A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Sonic Mania Plus is an arcade-style action game. Players can take on the role of five animal characters, two of whom are new for the franchise, as they attempt to defeat Dr. Eggman and his new schemes. While there's occasional combat at high speeds, you spend most of your time running around hitting machinery and robots. Otherwise, there's no inappropriate content.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
SONIC MANIA PLUS is the latest installment of in the long running Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. Although nothing's explicitly stated during the game's cutscenes, it quickly becomes clear that that series antagonist Dr. Eggman has released a new horde of robot henchmen called the Hard Boiled Heavies to capture animals and destroy the world. It's up to Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles to race through each level, collecting rings and beating bosses as quickly as possible. Sonic Mania Plus also introduces two new playable characters, Mighty the Armadillo (whose hard shell can protect the animal against some spikes) and Ray the Flying Squirrel, who can glide around the screen. The game also adds a new Encore Mode, which redesigns the layout of some stages while also allowing players to swap characters at will. There's also an addition of a competition mode where up to four players can take on a stage, and the option to save sprints through the time trial mode. (Content in Sonic Mania Plus can also be found in the Encore DLC update to 2017's Sonic Mania, and is the same as the physical version.)
Is it any good?
Freshly updated with new characters, gameplay modes, and new takes on familiar stages, this adventure game should appeal to fans and keep them coming back for high speed fun. Sonic Mania Plus builds on the downloadable release of 2017's Sonic Mania, which pulled many levels from the Sonic and Knuckles and Sonic the Hedgehog CD games, as well as the first three games of the series. These stages have been revamped with the addition of new stage features like zip lines, twisting pipes, and sticky platforms. What's more, the addition of the Encore mode makes subtle, yet substantial changes to the gameplay while adding two new characters. Initially, Ray and Mighty seem like mild variations of series characters Tails and Knuckles, but their abilities help them stand on their own. For example, Mighty's tough exterior can shrug off spikes that normally cause damage to the other animals, while Ray's gliding helps players swoop past some hazards.
Another great addition to the Encore mode is the option to swap control of characters with the touch of a button. That allows players to take advantage of the abilities of the various animals to surpass the obstacles frequently placed in their path. It might not sound like much, but when you're racing through stages at breakneck speed, every little advantage helps. What's more, many of the issues from the previous version of the game have been improved. The addition of a competition mode adds more replayability as players challenge their friends in completing stages, and the ability to save and share time trial replays means that players can help out friends that are having some trouble clearing a level. The only main issue with the game is that the main adventure is still pretty short, and experienced Sonic vets can tear through each stage quickly by timing their jumps and maintaining their speed from start to finish. If you're looking for fast-paced fun, strap up your shoes and blaze a trail with Sonic Mania Plus.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about this title being made in cooperation with hardcore stalwart fans. How are works of fiction and art ultimately different when made by people who appreciate a property from afar as opposed to creators who are used to being behind the curtains?
Talk about gameplay. How would the game feel different if the main characters and enemies were humans?
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $29.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Sega of America
- Release date: July 17, 2018
- Genre: Arcade
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Horses and Farm Animals, Ocean Creatures, Robots
- ESRB rating: E for Mild Cartoon Violence
- Last updated: December 14, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.