Whoops. When SEGA accidentally pushed version 1.04 of Sonic Mania on PlayStation Network last month, it enabled the ‘Plus’ expansion for free. But, it was assumed that most of the new content was still locked away until its official July release. Well, one fan mistakenly discovered a way to access the entire ‘Encore’ remixed stages in the game, and managed to stream the whole thing too. Continue reading Sonic Mania Plus’ Encore Mode Accidentally Streamed in its Entirety
Ray the Squirrel and Mighty the Armadillo are two fine additions to Sonic Mania Plus, but if the upcoming Japanese soundtrack release is anything to go by there may be more callbacks to the game these two characters debuted in – SEGASonic the Hedgehog – than we thought. Continue reading SEGASonic the Hedgehog Stage ‘Trap Tower’ Revealed in Sonic Mania Plus OST
In a new interview with Famitsu, Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka revealed some interesting details about how long-lost Sonic characters Mighty the Armadillo and Ray the Squirrel managed to make their way into Sonic Mania Plus. While he was happy and excited to be able to bring the two heroes back, he was certain that the door on their return to the series was otherwise closed. Continue reading Takashi Iizuka: Without Sonic Mania, Ray and Mighty “Would Never See Light of Day” Again
Sega just announced at the Sega Fes 2018 event in Japan that they will be doing essentially a repeat of the Sega 3D Classics line on 3DS, but now on Switch. Just like on 3DS, these classic games will be brought to Switch by M2.
Disclaimer: The views in this piece may not reflect the views of TSS or other writers on the staff team. The intention of The Spin is to promote debate and discussion of an issue or something that’s happening in the fandom or the world of Sonic.
2010 was the year Sonic the Hedgehog came back.
Yes, we all heard the stories about how the franchise had declined not long after the jump to 3D, how gaming news outlets and critics even now would begin their pieces with some variation of “Sonic has had a rocky history,” and how every new Sonic game released around the “dark ages” period couldn’t shake off the dreaded “Sonic Cycle.”
Note: This review qualifies as mostly ‘spoiler free’, but it does contain information on stages, gameplay elements.
It’s odd to think it’s been so long since the last major Sonic the Hedgehog release from Sonic Team. In fact, it’s just over six years since the release of Sonic Generations for the 20th anniversary. I’m sure there were raised eyebrows as the 25th anniversary came and went without an A-list title, but perhaps the majority let this pass as the fandom became gripped amidst ‘Sonic Mania’. Continue reading TSS Review: Sonic Forces
If you’re a Switch owner who’s been wanting to try out the upcoming Sonic Forces game, today is your lucky day: SEGA has released a demo on the system’s Japanese eShop.
A new Sonic Forces trailer was recently released from Sega of Japan. This new trailer focuses more on the story mode, but also gives more detail on what you can expect from the game more than any trailer released so far. This includes being able to borrow your friend’s avatar, a sneak peek at more stages and more details on customization options. So what do you think? Has this trailer got you any more hyped for the game? Let us know in the comments section.
Here’s a translated version on the trailer from Woun.
New info on the Switch version of Sonic Forces has emerged from an interview DualShockers did with Sonic Team.
Well, of all the crazy collaborations we’ve seen over the last 17 years, we can’t say there’s been anything quite like this. To market the upcoming Sonic Forces in Japan, SEGA has announced that it is partnering with titillating bar and restaurant Hooters. Yes. Hooters. That one. Continue reading SEGA is Teaming Up With Hooters to Promote Sonic Forces
In recent years, there has been a rather nice trend with ‘Modern’ era Sonic games to include an atmospheric instrumental soundtrack, performed by a big-band orchestra. Sonic Forces will be no exception, following in the footsteps of Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Colours by getting a symphony involved in the game’s recording. Enter the talented musical ‘force’ (geddit?) of the London Symphony Orchestra!
Continue reading Watch the London Symphony Orchestra Perform Sonic Forces’ Soundtrack
Looks like the rumors are true! Sega has announced on the Sonic the Hedgehog Twitter account that Sonic Forces will be arriving on November 7th along with a US price tag of $39.99. On top of that, folks who pre-order the game will receive a controller skin for their system of choice. Along with the controller skin comes five different skins for the avatar based on several Sega/Atlus game properties including Jet Set Radio, Persona, Puyo-Puyo, Super Monkey Ball and NiGHTS. Looks like a great price and bonus for those interested in the upcoming game.
Sonic Forces will be available for Switch, PS4, X-Box One and PC November 7th.
[This article will contain some spoilers for Sonic Mania, so if you’re waiting for the PC version, see you next week]
You know how some people have these phrases that they use to try and articulate their feelings? Especially when it comes to Sonic games? Well today we’re going to look at one of them; this one:
“I want the villain to be ‘a true threat to Sonic”
Sonic Mania has officially released on a number of home consoles, but perhaps the most interesting release has to be on Nintendo’s newly-launched Switch platform. With its home-portable hybrid design, it makes it relatively easy to play the latest Sonic platformer on the move. So, a couple of our TSS reporters went walkies with their Switches to see if the experience was any good. Some of them found a pretty blurry line between the real world and the Sonic world… be careful out there, Switch users. Continue reading Sonic On The Road: Playing Mania on Nintendo Switch
As you all know, Sonic Mania officially (ahem) released on consoles back on August 15th, 2017, and it turns out a lot of people are just lapping it up on Nintendo’s latest system. Continue reading Sonic Mania Tops the Switch Download Charts
So you’ve gathered all of the Chaos Emeralds. You’ve defeated Egg Reverie. You have screamed your way through 32 taxing Blue Sphere levels, and collected a gold medal from each of them. You’ve beaten the game with Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles… and you’ve honed your speed-running skills in Time Attack…
You might be thinking you’ve seen all that Sonic Mania has to offer…but think again! Continue reading Sonic Mania’s Secret Ending! [SPOILERS]
So Sonic Mania is out and available to download on home consoles. On PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, there are a range of Achievements and Trophies to collect and challenge yourself with. If you’re having trouble getting some of them, why not look through our Game Guide for some pointers?
NB: Spoilers inside, obviously. Continue reading Sonic Mania Achievement / Trophy Guide
Note: This review qualifies as ‘spoiler free’, but it does contain information on stages, gameplay elements and story concepts that have already been made public by official SEGA marketing channels. Be aware, if you’ve been on a total media blackout.
In the middle of Sonic Mania’s main adventure mode, Sonic is warped to the Little Planet and finds himself in a spectacularly familiar place. Golden speakers line a series of curvy narrow chutes that catapult our blue hero into the sky, against a starlit backdrop. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Sonic Mania
Sonic Mania is out now on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and set to release on Tuesday 29th August on Windows PC. Here’s all you need to know about getting a hold of the game on your system of choice, and all the merch we know of!
Continue reading Sonic Mania Collector’s Edition & vinyl soundtrack back in stock; new t-shirts
It’s the final weekend before Sonic Mania is released, and boy has this been a game that a lot of fans have been waiting a long time for. A pure sequel to Sonic 3 & Knuckles is what a lot of people have asked for, and this collaborative effort between Christian Whitehead, HeadCannon, PagodaWest Games and SEGA aims to fulfil just that. So, with that in mind, what does our Sonic Stadium team think of the project, and what are our collective hopes and expectations for the game? Take a look, below. Continue reading TSS Roundtable: Our Hopes and Expectations for Sonic Mania
Welcome to ‘Mania Week’ on The Sonic Stadium! To celebrate the upcoming release of the SEGA/Whitehead/HeadCannon/PagodaWest collaboration project, we will be spending the next week producing a whole heap of awesome content – all about the Mania! This post will house links to all of the stuff we have planned, in one easy location, so keep this page bookmarked and come back often! Continue reading SONIC MANIA WEEK: Your One-Stop Shop for Mania News and Info!
While today’s leak of Sonic Mania will have us dodging spoilers for the next five days, there is one upside to it: SEGA has decided to release Sonic Mania’s opening animation early! Originally scheduled for the 14th, this animation continues where the animated pre-order trailer left off. Like the pre-order trailer, this was directed by former Archie Sonic artist Tyson Hesse. Continue reading VIDEO: Sonic Mania Opening Animation Officially Released
With only one week to go until Sonic Mania’s release, SEGA has revealed the game’s competition mode! For those wondering if the mode is playable online, the Sonic twitter specifically mentions friends can be challenged “locally”, so this would appear to be an offline-only mode. Continue reading Video: First Footage of Sonic Mania’s Competition Mode
SEGA has given us our first glimpse at Sonic Mania’s extra game play modes today, including the game’s special stages, bonus stages, and time attack mode. Continue reading Video: See Sonic Mania’s Special Stage and Time Attack Modes
Heads up, Sonic Maniacs! If you’ve been enjoying the aural pleasures of Tee Lopes’ Sonic Mania soundtrack until now, then it’s probably a good idea to sit down. Data Discs, the UK-based vinyl company that has a good track record (heh) of releasing retro SEGA soundtracks, is preparing a vinyl release of the upcoming 2D platformer’s OST. Continue reading Data Discs Releasing Sonic Mania Vinyl LP
During a recent interview with Playstation at E3, SEGA Community Manager Aaron Webber revealed that each character in Sonic Forces (Modern Sonic, Classic Sonic and “the Rookie”) will have their own unique soundtrack style. Continue reading Sonic Forces: Soundtrack Style Is Character Dependent
At the front of Sega’s booth at E3, there were two different lines; one queue was for Sonic Mania, while the other, about half the length, was Sonic Forces. The crowds definitely seemed more excited for one over the other. Have Sonic’s recent flops affected fan’s love for modern Sonic titles, or is there enough love for both the modern era and a fun romp through the golden age? More importantly, has Sonic Team learned from the mistakes of it’s past?
First off, it should be noted that this game doesn’t try to experiment with new game types – it’s a back-to-basics formula of what worked in Sonic Generations and Sonic Colors (the better received 3-D Sonic games since SA2) and building on that. For the first time in a long time, Sega is playing it safe. Do you want me to tell you how modern Sonic plays? He plays EXACTLY like modern Sonic. Do you want to hear how classic Sonic plays? He plays EXACTLY like classic Sonic. If there are any slight differences, I didn’t notice them myself.
The new game mode is played with the avatar, a character you create and referred to as “the rookie” throughout the game. You decide how the character looks and what species he/she is. I believe you buy extra gear for your character through both common gold and red star rings, thus giving a reason for you to replay levels and giving the game a whole “carrot on a stick” feel (although I’m guessing this seeing as how you can no longer regain any rings you lose). This makes some boss battles more challenging as me and Alex watched one poor soul who just couldn’t seem to beat Eggman during the classic Sonic boss fight.
During our play through of the demo, our avatar was generated completely at random; sometimes I’d get a purple cat, other times a black bunny, and there are videos on youtube of some playing as the red wolf from the trailer. Before you enter the level, you’re given the choice between two different “Wispons”, a wisp-powered weapon. A flamethrower Wispon allows you to use the burst wisps to project your character higher into the air, while the other weapon, a lightning whip, allows the player to execute the light speed dash and quickly follow a trail of rings. There were two different stages in the demo depending on the system: the Nintendo Switch got a level very similar to modern Sonic’s stage, in which you eventually travel a slightly different path, and I found this level to be the most fun level in the demo. He/she can use their grappling hook to swing up to higher paths or attack robots via a homing attack. Alternatively, you can also use your Wispon to bring down a whole group of robots all at once. The Switch level was fast, visceral and overall, fun. This was mainly due to going through the levels a breakneck speeds only stopping to attack your enemies, with no real emphasis on platforming.
…And that’s where the PS4 level comes in to play. Oh boy.
The level sees the player racing down the Green Hill zone as it appears to be undergoing industrialization, while being chased down by a giant robot crab while smaller robot crabs try to squash you along the way. This level is entire 2-D and requires precise platforming to get through – if you read Alex’s take on the avatar character, you’ll have some appreciation for why this is a bad thing. The physics while jumping with the avatar doesn’t feel right, and it is almost impossible to turn in mid air; small platforms throughout the stage make playing the level a bit of a chore rather than fun. However if this issue can be remedied for release, then the Avatar mode could be the best new gimmick yet avatar controls much like Sonic. Personally, I don’t want to fish, I don’t want to brawl, I don’t want to pilot a mech. I want my extra character to control like Sonic as I think that is what works best in a Sonic title! It seems that Sonic Team are really investing in the avatar stages, embellished with vocal songs that are only present in their stages. These stages have the potential to be the best stages on the Switch version of the game, and if they can nail the physics, this is looking like it could be a top-tier 3-D Sonic game.
I managed to play the demo on all 3 systems, and one thing I noticed was that PS4 version of the demon was playing on the PS4 Pro…and it showed. The 1080P graphics looked incredible, and were of similar caliber to Sonic Generations on the PC with ultra-high settings. The XBox One version looked to have been running at 720P as it seemed lower resolution; this might be due to anti-aliasing and as Alex mentioned in his article. The Switch version, while still very detailed, appeared to suffer the most graphically and seemed to be at 720 or sub-720P with jagged edges due to no anti-aliasing.
Physics aside, Sonic Forces is looking to be a solid, above average Sonic title. I think Sonic Team have made the right choice to stick to proven game styles, with the new gimmick being pretty much “Sonic with weapons”. I doubt it will beat Sonic Mania in reviews or sales, but still, it appears we are getting two great Sonic games in one year.
Join Alex, Sven and myself as we discuss Sonic Forces. Is it a hit or a miss and what do we think of the new Avatar gameplay? Are we actually getting TWO great Sonic games this year? Tune in!
I still can’t quite believe Sonic Mania is real. It’s certainly the kind of project many Sonic fans have dreamed of: a game by the fans, for the fans, that somehow manages to capture the nostalgia of yesteryear while simultaneously adding new fresh ideas to make it an all-together new experience. This is the video game equivalent of patting one’s head and rubbing one’s stomach at the same time: possible, but difficult to pull off. And yet somehow, Sonic Mania is doing just that, and appears to be doing it flawlessly if the E3 demo is any indication. Continue reading Sonic Mania E3 Impressions: Alex’s Take
I’ve had one question in the back of my mind ever since the Nintendo Switch was unveiled: how the heck was Sonic Project 2017, which was going to be a full-on next generation Sonic title, going to run on this thing? Fairly well, as it turns out, albeit with some very noticeable compromises.
The most notable difference is that the game runs at 30 frames per second – half the rate of the competing systems. Texture and models are of lower quality, with certain effects either trimmed down or removed entirely. The lush, wavy grass from the PS4 version of Green Hill is less lush and wavy on the Switch, and far more jagged, with even shadows being effected. The shadows cast by Eggman’s Eggmobile were distinctly lower resolution, appearing jagged with inconsistent levels of darkness.
Most of these issues, outside of the frame rate, are borderline unnoticeable in portable mode. But in console mode, the flaws are very apparent.
My fellow Sonic Stadium staffer, Jason, also got to see the demo in action, and he had this to say:
A few months back when the Switch version was announced, I’d guessed that the game would be at about half the frame rate of the HD versions and would probably suffer a little in the visual department as well – and I see this is the case.
That said, it’s not as bad as it sounds. There are still some nice effects in here that give it a next gen feel. The puddles of water are still reflective. There’s no real pop-in and you can see far out in the distance. The grass still waves around. The main difference is the lack of detail in some of the textures and the jaggy, 720P or possibly sub 720P resolution which may be due to no anti-aliasing. At least, it appears that way.
All of this is almost invisible in portable mode outside of the locked 30 fps. I’m still considering this version and the PC version as the ports I have preference over, with the Switch offering portability and the PC for it’s eventual modding. If the Switch is your only option, it’s still a solid port – just think of it as a PC game in medium to low settings vs. ultra-high settings for the PS4 version.
E3 demos are of course usually technically inferior to the final product – something we have seen in previous years with Generations and Colors, which both contained performance issues rectified for the final game. The Switch version was never going to be the version of choice for the graphically obsessed. But for those of you who’ve always wanted to take a 3D Sonic game on the go, this looks like it’ll be a great option when it launches alongside the console and PC versions later this year.
We took a bunch of off-screen images with an actual, high quality digital camera for this article. We’re including the ones that best captured the game, with minimal motion blur, in a gallery below. While off-screen still-images are never as accurate at representing a game’s visuals as direct capture footage, these should at least give you a firm idea of the level of graphical quality in this version of the game.
Join Svend, Alex and myself, the TSS E3 2017 team as we sit down to discuss the Sonic games experienced at E3! Today, we’re posting our Sonic Mania discussion, which you can watch in the video below! Continue reading E3 Video: TSS Sonic Mania Discussion
Sonic Force’s decision to include a custom character with a very different game play style has been a decision that has polarised the fan base. It continues Sonic Team’s history to add new dimensions to bolster the established 2D and 3D platforming in order to produce a more broad appeal. Continue reading Sonic Forces: Custom Hero E3 Impressions
I have a confession to make. I was never a huge fan of Sonic Retro. I’d lurk on their forums from time to time and I thought they tended to act a bit arrogant and cocky at times. They’d say that they could make a much better Sonic game than Sega. “Right!” I thought to myself. “A bunch of amateurs make a better game than veteran programmers? Bah!” However, Sonic Mania, lead by Christian “Taxman” Whitehead, is proof that it wasn’t arrogance, but the truth. Continue reading Sonic Mania E3 Impressions: Jason’s Take
Have you been wondering how Sonic Forces would perform on Nintendo Switch? Well wonder no longer! While we were on the E3 show floor, we were able to record some footage directly from a Switch. While it may not be easy to tell, the game is running at a consistent 30 frames per second on the console. As a bonus, you also get some off-the-cuff commentary on the experience from Jason and I.
You can expect a more thorough run down of the Switch version’s performance from us in a video and a write-up later this week.
SEGA has been frustratingly quiet about Sonic Forces since they revealed it as Sonic Project 2017 last year. It’s only been in the lead up to E3 that the game’s identity has begun to take shape publicly. While the game features shades of Sonic Generations, to call it an outright sequel (or rehash) isn’t quite right. The Forces demo is both familiar and new, if not also a little awkward.
The modern Sonic game play is essentially just a polished form of what we’ve been getting since Sonic Unleashed. Visuals aside, this game would be right at home in Sonic Generations, and there is zero learning curve for anyone who’s already played that game. The same can also be said for classic Sonic’s boss battle, which starts out as a new (if not exactly inventive) take on Eggman’s swinging ball weapon, replacing the ball with a buzz saw that cuts through platforms.
After that (easy) fight, Eggman hops into his Egg Dragoon, which first appeared in Sonic Unleashed, and starts attacking from the background. He fires a giant chain gun and chucks rocks and metallic boulders, the latter of which can be hit back to damage him. This part takes longer and is more entertaining, though the boss fight on the whole is fairly easy. The first two parts of the demo are as fun and polished as Sonic has ever been, but they do nothing outstanding or new design-wise. If all you want is more Generations (like me) than you’ll be satisfied with what’s on display for these modes in the demo.
So that’s what’s familiar, but what about the new stuff? Well, the visuals of Forces are a nice upgrade from past Sonic games. While some have complained that the new Green Hill stage looks barren compared Generations, this game looks better than any past Sonic game at an objective, technical level. The demo runs at a near silky smooth 60 frames per second, the first non-PC Sonic game to do so (Dreamcast HD ports notwithstanding). Individual blades of grass in Green Hill now move back and forth individually. In terms of pure polygons, this game is clearly pushing way more than any past Sonic game. These are the highest fidelity Sonic models I’ve ever seen.
That said, as with any E3 demo, the visuals aren’t 100 percent polished. At the end of the avatar stage, during a chase scene, the frame rate does get a little janky. But given that E3 demos typically boast notable technical issues due to their incomplete state of development, what I saw in the demo bodes well for the visuals in the final product. And speaking of the avatar stage, this brings me to what will surely be the most controversial part of this game.
I have felt uneasy about the player-made hero character since it was unveiled. While my time with the character does allay those fears somewhat, I do still have some concerns.
First, the positives: the “wispons”, wisp fuelled weapons that can be used for both attacking and traversal, fit surprisingly well with the flow of game play. During my playthrough, I used what was effectively a lightning whip. It let my character lightspeed dash across trails of rings, reverse the direction of my jump in mid-air, briefly boost forward, and attack and destroy horizontal rows of enemies. Overall, the wispon actually positively benefited the flow of play, and didn’t feel nearly as awkward as it looked.
On the negative side, there’s a learning curve to controlling the character. The character cannot roll, jump dash, or perform any of Sonic’s other moves. The way the character jumps feels different, and potentially awkward. I was missing a lot of jumps in my initial play through as a result, but whether this was because I was used to Sonic’s jumping mechanics and need to simply get used to the custom-hero character, or if the character’s controls simply aren’t very good, I can’t say without spending more time with the game.
Sonic Forces doesn’t look like it’ll be a groundbreaking title, but it ought to be a very fun one. While the hero character is a potential chink in the armor, it doesn’t look like the disaster I thought it might be either.
There will be additional game play impressions later this week, as well as a more in-depth impression of how the hero character plays.
Sega have just released a new trailer for Sonic Forces and it shows us our villains gallery including what appears to be a new enemy for Sonic to fight.
Looks like that Sonic will be facing off against Eggman, Shadow, Chaos, Zavok, Metal Sonic and a ‘mysterious new villain’.
All we know about the villain is that he has a ‘strange new ability’ and his name is Infinite.
We’ll keep you updated with more information as we get it.