Here are the six best Sonic Mania levels put together by modders
There was a time when the only way to extend a game further was to use cheats or hope that an expansion pack would arrive soon to bring out new levels.
But we live in a time where modding a game can be very easy, as long as you have some patience. The Sonic community is a great example of this, where complete makeovers of existing games or additional levels were created to show off what more a game could do.
Since its release in 2017, Sonic Mania is still considered one of the best Sonic games of its time, but modders have expanded it with new levels, mods, characters, and conversions to extend it further.
With that in mind, we’ve played through countless levels to highlight five of the best, time and attention, to the complete randomness of how some fit so well into a Sonic game.
Water Ruins Area
This area is part of a collection that includes four other levels from Sonic 2, released in 1992.
Sonic 2 Mania is a team effort to recreate certain areas in the Sonic Mania engine, but with remixed music and their Act 2 variants distort what you think the level entails.
This mod has been the model for other modders to follow since it was first released in 2019, as other levels released before that would be 1:1 copies. Here they are fresh but look like DLCs from SEGA .
Aquatic Ruin Zone has been redone from the ground up, with remixed music and all enemies intact, alongside the dangerous arrows and breakable pillars that run through both acts.
This area is a great example of building on what made the level memorable while expanding on its design.
Released as part of the Misfits bundle, you also get three more areas as part of a demo that remixes established and cut levels from previous Sonic games.
The music is a big highlight here, where the drums and percussion make the track stand out as you run for a breath of fresh air or leap off platforms.
But what makes this area a highlight is how the level doesn’t stay in the underground parts of the Mega Drive version. As you try to jump and run to the top of the level, you see cracks of light in the background, reminiscent of a scrapped idea for the area that was found in a leaked Sonic 1 beta.
Once you reach the top of the level, you find an unexpected night sky, but it works so well that you end up accepting it.
Since there’s currently no way to change or add new bosses, you’re using the same one from Hydrocity Zone Act 1, but it still fits the brief, and wondering how a new boss might work in this remixed maze zone.
This is a level taken from the Master System version of Sonic 1, SEGA’s 8-bit system released two years before the Mega Drive.
Some probably consider the 8-bit port to be superior to the Mega Drive version, mainly due to the different areas such as Jungle Zone and Sky Base Zone, alongside the Chaos Emeralds hidden in each level, rather than motion sickness. Special events.
Instead, this mod is the best of both worlds, where you get one of the best levels in an 8-bit Sonic game, with its green and orange pixel art paired with its catchy music that has remained unchanged, and rightly.
Available in two acts, with the second act featuring a sunset theme, this is a level that begs to be redone in a future game.
It’s not just one area from the GBA sequel released in 2003, but six, all working as intended in Sonic Mania.
Music Plant is part of a collection of levels from the Game Boy Advance version of Sonic Advance 2, released in 2003. This was the second time Sonic had appeared in a 2D game on a non-SEGA handheld, with an appearance on the NEO GEO Pocket Color in 1999.
Here there are six areas recreated in Sonic Mania, all with its original music. But it’s Music Plant that is the highlight of this mod.
In one of the most colorful areas of a Sonic game, you bounce between piano keys as you race down rails, all within the Sonic Mania engine. The zone music is the origin of another SEGA game called Ristar, which is also in this mod, which fits well with the design and atmosphere of Music Plant.
But the mod is still under development, with more areas being worked on to be implemented.
Hill top area
We are cheating slightly here, as this is part of the Sonic 2 Mania mod which has Aquatic Ruin Zone in this list. But if you consider that there are two acts here, completely redone, with remixed music and a twist in Act 2, this is one of the best mods you can download for Sonic Mania.
You can also control other characters here, but Knuckles is a great fit for Hill Top, as you can slide and climb platforms while dodging lava.
The moments of being in a cave and the rising lava are all there just like in Sonic 2, and once again, both acts feel right at home in Sonic Mania. For a level that was originally designed to be an old version of Emerald Hill Zone during the development of Sonic 2, it has become iconic in the 30 years since its debut and is just begging to be redone for a future release. in 2D or 3D.
Do you remember playing The Lion King in the mid-90s and wondering if a level could work in a Sonic game?
Worry no more, because a talented modder has ported the fifth level of the SEGA Mega Drive game, with monitors and enemies scattered everywhere.
It’s a short level, as you have to get to the top, and Act 2 requires you to get to the end in less than sixty seconds.
But what sells it is a cover of Toto’s Africa that plays throughout both acts, which is random on the one hand, and therefore right on the other.
Its randomness is what makes this level so compelling, and while there’s virtually no chance of a Sonic and Simba crossover, it makes you wonder if other Lion King levels, or Aladdin on the Mega Drive, might also work for Sonic Mania.