SEGA recently announced that, in celebration of Sonic the Hedgehog’s 25th birthday, they are developing TWO more Sonic games. One of them, Sonic Mania, seems to have a lot of, in my opinion, misguided optimism surrounding it. Sure, at first glance it seems like exactly what Sonic fans have been demanding for years, but shouldn’t a gaming icon as beloved as Sonic be progressing forward, not backward?
The recent trend of retro revivals has seen its fair share of hits and misses. Capcom knocked it out of the park with Mega Man 9 and 10, somehow managing to make a new game that felt old. And indie developer Yacht Club Games showed they could improve upon the Mega Man formula with Shovel Knight, which has been a smash success. However, I have a feeling Sonic Mania is going to end up a lot like Mighty No. 9, an old-school throwback that was completely devoid of a heart and soul, and just felt like a bland nostalgia grab.
Sure, Sonic is back, but maybe he shouldn’t be. What felt like a groundbreaking game series back in the early 90’s just doesn’t measure up today. I don’t have a lot of faith in Sonic Team being able to take a formula that worked on the SEGA Genesis, and add new modern touches to make it enjoyable today. Sonic Mania? More like Sonic Malaise.