Sonic Mania: Encore (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Az Elias 01.08.2018

Review for Sonic Mania: Encore on Nintendo Switch

There is no contesting the return to form of SEGA's mascot following the excellent decision to allow talented fan game creator Christian Whitehead to team up with PagodaWest Games and Headcannon to develop Sonic Mania. The true Sonic the Hedgehog 4 the fans and series deserved, washing away the blemishes of SEGA's own (sometimes miserable) attempts at resurrecting the classic 2D gameplay of the '90s, this is a whole new beginning for the blue spikeball. What better way to continue the resurgence than with some enticing download content? After looking at Sonic Mania Plus, Cubed3 takes a look at the standalone Sonic Mania: Encore DLC for owners of the original.

It doesn't take much to get a Sonic the Hedgehog fan hyped up for more Sonic Mania. SEGA could have released a five-second trailer saying "More Sonic Mania is coming" and that would have been enough. There was a bit more to the marketing than that, though. The average person might have expected more than what this Encore DLC pack put together, however. The £4 price point warrants a double take, because that is unusually cheap for what surely must include a few brand-new stages.

Screenshot for Sonic Mania: Encore on Nintendo Switch

Sadly, there aren't any new levels to be found. In fact, this is actually quite a limited package. The full content is essentially two new playable characters in the form of Mighty the Armadillo and Ray the Flying Squirrel (old-school fans may remember these guys, who now get a chance to shine with the success of Sonic Mania); the Encore Mode, which introduces some adjustments in all zones for the new characters to take advantage of with their abilities; and the option to now play multiplayer with three or four friends locally.

Four-player split-screen is great, and looks surprisingly good now that the screen sizes are downsized appropriately. Even in two-player, the option is there to choose between a squashed, stretched output, or smaller individual boxes that maintain scale, where the latter is much easier on the eyes; all at 60 frames per second, too. It seems a bit ridiculous to put three- and four-player multiplayer behind a paywall, though. Some minor updates were included in a base game patch at the time the Encore DLC launched, such as adding extra cut-scene transitions between stages, so one might have thought the new multiplayer may have been bundled in free of charge, as well.

Screenshot for Sonic Mania: Encore on Nintendo Switch

Regardless, very few people are likely going to be buying Encore for its multiplayer update, so its inclusion can be seen as a bonus to the core of the pack, which is clearly the two characters and Encore Mode. Mighty, as his name implies, is a bit of a bruiser, and can unleash a slamming piledrive into the ground with a press of the jump button in mid-air, allowing him to bust through weak floors, destroy nearby enemies, and knock items down from trees. Ray has the ability to glide up and down in a style extremely similar to that of Mario when equipped with his cape in Super Mario World - but this move isn't as cheap as the plumber's almost game-breaking aerial skill.

Encore Mode essentially lets you run through the game again, presenting three separate save files and some slightly reworked zones that allow Mighty and Ray to put their abilities to the test. Breakable floors and sneakily-placed platforms are common, but the end result isn't anything drastically different than what has been seen before in the standard Mania Mode. Part of this is due to the fact that all five characters are playable in Encore Mode.

Screenshot for Sonic Mania: Encore on Nintendo Switch

In fact, the means of gaining lives is also different here as there are actually no lives to collect at all. Instead, players find extra characters as they progress through levels, adding them to the reserve stock. In classic Donkey Kong Country fashion, when one character dies, the next jumps into the action. Having at least two in total will always ensure two are visible on-screen, with a press of the X button flicking between controlling either one. Swapping in another character in reserve is done through special item boxes. It sounds a little complicated, but, if all goes swimmingly, you can have up to five characters available at one time, giving extra leeway for mistakes. Lose that last remaining character, however, and it is game over.

This is a pleasing change to the original format, where it provides another level of challenge and allows all characters to have a more meaningful presence in the game, thus ensuring players get accustomed to their unique styles of play. That aforementioned problem of zones still just being too similar to their Mania counterparts rears its head too often, though, and without the chance to collect emblems (which are absent in place of tedious pinball stages that are a means to acquiring back-up characters, power-ups, and rings), there isn't too great a desire to essentially re-run the game in this way, unless desperate for a reason to come back to this overall quality title.

Screenshot for Sonic Mania: Encore on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Sonic Mania's Encore pack gets away with having not much to offer because of its almost irresistible price. Super fans will lap this up in an instant, appreciating the addition of two new characters with unique abilities and slightly adjusted zones to put them to use in, but this isn't enough to entice the less hardcore Sonic Mania owner. Completely fresh zones would have really changed that. Guess that's a job for Sonic Mania 2.

Developer

Christian Whitehead

Publisher

SEGA

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?

Comment on this article

You can comment as a guest or join the Cubed3 community below: Sign Up for Free Account Login

Preview PostPreview Post Your Name:
Validate your comment
  Enter the letters in the image to validate your comment.
Submit Post

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Site Feed
Who's Online?
Azuardo, jesusraz, RudyC3

There are 3 members online at the moment.