in a pod that can only be broken by either Sonic, Tails or Knuckles.
Encore Mode gives you more than you initially bargained for, however, as you can play as all five characters that you can switch to during gameplay, but, if all 5 characters fall into bottomless pits or are crushed by spikes or areas of the level they’re unable to escape from, you can expect to see yourself with a game over and your score during gameplay being wiped.
This is because unlike Mania Mode, where you could collect up to a maximum total of 99 lives, Encore Mode gives you 5 lives, all 5 of which are the characters, though you get to retry the same boss 5 times before resulting in a game over from the last level you reached.
I’ve had a chance to try Encore Mode myself considering I got my physical copy of Sonic Mania Plus on the 17th July (Day of Physical Retail Release) and it is not as easy as I first thought, but it’s a whole lot of fun considering the levels have been remixed, with all zones, Green Hill Zone, especially, all being given new coats of paint.
Green Hill Zone, in Encore Mode, feels more like Sunset Hill Zone from Sonic Advance 3 (GameBoy Advance), whilst most of the levels remind me of the nostalgic days of some old-school Nintendo games. Flying Battery Zone in Encore Mode reminds me of the old-school Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) and the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) given the colour palettes for both Act 1 & 2 have that retro appeal, though Stardust Speedway Zone Act 2 in Encore Mode feels exactly like Act 3 of Stardust Speedway Zone in Sonic CD.
If you own the digital version and haven’t purchased the physical release of Sonic Mania Plus for PlayStation 4, XBOX ONE, Nintendo Switch, you can purchase the Encore DLC on all designated stores for a reasonable £3.99 / $4.99, or if you have purchased the physical version of Sonic Mania Plus for either of these consoles, all you have to do is load the physical copy and it will apply the update with the Encore DLC, complete with Mighty & Ray for free.
If you own the PC Version of Sonic Mania Plus, you can purchase the Encore DLC complete with Mighty the Armadillo, Ray the Flying Squirrel & Angel Island Zone on Steam for the same reasonable £3.99 / $4.99.