6 Games Like Sonic Mania [Recommendations]

Sonic Mania breathed new life into the Sonic franchise by, ironically, taking the series back to its roots. Modern Sonic has found itself stuck with too much feature creep; the cutscenes which were once novel are now dragging down the whole experience, tons of new characters added to the overall cast to introduce new gameplay mechanics that end up detracting attention from playing as Sonic himself, and bigger and bigger narratives that end up falling flat because we keep seeing them over and over. Sonic Mania was a necessary attempt to remind people why they loved Sonic in the first place.

So it should come as no surprise that Sonic Mania was a massive success for Sega. We’ve even got a new DLC pack coming in the form of Sonic Mania Plus! So, while you’re waiting for the expansion, why not check out some more games like Sonic Mania? These six picks will at least tide you over until the summer!

Similar Game to Sonic Mania

1. Freedom Planet

  • System: PC, Wii U, Playstation 4
  • Publisher: Galaxy Trail
  • Developer: Galaxy Trail
  • Release Dates: July 21st, 2014

War is a brewin’. Tensions have been rising between 3 nations. Shuigang is quickly militarizing, Shang Mu is rife with corruption and government officials are eager to jump at the first chance of increasing their personal wealth at the cost of lives, and Shang Tu is vulnerable. There’s only one hope; utilizing the Kingdom Stone’s power to de-escalate the situation and get the power-hungry nations to back off. Sash Lilac and Carol Tea, two inhabitants of Shang Tu, are striving to keep the Kingdom Stone safe and end the conflict once and for all, even if Shang Tu won’t.

Are you a fan of classic-styled games like Sonic Mania but still enjoy the more narrative-heavy modern Sonic games? Freedom Planet is pretty much a melding of the two philosophies. The core gameplay is almost Sonic Mania beat for beat, with physics-based platforming, various different playable characters with distinct movesets, and gorgeous 2D sprite work. However, there’s a much more in-depth narrative to the game, but even if that’s not your thing, Galaxy Trail was kind enough to include an option to turn off the cutscenes to let you play through the game classic-style. And, hey, if you still want more games like Sonic Mania, there’s a sequel coming out in the near future that Christian Whitehead, the director of Sonic Mania, is helping out with!

Freedom Planet Trailer:


2. Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap

  • System: PC, Playstation 4, Xbox One, Switch
  • Publisher: DotEmu, Nicalis
  • Developer: LizardCube
  • Release Dates: April 18th, 2017

Beware, young adventurer! It may seem like a good idea to defeat the Mecha Dragon at first, but don’t let it fool you! Slaying the beast will only spell trouble, as it’ll inflict a curse upon you! You’ll transform into a Lizard Man! But, hey, if that happens, not all hope is lost, as word is there are other such transformation curses in the world. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be able to change into a Mouse Man or Lion Man too?

Not all games like Sonic Mania are necessarily going to be physics-based platformers. Maybe Sonic Mania has just got you in the mood to revisit some classic Sega games. Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap is actually a remake of Sega’s own Wonder Boy 3 for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive, with the same plot and level design, but beautifully redone art and animation that makes it look like a cartoon come to life. It’ll help scratch that itch for exploration if that’s what you’re looking for in games like Sonic Mania.

Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap Trailer:


3. Cuphead

  • System: PC, Xbox ONe
  • Publisher: StudioMDHR
  • Developer: StudioMDHR
  • Release Dates: September 29th, 2017

That Cuphead just can’t seem to keep himself out of trouble! He dragged his brother Mugman out to a casino in the middle of the woods and gambled all his earnings away. Worse yet, that casino was run by none other than the Devil himself. Now Cuphead is stuck between a rock and a hard place; either he can admit defeat and pay off his terrible gambling debt with his and Mugman’s souls, or he can work it off for the Devil and play debt collector to several others who sold their own souls to the Devil. Guess which option Cuphead took?

Cuphead is retro by more than looks alone; the gameplay is actually very classic run & gun style action gaming that used to put companies like Treasure on the map. Its 1930’s Fleischer-inspired animation isn’t just a technical marvel, but it captures that same sense of wonder that those surrealist action platformers used to provide, brimming with the excitement that almost anything could happen at any moment. For those looking for games like Sonic Mania that have got you excited about the classic action games from Treasure that found a home on the Sega Genesis, like Dynamite Heady and Gunstar Heroes, Cuphead is your pick.

Cuphead Trailer


Any Game Like Sonic Mania ?

4. Shantae: Half-Genie Hero

  • System: PC, Playstation 4, Playstation Vita, Wii, Xbox One, Switch
  • Publisher: Wayforward Technologies
  • Developer: Wayforward Technologies
  • Release Dates: December 20th, 2016

Shantae doesn’t know much about her lineage. All she knows is that she’s half-genie, with the genie side coming from her mother. She’s awoken one evening by a mysterious voice that tells her that only she can save the world from an impending doom. And, as it just so happens, the next day Scuttle Town (her place of residence) is attacked by Risky the pirate. Shantae’s uncle Mimic is robbed of the blueprints for the Dynamo. After Shantae retrieves said blueprints, she sets out on an adventure throughout Sequin Land to collect the parts for the Dynamo.

If you’re worried about jumping into the surprisingly lengthy Shantae franchise on its fourth entry, don’t. Shantae: Half-Genie Hero was designed with new players in mind and serves as something of a soft reboot for the entire franchise. And what you’ll find is an exploratory platformer not unlike Sonic Mania. However, while Sonic Mania is a bit more wild and fast-paced, Shantae allows the player to take their time and properly explore each area. So, if you’re looking for games like Sonic Mania but were hoping for a platformer with a bit more of an easygoing pace, you’d do well to check out Shantae: Half-Genie Hero.

Shantae: Half-Genie Hero Trailer:


5. Nights: Into Dreams

  • System: Sega Saturn, PC, Playstation 2 (JP), Playstation 3, Xbox 360
  • Publisher: Sega
  • Developer: Sonic Team
  • Release Dates: August 20th, 1996

Believe it or not, when we sleep at night, we actually travel to one of two realms. We either enter Nightopia, the land of dreams, or Nightmare, which… well, we probably don’t need to explain what takes place there. Wizeman the Wicked, the ruler of Nightmare, has begun to steal the energy of humans that enter Nightopia (called Ideya) by using servants he’s created called the Nightmaren. However, two low level Nightmaren – Nights and Reala – started a rebellion but we quickly imprisoned. Luckily for Nights and Reala though, two human children named Elliot Edwards and Claris Sinclair find themselves lost in the dream world and free them from their jail. Now Nights and Reala have restarted their revolt and hope to take down Wiseman the Wicked once and for all!

While it’s easy enough to find retro-style 2D platformers like Sonic Mania, you may be wondering what the 3D equivalent would be. Well, Nights answers that question without much dispute. It was conceived by one of Sonic’s original creators, Yuji Naka, and while it might look extremely different, it’s almost the exact style of gameplay. You have very expansive levels to get lost in, but it’s all about finding the quickest route to the end, changing Nights: Into Dream from just a fun surrealist adventure into a mad dash to beat your fastest times. It’s the perfect next step if you’re looking for games like Sonic Mania where you race against the clock!

Nights: Into Dreams Trailer


6. Super Meat Boy

  • System: Xbox 360, PC, Playstation 4, Playstation Vita, Wii U, Switch
  • Publisher: Team Meat
  • Developer: Team Meat
  • Release Dates: October 20th, 2010

Oh that horrible Dr. Fetus! Meat Boy was just having a lovely day out with his girlfriend Bandage Girl, and then Dr. Fetus just had to interrupt their fun! Now Meat Boy is on a world-spanning adventure to save Bandage Girl from Dr. Fetus’ evil clutches, and it’s not going to be easy. He’ll have to dodge buzz saws, missiles, lasers, piles of salt… you know, all the standard threats! And, hey, maybe he’ll find some friends from other indie games along the way!

Did you play Sonic Mania and come out of it thinking that you’d be having more fun if you hated all of existence itself? Super Meat Boy will fill that Nietzschean void. Okay, we kid, Super Meat Boy is wonderfully fun, bursting with creativity and exuberance for gaming as a whole, right down to the excited scream of “WARP ZONE” you’re awarded for finding secret areas. But keep in mind that it’s that sort of masocore platformer that will pummel you every step of the way, only rewarding the most diligent and diehard players who stick through it. It’s the perfect follow-up if you need games like Sonic Mania that really push you to your limits.

Super Meat Boy Teaser:


Final Thoughts

Remember: these are only six games like Sonic Mania. Sonic as a whole is just so massive and influential of a series that we’re sure you’ve got your own ideas too. Please, if you’ve found any games that have quelled your thirst for more Sonic Mania, share them in the comments below!

Matt Knodle

Writer

Author: Matt Knodle

I come from Indiana, where I grew up near a video rental shop that proudly stated “The widest selection of anime in the state”, setting me on a course to enjoy as much anime as possible. I’ve devoted myself to over-analyzing various sports anime and video games probably more than they were ever intended. I currently co-host a weekly sports anime fan podcast called KoshienCast with my good friend, Matt.

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