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Sonic Mania’s Save System Sucks

Retro revivals don't need to copy everything from the past to be great.

Analysis by Tom Orry, .

Back in the day (which anyone old enough to remember playing Sonic the Hedgehog on its original Sega Genesis release is allowed to say), video games weren't kind to players. Saving in many games just didn't exist. One of those games was the original Sonic the Hedgehog. Speak to a group of people from the era and you're likely to find a handful who left their console on overnight in order to carry on playing the following day—some falling foul to a parent turning it off and causing the END OF THE WORLD. Sonic Mania has a save system so nothing quite as dramatic can happen, but it still sucks.

Sonic Mania saves your progress to a degree. When you reach a new zone—each zone is two acts, with a boss at the end of each—the game saves your progress so you can pick up at the start of the zone should you turn the console off completely or lose all your lives. On paper this is leaps and bounds better than the soul-crushing system that caused '90s children the kind of stress that can now only be experienced by agonizing over a tweet for hours only for it to get two likes and no RTs

But here's the rub: If you get a game over, you're sent all the way back to the beginning of Act 1, even if you made it to the boss. It's obnoxious, especially during some of the latter levels, which are long and quite difficult.

(Editor's Note: Sounds like Sonic Mania has that old-school charm).

This looks perfectly pleasant, doesn't it? Just you wait!

I'm not a fan of games punishing players in the wrong ways. Sonic Mania, in my view, discourages players from persevering with tricky bosses by penalising far too harshly. Being returned to the start of a zone doesn't sound bad, but in the context of having spent five or six lives trying to beat an Act 2 boss (no name drops here, but there's a LOT of Ray Winstone hard bastards in Sonic Mania), it's crushing.

When you fail at a boss fight, you failed to beat the boss. You've already proven that you can reach the boss by making it to the end of Act 1, beating the Act 1 boss, and making it to the end of Act 2, so why is the game forcing you to prove yourself all over again? It's infuriating, and it breeds a vicious circle where the sense of injustice is so high that mistakes are made while trying to reach the Act 2 boss for the second/third/fourth time. Inevitably you'll reach whichever version of Sarah Connor (T2 Edition) disguised as Eggman caused you problems packing only a couple of lives, and fail again. The circle repeats and your hate for the game rises.

This early boss in Sonic Mania is nothing compared to what comes later!

Depending on your personality and willingness to use free time on thankless activities, you might choose to give up there and then. Why bother investing more time into a game that, frankly, couldn't care less about yours? And yes, I'm sure a lot of you reading this want games to deliver crushing blows in order to feel a sense of achievement, but beating the boss should be achievement enough.

Sonic Mania actually includes a mode that has no save file, in a nod to the original games, so why not include a mode that doesn't piss in your Cornflakes (I'm not sure if American readers eat Cornflakes, so replace that with Lucky Charms or Independence Day Loops or something) every time you fail. Checkpoints exist before every boss in Sonic Mania, so why not allow the game to save there too?

I like Sonic Mania a lot. It's a rather wonderful modern nostalgic hit that manages to be more than just a repeat of what came before. But that doesn't mean I don't hate it for the amount of times I had to replay two Acts in order to take another failed stab at beating a boss that resembles something from Paw Patrol, but with the annoyance of Peppa Pig. Retro revivals don't need to copy everything from the past to be great.

For more on Sonic Mania, check out our Sonic Mania Guide Hub, which is full of useful tips. We’ve also got a Sonic Mania Boss Guide that will help you defeat every boss in the game.

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Comments 60

  • Avatar for yuberus #1 yuberus 3 months ago
    Eh, it's the system they used in Sonic 3 and I think it worked fine there. As a game built around the concept of being a mid-90s throwback, I'm all right with a decidedly 90s style save system.
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  • Avatar for retr0gamer #2 retr0gamer 3 months ago
    I'd prefer if it was harsher. Send you back to the start of the game. A lot of the fun of sonic was finding new routes through old levels.
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  • Avatar for Number1Laing #3 Number1Laing 3 months ago
    Maybe the game should play itself.
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  • Avatar for themblan #4 themblan 3 months ago
    Having "sucks" in the title is not very professional and turns me off.
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  • Avatar for RocketShoes #5 RocketShoes 3 months ago
    @themblan Sonic Mania's Save System Blows?
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  • Avatar for Funny_Colour_Blue #6 Funny_Colour_Blue 3 months ago
    Yeah, these design choices were used to make up for the fact that 16-bit games were usually relatively short.

    For instance, Sonic & Knuckles by itself was kind of brutally difficult to beat without Sonic 3, especially the later levels. So what you would do is practice on the earlier levels to gain a large amount of 1ups in order to tackle the later levels.

    I'd rather have a game that takes a particular amount of time and challenge to beat, than a short game that's segmented which I can breeze though.Edited August 2017 by Funny_Colour_Blue
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  • Avatar for hiptanaka #7 hiptanaka 3 months ago
    Sounds alright. I like when there are some stakes, and thus a reason to learn where the secrets are, etc, in games like these.
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  • Avatar for Roto13 #8 Roto13 3 months ago
    @Funny_Colour_Blue Sonic & Knuckles is kind of a special case. That game feels like the rest of Sonic 3 right from the start, including the difficulty curve.
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  • Avatar for Outrider #9 Outrider 3 months ago
    "When you fail at a boss fight, you failed to beat the boss. You've already proven that you can reach the boss by making it to the end of Act 1, beating the Act 1 boss, and making it to the end of Act 2, so why is the game forcing you to prove yourself all over again?"

    Yup. This is one of the most obvious failures that comes up with designing difficulty. If you have a challenge that's segmented into distinct sections (in which your performance in earlier segments don't significantly affect your odds in the later segments), especially when there are already checkpoints in place, losing to a later segment should never make you replay the earlier segments. (Sure, if you want to have an option that removes ALL checkpoints to for your own purposes, go have fun.)

    Singleplayer Mario Kart has the same problem: if you manage to get first place on every single race in a cup and then get caught by a blue shell on the very last lap of the very last race, it doesn't make any sense to be tasked with replaying every race in order to get three stars. Your performance on the first three tracks have no meaningful affect on how you start the fourth track (unless you think starting in a different position meaningfully changes your performance in a race, which I don't), so it makes no sense to have you redo the prior three tracks.

    Smash Bros For Wii U/3DS has it even worse: if you reach the final boss of the singleplayer mode on a certain difficulty level and THEN lose at the boss, you're given the option to restart at the boss BUT not at your selected difficulty level. At least in prior Smash Bros games, you could choose to restart at the cost of some earned currency and your high score. In the recent game it means that if you have no trouble with the prior stages in singleplayer BUT are having trouble against the final boss, there's no easy way to train against the boss at your chosen difficulty level. If you want to keep trying the final boss at level 9.0 (or whatever) in order to learn how to beat it, you have to beat the ENTIRE game again, since losing against a level 9.0 boss means you can only retry at a lower difficulty level. If the goal is about getting the player to get better by retrying the challenge it makes no sense.

    Ultimately, bad difficulty largely comes down to this: don't waste player's time! It's really not that hard. There are plenty of games that use difficulty as a clever part of the game's design, but in so many cases it's simply about trying to artificially stretch out the gameplay length.
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  • Avatar for fstim82 #10 fstim82 3 months ago
    As an American, I LOL at your Independence Day Loops, good sir.
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  • Avatar for Talraen #11 Talraen 3 months ago
    I don't like when games waste my time either, but I do think there are some positives to a system like this. I've been playing a lot of retro games recently, and I've noticed they're actually much easier if you play them without modern niceties like save states and whatnot. The reason, I think, is because having to replay sections you've already beaten over and over promotes mastery rather than mere competence. Is it worth the extra time? Generally, no, but at the same time, being able to rip through a stage that was once hard is very satisfying, and that never happens anymore due to modern game design. You only ever have to succeed at anything once.

    Essentially, we've traded the "getting better" aspect of gaming for a purely experiential one. And that's what I prefer, but I don't think the latter should cease to exist. If any game can have an old school mentality, a retro revival surely can.
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  • Avatar for link6616 #12 link6616 3 months ago
    I'm disappointed with that title. Nearly perfect alliteration if it weren't for mania. So close yet... So so far.
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  • Avatar for ViewtifulJC #13 ViewtifulJC 3 months ago
    "Don't waste my time!" is just too damn funny. We live in a world where games practically play themselves. We have savestates, checkpoints every time you scratch your ass, co-op helpers, easily breakable RPG elements, pre-order DLC that will give you a 10% DMG boost to get through this game even faster. Like if you're in such a rush to breeze through the game, just watch a longplay online. It'd even easier. Help, if you dont wanna ANY time wasted, skip right to the end, then you'll never have to put up with any challenge whatsoever.
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  • Avatar for Mark23 #14 Mark23 3 months ago
    As much as I really do feel your pain and agree how frustrating it is, I begrudgingly have to admit that when playing flying battery zone for what seemed like the 20th time (and it probably was), because the complete dickhead of an act 2 boss was causing me far more problems than it should've done, I found an alternate route. Just because of that moment, it all seemed worth while.
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  • Avatar for odaiba-memorial #15 odaiba-memorial 3 months ago
    Sonic Mania mimics the save system from Sonic 3, which works fine enough, but I too have to wonder why they didn't instead go with something akin to the mobile phone ports of Sonic 1, 2, and CD, which saved after every Act rather than each Zone -- especially considering Christian Whitehead's involvement in all of them. I can't agree that it would be a good idea to have save points before every boss; I feel like that would be far too accommodating, and come off as hand-holding or even insulting.

    I've heard this complaint from a couple gaming authors so far, and I just can't find myself to completely agree with the criticism. Yeah, it's frustrating having progress halted over and over, but it also makes it all the more rewarding when you finally prevail, and maybe even find a few secrets or shortcuts along the way. This modern era of gaming, filled with unlimited quicksaves and checkpoints around every corner, has only made me miss the days when failing in a video game had actual stakes and consequences.Edited 2 times. Last edited August 2017 by odaiba-memorial
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  • Avatar for LBD_Nytetrayn #16 LBD_Nytetrayn 3 months ago
    Reminds me of when Mega Man 9 came out on WiiWare. I was annoyed that saving towards the end of the game put you back at the start of the Wily stages -- just like the original NES games in their day, certainly, yet ironically completely unlike the Virtual Console releases of those very games on the same system.
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  • Avatar for KaiserWarrior #17 KaiserWarrior 3 months ago
    Do you play a game to say you beat it, or because you enjoy playing the game?

    The stages in Mania are gigantic, and I guarantee you that, even the fourth time around, you haven't explored every route and discovered every secret.

    This style of game is about optimization, and optimization only comes with repeated playthroughs. Maybe that's not your cup of tea, and that's okay. Not every game has to be for everyone. In point of fact, making a lower-budget title like this is great specifically because it has no need to be for everyone in order to make its money back.
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  • Avatar for DrCorndog #18 DrCorndog 3 months ago
    I can't even make it through this whole article. Can the save points be a minor annoyance? I'll give you that, but the level of complaining here is over-the-top ludicrous. It's like a bad April Fool's piece.
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #19 brionfoulke91 3 months ago
    "Wasting the player's time," maybe there's something to that idea. Maybe there's a benefit to removing all forms of punishment from a game. Maybe some people don't value the idea of mastering a game and for those people, we should prioritize the experience above all else. It's a valid point of view.

    But boy, is it completely opposite of my point of view. Personally, I value the way the original Sonic games handle saving... which is to NOT have it. There are benefits to this style of gaming, which I value. For one thing, it gives every life a lot more weight, and this naturally creates a lot of tension, drama, and excitement. Those are things that some people may not value, but I personally value them a lot. As other people have mentioned, another great thing about this sort of system is that by forcing the player to replay levels, it forces you to explore the levels in greater depth, learn shortcuts, and really master them. In fact, the traditional Sonic games were designed to maximize this type of enjoyment.

    The problem with this article is it doesn't attempt to understand or present my point of view at all. There's no nuance at all. It simply takes something I love and says "it sucks." And frankly, that kind of rubs me the wrong way.Edited August 2017 by brionfoulke91
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  • Avatar for AdventuringThruGames #20 AdventuringThruGames 3 months ago
    @brionfoulke91 Your view is probably overrepresented in the gaming media, if anything. People need to take off the nostalgia goggles and stop defending a shitty save system.
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #21 brionfoulke91 3 months ago
    @BrokenFantasy You're basically calling the way I like playing games shitty. And I think that's kind of arrogant.
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  • Avatar for Toelkki #22 Toelkki 3 months ago
    Personally, I'd rather play through two acts before dying against a boss and repeating from start than fighting just as long against the same boss. I gave up on Transformers once I felt the boss fight became a waste of my time. That's why I don't intend to bother with Soulslikes or Monster Hunters based on what I've heard about them. At least I get more variation when I repeat the stages than banging my head against the wall that is a boss and wait it to die a death by a thousand papercuts.Edited August 2017 by Toelkki
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  • Avatar for VotesForCows #23 VotesForCows 3 months ago
    Well this is a hot topic. As with most discussions of this nature (e.g. permadeath) there's probably no harm in just giving players a choice in the matter. For my money, a return to the start of the zone seems a little harsh, but then why have lives at all if there's not going to be a significant penalty?

    TLDR: I don't really mind either way, but give people a choice!
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  • Avatar for boatie #24 boatie 3 months ago
    "far too harshly" here meaning you have to play 2 levels again here (and only after a game over), and not years spent in a coal mine.Edited August 2017 by boatie
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  • Avatar for Number1Laing #25 Number1Laing 3 months ago
    @Outrider There's something about mastering a discrete of skills in total as opposed to the game figuring that every pixel you cross is proof you mastered it and ergo you never have to do it again.

    It's fine if you don't like that, but not every game needs to cater to your whims, and a game isn't automatically bad for not doing so.Edited August 2017 by Number1Laing
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  • Avatar for Powerglove15 #26 Powerglove15 3 months ago
    Instead of changing the way save files work maybe they can add a modern shooter mode so Sonic regenerates rings when he stands still behind chest high cover.
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  • Avatar for GustinHardy #27 GustinHardy 3 months ago
    This article is sadly indicative of the drop in quality US Gamer has experienced lately. What was once a site for well thought out opinion pieces and explorations of game culture has turned into clickbait links, random complaining, and bandwagon articles. Sadly it's making the site go from one I visit every day to one I can't help but cringe at.
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  • Avatar for BulkSlash #28 BulkSlash 3 months ago
    I definitely agree with the sentiment of this article. I haven't got far enough into Mania for the bosses to be particularly difficult yet, but I've plenty played of games over the years that expect you to piss away your time going through the same part of the game over and over just to get back to the bit you were stuck at (I've been replaying GoldenEye recently and the protect Natalya mission is like this).

    I'm not a fan of the way they've done the bonus levels in Mania. I failed one of the big ring bonus levels and it prevents you from replaying it, even if you quit and reload! What's the point of that? The checkpoint bonus games are just as bad, one mistake and you're out without any chance of trying again.

    I'm not 12 any more, I don't have the free time to do things over and over. I wish designers would be a bit more considerate and offer other modes for people who can't spend all day in front of the TV.
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  • Avatar for yuberus #29 yuberus 3 months ago
    @GustinHardy awfully rude and broad brush way of saying "I don't agree with this opinion"
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  • Avatar for GustinHardy #30 GustinHardy 3 months ago
    @yuberus To be fair, I don't care about this opinion one way or the other. Saying something "Sucks" and then an article about how a game save system works, good or bad, is not why I liked US Gamer. Just like an article about Hellblade's "permadeath" that at no point had the actual writer CONFIRMING that there actually was permadeath.
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  • Avatar for NightingaleXP #31 NightingaleXP 3 months ago
    Eh. I would normally be more on the side of this kind of modernization, but in this case I think it would actually detract from what I like about the game: it's like a genesis (or maybe sega CD?) Sonic entry that somehow never came out.
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  • Avatar for odaiba-memorial #32 odaiba-memorial 3 months ago
    @NightingaleXP The developers have said Mania is meant to have the feeling of a Sega Saturn Sonic sequel that never was.
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  • Avatar for jholden3249 #33 jholden3249 3 months ago
    @retr0gamer
    It is. The no save system slot is very much alive and well. And it gives you exactly what you're asking for
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  • Avatar for Sarahhsweetiee #34 Sarahhsweetiee 3 months ago
    I see that this post gets a lot of hate and i understand that..But I also agree with him after spending 2 or 3 hours of Flying battery zone working my way through act 1&2 i can practically do it in my sleep. but the act 2 boss is such bullshit that after getting a gameover i have to do act 1 all over again and i slowly get discouraged to play anymore. I get it, it's a classic a nostalgic throw back of 2D sonics greatest levels but does it really need the same system? A boss save point would of been something nice for the game since we're fighting new complex bosses. I hope there's a patch or update for boss saves soon.
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  • Avatar for AdventuringThruGames #35 AdventuringThruGames 3 months ago
    @brionfoulke91 No.. You just like a system that happens to be shitty.. No helping poor taste ;) But seriously, I wouldn't mind this if it was an OPTIONAL mode, e.g. "Hardcore" and then us filthy scrubs could have a "Casual" mode.. Just hoping modders hop onto this missed opportunity. It surely wouldn't have taken the developers a whole lot of work to include a Casual mode and yet they deliberately refrained from doing so, thereby probably greatly limiting their potential audience for what looks like an otherwise awesome game.
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  • Avatar for AdventuringThruGames #36 AdventuringThruGames 3 months ago
    @GustinHardy Let's see.. Clickbait? No. This article's headline is VERY clear and not at all misleading. Random complaining? Nope. A very legitimate complaint related to a game that is super hot right now. Bandwagoning? Nope. As far as I can tell, this is the first article that has voiced this complaint about the game. If you were accusing, say, Kotaku of the above things, then I could understand. But this site? Nah bro.
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  • Avatar for MoogMasher #37 MoogMasher 3 months ago
    @AdventuringThruGames Please take your shitposting somewhere else.
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  • Avatar for JamesSwiftDay #38 JamesSwiftDay 3 months ago
    Considering the resurgence of challenging games like Dark Souls, I'm amazed to see an article like this today, especially over a game that's really not that difficult or long.

    Like people have pointed out, this game uses the same, rather fair system from Sonic 3. I also didn't find the game particularly difficult, so I was only sent back to the start of Act 1 once (the final Zone after still trying to figure out the final boss).

    I hate to be the one to say this, but 'git gud', good sir.
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  • Avatar for JamesSwiftDay #39 JamesSwiftDay 3 months ago
    @BulkSlash Once you beat the last boss you can go back and choose whatever level to replay, and the big golden rings with the Emerald Stages perpetually reactivate then.
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  • Avatar for CK20XX #40 CK20XX 3 months ago
    What we basically have presented here in this piece and in the comments is a philosophical debate over what a video game is supposed to be. Are you annoyed by setbacks and just want to breeze through a game, or are you interested in learning, exploring, and mastering a game that dares to challenge you?

    I'm actually rather impressed to see a video game where extra lives actually matter for once. The 1-Up has become an increasingly obsolete invention, to the point that even Mario himself is ditching them at last, so reading of the author's struggles is quite a testament to how well Sonic Mania is designed.

    I'm afraid I must also confess that reading editorials like this makes me want to lapse into my best Cranky Kong impersonation. "You damn kids, spoiled by your smartphones and shallow, dolled up Atari VCS games! Why, when I was your age...!"
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  • Avatar for Selphos #41 Selphos 3 months ago
  • Avatar for AdventuringThruGames #42 AdventuringThruGames 3 months ago
    @MoogMasher Go look up the definition of shitposting and then get back to me.
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  • Avatar for AdventuringThruGames #43 AdventuringThruGames 3 months ago
    TIL: wasting the player's time by setting them back an entire level (or even two!) as punishment for failure is somehow a good thing, justifiably insulting a bad save system qualifies as being arrogant because someone somewhere likes it, and wanting options and clarifying one's opinion is shitposting.
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  • Avatar for Admiral-Fyyar #44 Admiral-Fyyar 3 months ago
    "Retro revivals don't need to copy everything from the past to be great."

    Well put. Everything else about the game seems great to my eye (and ear!), but I'm also a moderate emulator player. Making a save right before a memorable moment or as a means to facilitate exploring alternate routes in old games is something I've taken for granted, so it doesn't make rational sense to me that CD's remake and Mania didn't have something similar. i.e. I wish they didn't try that hard to deliver that 90s feeling.
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  • Avatar for Admiral-Fyyar #45 Admiral-Fyyar 3 months ago
    @CK20XX "Are you annoyed by setbacks and just want to breeze through a game, or are you interested in learning, exploring, and mastering a game that dares to challenge you?"

    Interesting that "both" is not an option. I think it's that kind of polarized thinking that's fuelling the antagonism I'm seeing in these comments, not that I'm accusing you of willingly perpetuating it. The difficulty doesn't have to be 100% or nothing. If one doesn't fancy a modern, wimpy save system, they don't have to use it, at least not if said system is elective like in most emulators I've used. I wager just having the option available would make the game more enjoyable for many more players.
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  • Avatar for CK20XX #46 CK20XX 3 months ago
    @Admiral-Fyyar For my part, I do kinda wish that the game saved the act you were on, not just the zone. The reason is because every single Act is that unique in its music and obstacles, and especially after you unlock the stage select, you may not want to have to play through a whole level just to get to your favorite one.

    But the choice they went with ultimately made extra lives more valuable, which I like to see in this age where they're so heavily devalued.

    I'm also a little mystified that people are complaining about difficulty in a game that allows you to take unlimited damage most of the time. I was thinking that Sonic's classic health system risked making the game too easy, but apparently lots of people still rely on it to make it through.Edited August 2017 by CK20XX
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  • Avatar for Admiral-Fyyar #47 Admiral-Fyyar 3 months ago
    @CK20XX Well that's the thing, see? Including a save-anytime/save state feature wouldn't devalue the life system for people who enjoyed that kind of challenge, because they wouldn't be forced to use that save system. Increasing the frequency of auto saving (per-act vs per-zone) on the other hand, is not elective. I wouldn't mind per-checkpoint saving, but the extreme right of the fandom that's developed over the decades would probably get irate over increased auto save frequency in something like this.
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  • Avatar for CK20XX #48 CK20XX 3 months ago
    @Admiral-Fyyar Maybe. But I think I'd rather not see save states or anything close to it in the game. I'm heavily into emulation myself and I speak from experience when I say that save states will spoil you rotten.

    I think I'd rather see something like the golden leaf in Super Mario 3D Land/World, but it's really hard to picture that in a Sonic game, since traditionally Sonic is supposed to be the anti-Mario. But then again, maybe the S-Monitor, which gives you a temporary Super state, could fill that role. It's an item you usually see in Sonic's debug mode, but it never appears in the game proper.
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  • Avatar for Admiral-Fyyar #49 Admiral-Fyyar 3 months ago
    @CK20XX I guess that makes me something of a game options communist ha ha. I can drink myself to death, or enjoy a glass occasionally at the end of a work day. Save states are similar; I've abused them until they destroyed my experience, but then I learned the value of moderation. ;) I'm familiar with the debug tricks; coincidentally my experience with save states is actually what encouraged me to leave debug and cheat modes in the past for most games that support something similar, emulated or native.

    There are great ways to use them, I preference their use as somewhat of an "archive of best moments", and for those instances when I really want one emerald per Special Stage attempt (I'm looking at Sonic 2...). I would like to think instanced saving could work its way into everyone's good graces one day, but perhaps some humans do lack the discipline not to break their own experience with it.Edited August 2017 by Admiral-Fyyar
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  • Avatar for CK20XX #50 CK20XX 3 months ago
    @Admiral-Fyyar I'd say it's best to advocate for a per-act save system for now. Sonic Mania CAN be patched, after all. Then make sure everyone buys it more than they buy Sonic Forces. That will ensure that we'll get a Sonic Mania 2, where we can pitch more daring ideas similar to the rewind function in The Disney Afternoon Collection.
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  • Avatar for hazlov2004 #51 hazlov2004 3 months ago
    Hey tom orry git gud because its obvious you suck no really
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  • Avatar for MHWilliams #52 MHWilliams 3 months ago
    It's worth noting that this was written by our guides writer, or A) has a different aim than most, so any wasted time is keenly felt and b) has beaten the game and probably to a level most don't even bother with. Because, you know, he wrote the guide.
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  • Avatar for EndOfLevelBadGuy #53 EndOfLevelBadGuy 3 months ago
    Sounds like a classic case of 'git-gud'. Lol naw but Funny_Colour_Blue is spot on; "Yeah, these design choices were used to make up for the fact that 16-bit games were usually relatively short."
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  • Avatar for Admiral-Fyyar #54 Admiral-Fyyar 3 months ago
    @EndOfLevelBadGuy I disagree. I think the save systems (or lack there of) for old arcade and early home console games were built around hardware and memory limitations of the time, and the resulting challenge it brought on compared to some more modern games garnered an ideological following that prefers an antiquated save system, whether it be due to the enjoyment they get out of the challenge, the ego boost attained from working harder than some modern gamers for completion (see the "git gud" drivel), or simply because they are of a regressive mind set that requires the way things were to be the way things stay. Whatever the reason, the end result is one save per zone in the case of Mania.Edited August 2017 by Admiral-Fyyar
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  • Avatar for Outrider #55 Outrider 3 months ago
    @Number1Laing The key difference being that what I've described doesn't prevent you from playing the game the way you want to: you can still make yourself play through the entire level at once rather than stage by stage. By designing it so that you HAVE to beat the entire level all at once you're limiting the ways that the game can be played.

    So, no, I'm not saying the game should be designed solely for my preferences; I'm very clearly stating it should be designed to accommodate a much more common play style.

    It's funny: every time a discussion comes up about modernizing difficulty settings, people come out of the woodwork about how people want to ruin games and prevent them from playing them the way they want to, when in reality 99% of these discussions are about putting in additional options to account for other types of players.
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  • Avatar for Outrider #56 Outrider 3 months ago
    @Talraen You'll notice that I never once say that the ability to play a game like this should cease to exist. If you want to restart from the beginning of the level, that's on you, dude.

    I was also making the argument for attaining mastery over a challenge: if you're trying to master the level you're stuck on, it doesn't make sense to ask you to continuously beat other levels. It's just adding meaningless hurdles for the sake of extending the challenge.
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  • Avatar for Outrider #57 Outrider 3 months ago
    @CK20XX Well, no; the argument is over whether or not you want discrete challenges to be treated as such - in other words, a level is a discrete challenge and your ability to complete one level is irrelevant to your ability to complete a different level - OR do you want to be forced to replay other, unrelated challenges in order to complete the one challenge your keep failing on - in other words, you want the difficulty of a given challenge to be multiplied as you get further into a level even though your failure at the final part of the challenge is in no way impacted by your earlier successes.

    It's an artificial way to increase the difficulty of a given challenge and there are times when it can be done well, but the retro-style we see here doesn't quite work that well. Sure, it could be worse and not offer any save files, but at least that would be consistent with the design goals of making you get as far as you can based entirely on your skills. The fact that there ARE checkpoints between zones makes the lack of checkpoints between acts an arbitrary hurdle with no real basis in the overall game design.
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  • Avatar for Flipsider99 #58 Flipsider99 3 months ago
    @Outrider But that's just wrong. It's not arbitrary. Making you play through the entire act again is an essential part of the game's system of risk. Adding more checkpoints does not make the game better. This sort of game works better with more long-form challenges; challenges that unite multiple levels into one unit which you must work to pass as a unit. This works better because of how Sonic is designed, which is for the levels to be replayed. That's why there are multiple paths and secrets in every level. Also, having a harsher penalty to failure adds more risk, which adds more tension. That makes every time you fight the boss much more impactful as an experience, it forces you to pay attention and do your utmost to succeed. As opposed to giving you a checkpoint right before the boss, where you just throw yourself at it with wild abandon, not really caring if you die. It's a completely different experience and the former is superior.

    In other words, the game's save system is great the way it is, and your proposed changes would only make it weaker. There are some kind of options we're better off without.
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  • Avatar for Outrider #59 Outrider 2 months ago
    @Flipsider99 Couldn't disagree more. Nothing about the game's challenge is based on your performance from one stage to the next. Playing Act 1 poorly before playing Act 2 is no different from playing Act 1 well before playing Act 1, which is no different from simply playing Act 2 in isolation.

    In fact, if the main goal is to get people to replay levels in different ways, then it makes even more sense to provide a checkpoint before each Act. If I know I'm gonna have to replay Act 1 if I due during Act 2, I'm far less willing to explore Act 2 due to the increased risk.

    (Heck, if we take your argument to its natural conclusion, then the Act select menu should be unlocked from the start, which is actually something I agree with, but that's a wholly separate debate.)

    PLUS: if (like you say) the point of the challenge is to build risk with each level that's been completed, then everybody should just be playing on the No Save mode instead of getting any checkpoints.

    So which is it? Do you want people to be encouraged to replay levels (in which case a checkpoint before each stage would be ideal so players aren't unwilling to be risky during Act 2) or do you want people to feel the risk of losing all their progress if they die (in which case they should be playing on the "No Save" mode instead of using any checkpoints)?

    Look: it's fine for you to say "I just like having checkpoints between each stage instead of each Act", but let's not pretend it has anything to do with the design ideas you're suggesting.
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  • Avatar for Flipsider99 #60 Flipsider99 2 months ago
    @Outrider It's irrelevant if the game's challenge is "based on your performance from one stage to the next." You're acting like you've never heard of a longform challenge before. It needs no reason to exist other than that we enjoy it. You seem to have this idea that all challenges MUST be broken up into bite sized challenges, and while that's fine some of the time, it gets old. I don't want every platformer to be structured like Super Meat Boy. Sometimes I want a game like the original Sonics, where you have a limited amount of lives / continues and after running out you start the entire game over.

    "PLUS: if (like you say) the point of the challenge is to build risk with each level that's been completed, then everybody should just be playing on the No Save mode instead of getting any checkpoints."

    Yes, actually I would have preferred that no save mode were the default mode. I think Sonic words best with the structure of Sonic 1 and 2. In that you're exactly right.
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