Star Fox 2 Review

Star Fox 2 Review – Written by Jose Vega

Borrowed a friend’s SNES Classic Edition for the sake of reviewing this game.

Star Fox 2… it’s a game that many thought never would see the light of day. It was originally supposed to be released in 1995 for the SNES but Nintendo at the last second canceled the game to put their focus towards Star Fox 64. Star Fox 64 would go on to be a huge success but Star Fox 2 would end up being lost to gaming history. The game would eventually be leaked out years later in the form of near-final builds but the true complete version never came to be. During E3 2017, Nintendo announced the SNES Classic Edition, including the completed version of Star Fox 2. Does it hold up or did Nintendo make a mistake by releasing it?

Before I continue, I am reviewing the game on its own merits. Later entries in the franchise used features from this game that were better implemented.

Taking place after the events of the first Star Fox on SNES, Andross returns with one goal: revenge. He would then unleash his space fleet to conquer the Lylat System. Gen. Pepper asks the Star Fox team for their aid against him. It’s a straightforward plot. Nothing special.

Star Fox 2 plays similar to the first SNES game. The controls are similar and you can choose between 3 different styles. However, this game incorporates a number of additional features. You can choose two out of six playable pilots to use. Along with the main team, there are two new characters: Miyu and Fay. They’re also categorized into three Arwing classes: Balanced, Defender and Interceptor. Fox and Falco are Balanced being in the middle. Peppy and Slippy are Defenders with more health but less speed and longer charge. Miyu and Fay are Interceptors with less health, fast speed, and quick charge. I like this option better than how it was in the first game. You also have the option to switch between your chosen pilots with the Select button. Useful in case one of your wingmen is near death and you need someone fresh. It makes me wonder why they never implemented this in future games.

As for the rest of the game, battles occur in a map similar to some RTS games. You have your mothership that can be used to repair your fighters. The objective is to retake planets captured by Andross while having to contend with his forces. At the same time, you must ensure that Corneria is unharmed since Andross will order all his forces to attack the planet. If you fall or Corneria falls, game over. You move from one planet to the next. When you cross paths with an enemy, the game shifts into a flight section where your job is to take out enemies before they get away. When you arrive on a planet, the mission shifts to activating switches to access the enemy’s base. Then you go into the base, reach the core and destroy it. Planets also allow the Arwing to turn into a walker for ground combat. A nifty addition that adds a change of pace. Some planets have bosses you need to take out to access them. They offer a bit of challenge to the game especially since you are timed. As you progress, so does the enemy. Skill and planning are needed to take down Andross and his forces. Along the way, you will encounter the Star Wolf team in 1-on-1 dogfights and they can be challenging.

Depending on difficulty, the game can take from 40 minutes to more than an hour. You start with Normal and Hard. After beating the game on both difficulties, Expert Mode is available. With each increase in difficulty, Andross raises the challenge by adding more occupations, ships, forces, etc. Expert is considered to be the ultimate test with Andross pulling out all the stops. The replay value is high as with up to six playable characters each having unique styles, three difficulties and a great amount of challenge, it’s a game that will test you. It will really test you but it also gives you this drive to keep going especially in the harder settings. The game also grades you for how skillful you are in completing the game. Beating the game in Expert skillfully in the highest rank nets a nice reward for future playthroughs.

Star Fox 2 also has its fair share of secrets with the Pepper Medals. Collecting them (depending on difficulty) will unlock a secret area that you can use to power up and take on the challenges aside. This, unfortunately, makes the game easier but it’s a reward for diligent players who put the effort in finding the medals. The music is good with some tracks being catchy. They don’t hold a candle compared to the original’s music but it’s acceptable.

Though the game offers a lot, it does have its flaws. The game can have a tendency to slow down when too many things happen on the screen. It’s similar to the original but not as much. Controls can be clunky especially when you operate the walker Being that it was a game that should have been released back in the mid-90s, it’s to be expected. Star Fox 2 also has its voice acting in the form of sound effects, similar to the original. Though they aren’t as memorable sad to say.

It took Nintendo 22 years to finally release it and does it hold up? Not really but it shouldn’t stop anyone from playing the game and finding out what they’re missing. Sure the game is flawed in some aspects but the game is an enjoyable one. Many features that were introduced in this game such as the Walker would be implemented a lot better in later entries and it feels similar to the original but with some additions. Regardless Star Fox 2 is a game that should have been released back then. Had they released it then, it would have been revolutionary but Nintendo felt otherwise or in some cases scared. It isn’t for everyone but for those who want to give it a chance, you should. Star Fox 2 is worth it. Good luck trying to get the SNES Classic Edition just to play it that is.

I give Star Fox 2 an 8 out of 10.

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Pokken Tournament DX Review

Pokken Tournament DX Review – Written by Jose Vega

Product for this review is provided by Nintendo.

What do you get when you take two popular franchises and combine them together? You get something that caters to both. In this case, it’s Pokémon, an RPG franchise that specializes in capturing, battling and raising creatures and Tekken, a popular 3D fighting game franchise. Last year, Nintendo and Namco Bandai released Pokken Tournament, a fighting game involving Pokemon for the Wii U. It gained a lot of praise, despite being on a console not many owned. A year later, Nintendo would bring this to their new console and give it an upgrade in the form of Pokken Tournament DX. With this now on the Switch, does this surpass what the original lacked?

Pokken Tournament DX, like the original takes place in the Ferrum region. After creating your own character, you choose a Pokemon that you want to have as your partner. After that, you have the option to play whatever mode you wish. There are many different modes for you to choose from. For starters there’s the Ferrum League, a single-player mode where you and your partner Pokemon have to battle in hopes of being Ferrum League Champion. It’s also home to the game’s plot involving the Synergy Stone and how a strange Pokemon called Shadow Mewtwo siphoning its energy for some sinister purpose. It’s an all right story and it balances things nicely as you play. In addition to the Ferrum League, you can go into Single Battle for 1-on-1 against the CPU or if you have a friend, there’s Local Battle. For players that want to take the battle online, Online Battle is there. Online Battles give you access to ranked & player matches and you can set up tournaments too. There’s also the training mode for players that want to learn about the game and try their luck in the action or combo dojo in hopes of learning how the game and each Pokemon play. You can also customize your character in My Town and there’s a very deep amount. In addition Nia can be customized with different outfits as well. Pretty cool.

New to Pokken Tournament DX are the Team Battle and Daily Challenges. Team Battle has you choosing 3 Pokemon and using them to take on opponents in 3-on-3 battles. Daily Challenges have you battling with Pokemon that are assigned to you to earn Skill Points. I like this because it helps players be able to get Skill Points so they can raise their stats. Yes, there are RPG elements and it’s mostly for improving your Pokemon throughout the game. Not only that but the game gives you all the characters and stages right from the start. This includes Mewtwo and Shadow Mewtwo as well as five new characters. Four of them are characters exclusive to the arcade version while one, Decidueye is a character exclusive to this game bringing the total character count to 21. It’s quite a lot and it’ll give players incentive to try out each and every one of them. Support Pokemon are also included and like the characters, they are all unlocked from the start with the addition of a new pair: Litten and Popplio. Having them do help turn the tide of battle if things get rough and it’s always fun seeing them attack.

The gameplay is similar to the original with players using their Pokemon to duke it out on the field. Battles shift between Field Phase and Duel Phase and controls change depending on the current phase. Thankfully the controls are similar to the Wii U game and the game carries that Tekken feel. Pokken Tournament DX also follows a rock-paper-scissors mechanic in terms of attacking. There are three types: Normal, Grab and Counter. Normal beats Grab, Grab beats Counter and Counter beats Normal. Though the game is simple, it does offer a good amount of complexity in terms of its fighting system. Players who master it will dominate the battlefield, online or off. Each Pokemon also has a Synergy Burst they can use to deliver the coup de grace but it can only be done by filling up your Synergy Gauge.

Presentation-wise, the game is a big step up. The game runs at a solid 60 fps in both docked and handheld. I’m impressed that Nintendo was able to pull this off on a console like this. The stages do look colorful and at some cases, expressive. The Magikarp Festival is one example as you would never expect a stage devoted entirely to a Pokemon like Magikarp. Some stages do pay nods to the Tekken series and I like that. Characters are significant and well designed, whether it be during their attacks, animations or even their Synergy Bursts, they always have a way to provide something unique. The music is really good. Some tracks are addicting to listen to and can get you on your feet dancing. Controls are great and the game gives you access to multiple control opinions such as JoyCon, Pro Controller or even the Hori Pokken Pad. It’s pretty awesome. Gameplay is solid, load times are pretty short, customization is high and there is Amiibo support but it’s all for cosmetic purposes.

But if I had any negatives, it’s in the Ferrum League mode. Battling just to reach #1 and be able to access the Placement Test can get repetitive, albeit a bit too much. It does alleviate since you get experience to strengthen your Pokemon but some times, it can take upwards to an hour just to reach #1 and hopefully rank up. Another issue is Nia and at first, she can be very informative but her advice can be a bit tedious. Thankfully there is an option to minimize what she says in My Town so that’s a plus.

Overall Pokken Tournament DX is a big step up from the original. The game is just like the original but the presentation is a step up. There’s a lot to do and for $60, you have the complete package. With over 20 characters, loads of Support Pokemon, various ways to play and the fact that you can play it on the go really is the definitive version. If you haven’t experienced this game when it was on the Wii U, what are you waiting for? Get Pokken Tournament DX today! I promise you that you will not regret it.

I give Pokken Tournament DX a 8.5 out of 10. The game is a must own for anyone who owns a Nintendo Switch.

Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite Review

Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite Review – Written by Jose Vega

Purchased product for the sake of review.

Marvel & Capcom… they are two different companies that have one thing in common: a franchise where many of their franchise’s best duke it out against each other. In 2011, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 was released. Though it had a pretty positive reception, it wasn’t enough and the series would enter hibernation. Marvel was under the grip of Disney and before long, Disney would get involved making games of their own, only to call it quits after Disney Infinity bit the dust. Five years later, it was announced that Marvel and Capcom would be back at it again with a new entry into the Versus series. The game in question was Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite. Now that it has been released, does this game hold up to the hype?

The plot for Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite involves Ultron Sigma using the Reality and Space Stones to merge the worlds of Marvel and Capcom together. This creates a world where he is ruler but a legion of heroes from both Marvel and Capcom worlds unite to not only defeat Ultron Sigma but also find a way to undo and restore their respective worlds.

Many previous entries didn’t have much of a plot but this is the first time in the series where the plot takes precedence. Sadly I feel that it isn’t as interesting. Capcom had hyped the game’s story as being the main focal point. All it did sadly was only damage the overall presentation, especially when the demo was released a few months back. Compared to the final version it isn’t as much helpful and though it did improve when it came to the character models, having something that wasn’t as good in the beginning only serves to hurt the game, not help it. If anyone likes the story, more power to them. However I believe that a story had to be made in response to Netherealm’s games like Mortal Kombat and Injustice having story modes that provide a lot.

Gameplay has always been the Versus series’ strong point and this is no exception. Going back to basics, Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite is a 2-on-2 fighting game where you choose two characters and then duke it out either with the computer or online against other players. It also is a 4-button fighter with 2 punches & 2 kicks respectively, similar to Marvel vs. Capcom 2. One noticeable feature is the Infinity Stones, brought back from Marvel Super Heroes. They provide a nifty addition by adding an advantage that can change how your team handles the battlefield. By pressing either the left or both shoulder buttons, you can activate an Infinity Surge for a quick effect or go full throttle with an Infinity Storm after filling up your Infinite meter. This adds a lot of variety to the game, as each of the six Infinity Stones offers different effects. You have a choice of up to 30 different characters to choose from. More than half of the cast is from the previous game and unfortunately it hurts the overall game. You have new characters such as Mega Man X, Jedah, Gamora, Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers) and some that are coming down the line as DLC but I feel pretty disappointed that the roster is lackluster. Simply lackluster.

The game does offer a lot and compared to Street Fighter V, at least that’s better than having a barebones product. You have your traditional arcade and versus modes but there’s also Story. Story Mode will take you probably 2-3 hours to complete, more if players plan to do it in a higher difficulty. Mission Mode is back from Marvel 3 and it offers players a set of challenges they need to complete with each character. Online mode is also included with ranked and player matches. Players can also set up lobbied where up to eight players can play against each other. Interestingly, up to four games can happen in a lobby at once. It’s pretty cool. Compared to SFV, this game really offers a lot for your money’s worth and if you have friends then you’ll have a fun time. Also the game has an Easy Combo System that you can thankfully turn off in the options menu. It’s a neat addition for newcomers to get into the game without having to worry about anything complex. It also applies for Easy Hyper Combos as well, which like I mentioned can be turned off.

Though it has many positives, Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite has many things that hurt the game. The presentation isn’t that great. Character models may look good but most of the time, they feel off. Compared to the demo where they looked real hideous in some cases, I am happy that Capcom took the liberty to improve on the models after much feedback. The story isn’t as great and can sometimes be real jarring. Since story had been focused on a lot, it also means there are no arcade endings. A bummer. Music is also a bit forgetful. Many of the tracks don’t seem to hook you compared to previous titles and though the game uses techno, it doesn’t click. I mentioned that the roster was lackluster. Several well-known characters such as Wolverine, Magneto and others aren’t in the game. This is mostly due to legal stuff behind the scenes between Marvel/Disney and Fox over the film rights. It’s upsetting that they aren’t in and I can understand why but on the other hand, all of this is just one big advertisement for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Another big nitpick is DLC and it seems Capcom hasn’t learned their lesson from Street Fighter V. Unlike SFV, this issue is minor at best. There is DLC in the game and it comprises of six new characters as well as some alternate costumes. A season pass for this can be purchased but I feel that their business model will only do more harm than good for the overall game. Made no better that the game has a $90 deluxe edition and a $200 collector’s edition that is outright poor. It didn’t help that the game had pretty poor PR especially with Peter “Combofiend” Ross as well as Pete Rosas and Michael Evans saying stuff like characters are functions or saying that there’s no X-Men because fans don’t remember them. It’s poor PR on not just Capcom’s part but also Marvel and Disney. No wonder the game had controversy from the get-go.

Overall, Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite isn’t a bad game. It truthfully isn’t. The game has really good gameplay, addicting if you put the time and effort into it. However great gameplay doesn’t equal a great game if the overall presentation is lackluster. A poor roster of familiar faces with little new appearances, a story that doesn’t seem to grip you in, questionable choices behind the scenes and you get a recipe for disaster. Should you buy this game at full price? Absolutely not. Wait for a price drop or better yet, wait till Capcom releases a complete edition for this. Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite may be a game that would get the series out of hibernation but it’s not the game we’re looking for.

I give Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite a 5 out of 10. You want a fighting game that feels like Marvel vs. Capcom but plays well? Wait for Dragon Ball Fighter Z.

Metroid: Samus Returns Review

Metroid: Samus Returns Review – Written by Jose Vega

Product provided for this review by Nintendo.

It surprises how in one year a franchise can go from having an uncertain future to a ray of hope. Last year, Nintendo released Metroid Prime: Federation Force to commemorate the franchise’s 30th anniversary. It bombed, bringing with it a cloud of uncertainty and worry that Metroid won’t have much of a future. That changed in E3 2017 when Nintendo announced not only a sequel to Metroid Prime 3: Corruption but also a reimagining of an old classic. Metroid: Samus Returns is a retelling of Metroid II, released for the Game Boy in 1991. Did Nintendo learn their lesson from Federation Force and delivered something that would bring the franchise from the brink of death?

Since Samus Returns is a retelling of Metroid II, the story follows exactly as the original. Chronologically, it is set after the events of Zero Mission, the Metroid Prime series, and Federation Force. In the year 20X5 of the Cosmic Calendar, the Galactic Federation dispatches a squad of elite soldiers to investigate SR388 only for them to disappear. Upon receiving info, the Federation realizes that the Metroids would continue to pose a threat to all life in the galaxy. By unanimous decision, they contact Samus Aran with one simple objective: Travel to SR388 and exterminate the Metroids once and for all.

Unlike the original Metroid II, the game delivers the plot in style. There’s impressive artwork that details the events, setting up the game with great music to back it up. I’m happy this game provides something that sets things up. But once the game begins, the story takes a backseat until later on but it won’t stop anyone from enjoying this experience.

Metroid: Samus Returns is just like the original but the gameplay has been streamlined, following later entries in the series like Super Metroid, the Prime series, and Metroid Fusion. If you’ve played any of the games then you will feel right at home. They feel familiar, refined and just so satisfying. Samus still has access to most of her skills & abilities but there are a few new ones that give her some needed leverage. You can shoot in all eight directions but you can also go into a precise aim with the L button. Useful if players wish to use precision to shoot down enemies. In addition, there’s the Melee Counter. Many enemies will rush in to deal damage to you but with the Melee Counter, you can parry the rush and follow up with a damaging blast. It’s especially useful in fights against Metroids, as they lead to a cool cinematic where Samus goes in and deliver multiple missiles at them. I find it to be extremely useful, helping the flow of the battle and at times can turn it to your favor. However, expect to use it a lot. This game is a challenging one. Samus also gets access to Aeion, an energy source that adds additional abilities to her Power Suit, such as the Scan Pulse and Lightning Armor. They do take up energy but the unique skills offer Samus various functions to help with her exploration.

I mentioned that Metroid: Samus Returns is challenging and it’s no exception. The game will put your skills to the test as you travel through eight different areas within SR388’s confines and wipe out the Metroids. Like in the original, there are Metroids and they can evolve becoming more dangerous with powerful attacks, forcing you to plan and strategize to ensure survival. Metroids are also needed in order for the player to advance further down. New to the game is a Chozo gate that shows how many Metroids that need to be eliminated before you can progress. If you played the original, you get the idea. However, unlike the original, the remake also adds a few challenging bosses. This helps add a bit of variety and it’s better than going from one area to another taking down Metroids. Samus Returns can take around 6-10 hours, depending if the player wishes to collect all the items and upgrades. Yes. It isn’t Metroid without collecting and the game has plenty. The map thankfully details where the item can be but finding it will require skill from the player. Save points are aplenty along with recharge stations for health and weapons. Elevators are used for Samus to head up or down and if that isn’t enough, there are also warp stations. Warp Stations are useful to travel to an area real fast. Load times are minimal and acceptable at best, around 8-10 seconds.

As far as the presentation, the graphics are a big improvement compared to Federation Force. Being able to play as Samus is satisfying and she controls real well. The locations, characters, enemies and bosses are really detailed and expressive. Music in the game is amazing. Some of the songs are remixes from previous Metroid games but it doesn’t matter. They are just awesome to listen to. There isn’t much in terms of negatives but I feel the game is real challenging. In fact, Samus Returns is harder than the original Metroid II but it’s a good kind of challenging. It shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the game. Metroid: Samus Returns is awesome and I am happy that the series has a chance to shine once more. The game is also compatible with Amiibo. Scanning either the Smash versions of Samus or Zero Suit Samus can net some added firepower but scanning either of the new Amiibo will unlock some additional content after completing the game such as concept art and a harder difficulty mode. I am bummed that a harder difficulty mode is locked behind a figurine but I wish that Nintendo would give those that can’t get the Amiibo an option to unlock it without having to waste money for it. Replay value is very high if you want to complete it 100% with the fastest time, just like in every Metroid game.

What else is to say regarding Samus Returns? For a remake, it is a big step up from the original, offering a challenge while providing new features that add to the experience. It follows the adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” to a T. It delivers in so many ways and personally, it seems that Nintendo got the message and realized they dropped the ball. Federation Force nearly brought the Metroid franchise into uncertain doubt with many say that there’s no hope. Nintendo proved them wrong and delivered a game that is awesome on all fronts. Samus Returns is an immediate recommendation and I hope Nintendo sees the demand for more Metroid. If you haven’t gotten this game, do so now! You will not regret it.

I give Metroid: Samus Returns my highest rating ever… 10 out of 10. It earns my Seal of Approval and this game is a DEFINITIVE MUST BUY!

New Laptop Fundraiser

It’s been a while huh? I figure I would make a post like this because this is now a serious situation I’m in. Last month, my HP laptop suffered an HDD failure due to a botched update. As a result, my laptop has experienced some issues that are really being an issue. I was able to salvage it but now, it can’t shut down properly only to restart after doing so and the only way to shut it down is via hard shutdown. The only way to save it is by getting a brand new HDD and installing it. It also means that I need to reinstall the Windows 10 OS for it. It sucks but what can you do?

However, I went for a different alternative and that is to get a new one. So I went ahead and did a fundraiser to raise money so I can get a brand new one. I need one that can get me back on my feet and back to doing what I love and it’s making videos. So far, I have raised over $500 and I give shoutouts to those who helped.

Pr0bait – $500

Solratic – $25

Shatteredlight8 – $25

The laptop I’m interested in is this one: https://www.bestbuy.com/site/hp-17-3-laptop-intel-core-i7-8gb-memory-1tb-hard-drive-hp-finish-in-jet-black/5884843.p?skuId=5884843

Yep. That’s the one that I hope to get.

If anyone is interested in helping, you can chip in by donating at this link here: http://paypal.me/LgacyZX

Once I get it, I can get back to doing what I love without any problems. Besides, I really want to finish up some projects. Hope that you guys have it in your hearts to consider. But if you can’t, you don’t have to. You can always spread the word.

Sonic Mania Review

Sonic Mania Review – Written by Jose Vega

Product provided for this review by SEGA. Special thanks to them.

For more than 25 years, Sonic the Hedgehog has been one of SEGA’s flagship franchises. It had humble beginnings during the 90s console wars between the Genesis and SNES but after SEGA went 3rd party, the journey got a bit shaky. 2006 would be the year Sonic would enter a dark age with many of their titles getting mixed to negative receptions. Things would pick up in the following years, despite some flops, and last year SEGA announced that Sonic would return with 2 more titles. One of them, Sonic Mania has been hyped for some time. Does the hype pay off?

Sonic Mania takes place after the events of Sonic 3 & Knuckles. The plot centers on Sonic & Tails returning to Angel Island, learning that a strange energy source was sighted there. Unfortunately, a legion of Eggman’s robots has got there first, getting their hands on the Phantom Ruby. However, it whisks Sonic, Tails, Knuckles (unexpectedly) and the Egg Robots to a familiar locale. Seeing the danger & the evolved Hard-Boiled Heavies off with the jewel, Sonic along with Tails and Knuckles must team up to prevent the Phantom Ruby from falling into Eggman’s hands.

It’s simple Sonic storytelling. Eggman enacts another of his world domination plans and it’s up to Sonic and his friends to stop them. Surprisingly he’s not the only threat they have to deal with. Eggman’s personal squad, the Hard-Boiled Heavies are also involved. This makes things a bit intense but what do you expect in a Sonic game. I have no complaints with it honestly.

Sonic Mania brings Sonic back to its 2D side-scrolling roots and it’s one that works, taking inspiration from the 16-bit Sonic games that made Sonic what he is today. If you’ve played many of the old school Sonic games, you will feel right at home here. You have three playable characters: Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles. All of them play the same but with a few differences. They can jump, run, spin dash, etc. You get the idea. Sonic has a peel out move that lets him be on the move quickly. Tails can fly to avoid enemies and find hidden secrets and Knuckles can glide, climb walls, has a jump that isn’t as high & can access areas that Sonic and Tails can’t go through normally. You will need their strengths to conquer the game’s 12 zones. As far as length, you can beat the game in just a couple of hours and with three playable characters, it adds a lot in terms of replay value. There’s also Time Attack where you can race to get the fastest time and Competition where you and a friend can go head to head offline to see who can reach the end of a stage first. It’s great.

There are 12 zones in this game, each with two acts. More than half of the zones are classic levels from previous Sonic games but they’re given a revamp when it comes to level design. The rest are brand new to the game and offer so much to the experience. What’s interesting is that each level offers many paths for the player to come from. It’s still simple enough going from start to finish but how you go about it depends on the player. Sometimes there are secrets you can find such as item boxes or giant rings. Like the classic games, there are bonus stages and by hitting checkpoints or finding giant rings, you get access to them. Checkpoint bonus stages are of the Blue Spheres from Sonic 3 & Knuckles and completing them net you medallions and they’re used to unlock various secrets. The Giant Ring bonus stages have you chasing after a UFO that carries a Chaos Emerald. Your skills will be tested, as you must collect blue spheres to increase your speed and rings to extend your time. Beating them will be a challenge but worth it in order to get the Chaos Emerald. There are 7 of these and they get harder as you progress.

At the end of each act, there is a boss. Many pay nods to previous Sonic bosses. If anything SEGA really puts a lot of heart when it comes to the game and it shows. It also helps that Sonic Mania has a truly stellar presentation. The graphics are just what you expect for a retro 16-bit game and they did a job keeping it faithful to them. All of the levels offer something different and they are vibrant, full of colors and if you look hard enough, there are many nods and references to various SEGA related stuff. Sprites are detailed and authentic as well. They’re also expressive. Controls are very precise. Perfect would be too appropriate of a word to describe how good the game plays. I mean it. It’s perfect and easy to pick up and play. Whitehead Productions should be praised for giving us a Sonic game that feels like the old school games but in a new environment. I only hope SEGA can get him involved in a possible Mania sequel.

Although I want to praise the game for its presentation, what really nailed it in for me was the music. Tee Lopes went in and delivered a soundtrack that is godly. I kid you not. All of the music in the game is amazing to listen to. Whether it’s remixed versions of Green Hill & Flying Battery or songs from the new stages like Studiopolis and Mirage Saloon, this game has it all. A game that has a stellar presentation, topped with a superb soundtrack. What more needs to be said?

I do have one minor issue with the game and it can be quite a challenge. The game feels like the old school Sonic games and new players who may experience this can find it to be one that requires them to get good. The difficulty is a bit balanced but there will be some moments of unfairness. It shouldn’t dissuade anyone though. Sonic Mania has a lot of content and high replay value that anyone can be able to enjoy no matter what. But yes, it is challenging but there’s a good amount of reward for those looking to complete everything.

It’s surprising how fans of the Sonic franchise were given the go ahead by SEGA to produce a game that’s not only fun but serves as a love letter to the Sonic franchise, it’s fans and SEGA as a whole. Sonic Mania is a special kind of game. Being at around $20 is enough to convince anyone that it’s worth a definite buy. Everything about the game whether it be its presentation, controls, music, etc. delivers on all fronts. Sure it can be a challenge for those that have little idea but it shouldn’t dissuade anyone otherwise. If you haven’t played a Sonic game or if you feel you want something that reminds you of the good old days, Sonic Mania is THE game. The blue blur isn’t going anywhere and this game proves that he’ll be around speeding through for many years to come.

I give Sonic Mania a 9 out of 10. I want to make it a perfect 10 but I feel this rating is more than enough.

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