Let’s be honest, Sonic hasn’t had the greatest track record lately, as SEGA is still doing their best to find a good fit for their beloved mascot. Much like Sonic when he’s speeding, Sonic Mania came out of nowhere and took the gaming world by storm as being one of the best franchise entries in a very long time. Looking to strike while the iron is hot, SEGA comes along with Sonic Mania Plus (also known as the Encore DLC for those who already own the original game and wish to “upgrade”) that adds two additional characters and game modes to shake things up for fans while presenting a nice challenge for newcomers.
Those who missed out on Sonic Mania last year when it was released need not fear, as Cory Galliher has you covered in his review of it, as I go into what’s new in this DLC. First there’s the addition of Mighty the Armadillo and his cool stomp skill, and Ray the Flying Squirrel that can glide through the air. Next up is “Encore Mode” that takes the original levels from Sonic Mania and adds in some new elements to increase the difficulty and make sure of Mighty and Ray’s abilities.
If that wasn’t enough, there’s another mode in which you don’t have lives but instead get to play as Sonic who can team up with Mighty or Ray. This adds another level of challenge as you’ll constantly be swapping between the two new characters as you make your way through stages. There’s also a new, four-player competitive race mode for those who enjoy local co-op action among family and friends.
While things tend to be fun for the most part, there are some issues I’ve had as I played. The most notable being troubles with the stage design, as most of them hinder the characters from being able to use their abilities properly. Whether it’s Sonic and his speed being halted by numerous platforming issues, to Ray’s gliding getting you killed by enemies and obstacles that you thought you could sail past, there always seems be something in the way that causes you to get hit and lose all of your rings or just die outright.
It can be pretty frustrating, especially in the new Encore mode where the levels are even more jumbled around, but those who like challenges will get their fill here. Those who had issues with some of the enemy bosses in the original game will be happy to know some have been tweaked to bit a tad easier to combat against, but some can still be a pain to overcome.
If you enjoyed Sonic Mania or just love Sonic, then speeding out to pick up Sonic Mania Plus (or the Encore DLC) is a no-brainer. It would’ve been nice to have had some actual new levels added, and to have some that lets you cut loose with each character’s abilities, but there’s still plenty of that old Sonic charm to be had here that will keep fans and newcomers chasing down rings for quite some time.