Sonic Mania is the highest-rated game the Sonic series has seen in 15 years, publisher-developer Sega recently revealed on its official Twitter account.
Citing the game's Metacritic aggregate score on PlayStation 4, Sonic Mania currently sits at an 86, with over a dozen of the scores used at or above 90 percent. The Nintendo Switch release, the only portable version of the game available, currently has a Metacritic score of 91.
This news marks a change in the right direction for the Sonic series. Although it once rivaled Nintendo's Mario series in popularity, it has become a punchline in the gaming industry in recent years. After Sega abandoned its last console, the Sega Dreamcast, in the early 2000s, mainline Sonic games released for other consoles were typically panned for their poor quality. For example, 2006's Sonic the Hedgehog, intended to be a reboot, has a Metacritic score of 46. The notorious Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric, the most notable recent Sonic release, has a 32. According to Metacritic's metrics, the last game to be as well-received as Sonic Mania was Sonic Adventure 2, released for the Sega Dreamcast in 2001. (These scores do not include re-releases of older games on newer platforms.)
Sonic Mania was released for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch on August 15th. It's expected to be released for the PC on August 29th. The game is a return to form for the long-running franchise, mixing classic stages and visuals with new takes on the old formula. For its development, Sega hired three longtime Sonic fans and modders, including Christian Whitehead, the developer responsible for porting some of the original games to mobile devices.