Sonic Mania was one of the first good pieces of Sonic media to not have a "but" attached. "Yeah Sonic Unleashed is good but the werehog bits not so much, Sonic Generations is good but the 3D parts aren't as good as the 2D levels, the Sonic Boom cartoon is funny but it's still Sonic Boom," etc. Now Sega is building on the goodwill generated by the recent reboot/remix with two new projects tied to the Sonic Mania label: Sonic Mania Adventures and Sonic Mania Plus.
Don't let the word "Adventures" make you think Sega is putting together a remix of Sonic's 3D games (like Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2) the way Sonic Mania remixed and added to the hedgehog's games from the Genesis / Mega Drive era. No, Sonic Mania Adventures is a bit more spin-off than that. Remember the beautifully-animated Sonic Mania opening? Did you watch that and think to yourself, "I wish I could watch more of this"? Because, well...
Yes, Sonic Mania Adventures is just one step shy of a new Saturday morning cartoon for Sega's mascot. Animated shorts rendered in the Sonic Mania style will be popping up on YouTube in the coming months, available for all to view and enjoy. The above video is a sneak peek at the first episode.
The other project, Sonic Mania Plus, is basically a deluxe edition of Sonic Mania, coming this summer. If you already own the base version you'll be able to upgrade, but otherwise you'll be able to buy a physical copy which contains the base game, plus a 32-page art book, Encore mode (essentially a pumped up version of New Game Plus, which includes tweaks to Mania's levels), a four-player competitive mode, and two new characters: Ray the Flying Squirrel and Mighty the Armadillo.
Okay, so Ray and Mighty are actually old characters in a sense - they first appeared in a Japanese arcade game called SegaSonic The Hedgehog, which was released in 1993. So, much like the rest of Sonic Mania, their inclusion is a nod to the Sonic of old, and an homage to the early games.
Personally, and if you'll excuse the tangent, I would've rather seen Sally Acorn added. Sonic Mania was born from the passion of the fan and modding community (heck, the primary developers landed the gig because of the unofficial Sonic fangames they'd worked on) and the fan-made "Sally Acorn in Sonic the Hedgehog" is one of the best and most popular you can play. With her blaster and extra-high jumps, she plays quite differently than the rest of the cast, and as divisive as she is (some people hate her due to her portrayal in the Archie comics), I'm pretty sure she has more fans than frickin' Ray the Flying Squirrel.
Anyway. Sally is better. S'all I'm sayin'. Don't @ me.
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