Sonic the Hedgehog has had possibly the rockiest journey in video game development history. Since the IP’s initial success as a fast-paced, colorful platformer in the early ’90s, Sonic’s various titles have stuttered and often slipped entirely, only occasionally delivering uniquely rewarding experiences before being inevitably forgotten in the shadow of follow-up embarrassments. Yet some fans have never quite given up their adoration of the little blue rodent, eventually going so far as to develop their own Sonic the Hedgehog title in the style of the original games that started it all.
The result of these efforts is Sonic Mania, a nostalgia-driven game that harkens back to the ’90s era gameplay and artistic styles of the original Sonic games. You can check out yesterday’s launch trailer below:
There’s always been a definite charm to the aesthetics of the original games. It’s the result of a need to innovate when confronted with technological restraints, the byproduct of a developer’s genuine passion in their project that would eventually lead to the development of one of the industry’s most well-known characters.
Still, one would think that a game driven almost entirely by love for a 25-year-old franchise wouldn’t do as well as it has. Nostalgia, while undoubtedly a powerful marketing tool, would theoretically only apply to that small percentage of consumers who experienced the flavor of the first few Sonic games from the ’90s. Yet, in spite of this supposed limitation, Sonic Mania has reached almost absurd levels of popularity. Reviewers have praised the game for perfectly condensing the best parts of the series into one labor of love.
According to the official Sonic the Hedgehog Twitter, Sonic Mania has already become the highest-rated title in the franchise in the past 15 years.
It’s not undeserved, either. Sonic Mania reintroduces that unique appeal to the series that has been missing for so long. It essentially provides a chance to revisit your childhood, without any of the blemishes or marks of an aged title – and even a few innovations throw in, because the developers have taken special care to polish and perfect the gameplay of Sonic Mania with all the lessons learned of an old franchise.
Sonic Mania is available for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC for $19.99. For more information about the title, check out the game’s official page on SEGA’s website.