I have no idea what the hell went on with Sonic. Gone are days of creativity, endless hours of fun, and the basic love of rings. Instead, we’ve gotten Poorly Design Sonic (Sonic the Hedgehog 2006), Make it Stop Sonic (Sonic Unleashed) Vertigo Sonic (Sonic Generations), Steroids Sonic (Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric)
So when I heard SEGA was giving Sonic another spin, I cried unto the heavens screaming “why?” I hung my head in shame for what I expected would be one of the biggest gaming mistakes in 2017. It’s not often that I’m proven wrong, and it even less often that I’m willing to admit my mistakes, but this is a special case for a special game that has already captured my heart and won’t let my childhood memories die.
Sonic Mania is beautiful from the very beginning. Captivating my soul, it starts off with a 2D animation sequence that transports me to a world of the 90s and I’m a kid again… before everything went to crazy. However, Sonic Mania is more than a game. It’s a “thank you” for “hanging with SEGA despite the numerous times we’ve screwed you over.” It’s forgiveness for all the terrible things that have happened before. Though they can never promise they won’t do it again (Sonic Forces has yet to be released) here is a metaphoric rainbow.
Even the name, Sonic Mania is a perfect way to describe this game. Merriam-Webster defines “mania” as: periods of great excitement and euphoria. an excessive enthusiasm or desire; an obsession.
It’s a rare treat to see a game like this fall perfectly into this category. Why? Because while Sonic may have been created by SEGA, it feels like it was created by Sonic fans which technically is true. Developed by people who originally created Sonic fan projects, they’ve painstakingly created a homage to their childhood while adding in fresh ideas and clever gaming with an old-school flair.
As a massive fan of art, there was something special about the 16-bit Sonic and those bold bright colors. It never felt like it was trying too hard for your attention, instead, it was a sign of prestige and honor. From the very beginning, Mania has that same feeling when those bright and beautifully bold colors splash onto the screen like a Jackson Pollack painting. It whisks you away to Green Hill Zone where those familiar loops and golden rings await to be collected.
While previous Sonic games encouraged speed which often resulted in disaster for me, Mania takes the controlled chaos route. Yes, there are those uncertain crazy loops but the game also encourages you to take your time and explore. By slowing down, I’ve discovered newly added sections, secret coin locations, and opportunities to interact with the expanded environment (hey there, sexy wood chipper). There were moments when I was so lost in the game that I forgot that I had to complete the level. Once I did, I was greeted by another level that was even better than the last.
As a lover of movies and TV shows, I fell in love with the new Studiopolis level. Bouncing on film reels was a delight and the flashbulbs and music felt like a throwback to old Hollywood. Despite the randomness of the level’s inclusion, Sonic never felt out of place and the setting came off like an extension of the original game with even more exciting adventures to come.
One of my favorite new levels is easily the breathtakingly gorgeous Press Garden, which can only be described as magical. Light colors fill the screen as everything is covered with pink, airy and light colors. While I’m not a girly-girl, I was taken aback and enthralled with the level of charm that poured through my screen. Compared to Studiopolis’ darker, jazzy and more adult feel, Press Garden was screaming to whisk my troubles away onto the pink leaves that floated around Sonic. There were moments when I had to stop and just marvel at the game’s details, which quickly prompted Sonic to stare at me with his side-eye and the original “gurl, bye” foot tap (man, did I miss that stare).
As I continued playing, I noticed how easy it was to control Sonic. Previous games often made me feel reckless. Unable to figure out how to handle the controls, I would often crash into things, lose all my rings and spend wasted minutes memorizing how to jump. This game, however, even managed to get the controls right. Tapping into sense memory, Sonic was able to perform all of the commands without any issues. In fact, if I closed my eyes, I would have guessed I was playing on the SEGA Genesis.
Boss battles are the most delightful as they prove most innovative. While there are classic robots, SEGA has built upon their design and how each battle is executed, which keeps the game and each level refreshing. Ranging from weird to “wait.. what?,” there are puzzles, pattern memorization, wind speed, shooting and more. It’s very hard for me to pick my favorite battle because each one deserves to be recognized.
Sonic Mania is not perfect. Even though the good outweighs the bad, there are some frustrations and complications. Mania is much harder than those of yesteryear. While death is not an often occurrence because the boss battles are “unique,” there are moments where death is immediate. As a result, the game landed me back to the beginning, making me complete the stage again. Despite the stage checkpoints, through a series of trial and error, this was a common and annoying occurrence, which can be argued isn’t necessarily the game’s fault but something of my own failing.
Sonic Mania should be the reason why developers reboot games, not just because of money, but to witness how happy games make people. Instead of ripping the original formula apart, reboots should build upon a game success. It reminds people why they fell in love with gaming, while also introducing a new generation to that same passion a game can create. Sonic Mania does both and more, it’s a game that will have you fighting to play with others and possibly your kids. The last Sonic game i have enjoyed very well was Sonic Generations but before that game, you would have to take me back to 1994 for Sonic and Knuckles. I give this game a 9.5 out of 10
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Gululu smart water bottle, the fun way for children to stay hydrated daily.
Thank you to Gululu for sending a sample for my daughter to enjoy. How did she fair with this product?
Please check out our review below:
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I had the chance to cover Blogger Bash NY this past week and i have also got a sneak peak on the upcoming products from many developers. Check them out
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I was able to cover Sweet Suite’s Blogger Bash NY 2017 this past week and i have seen a very lot of toy previews and demos. There was also one table for SEGA and i have tried the upcoming Sonic Mania video game. I have been looking forward to this game since it was announced last year and i was happy that i tried it.
The game emulates the gameplay and 2D sprite animation of the original Sega Genesis Sonic games. In this game, you can choose between Sonic, Tails and Knuckles. On the demo that i have played, only Sonic was avaliable and i was shown two stages. One is a remastered Green Hill Zone which has a few noticable differences as you play along during the stage, and the other is a new stage called Studiopolis Zone. Studiopolis is a more challenging stage and i had fun trying it. It took me almost 5 minutes to complete it but anyone who tries a new stage in any game will take some time to get used to it.
In addition to the standard Spin Jump, Spin Attack and Spin Dash maneuvers, Sonic Mania introduces the Drop Dash, which allows the player to instantly dash into a Spin Attack upon landing from a jump. Also, the shields from the past Sonic games return in this game and some of them has effects that can affect an stage such as the flame shield burning away spiked bridges in the Green Hill Zone.
Overall, i cannot wait to try the full version of this game when it releases next month for the PS4, XBOX ONE and Steam. There is also an collectors edition for anyone who preorders the game. I have not been anticipating an Sonic video game since Sonic Generations and i love that game.
I have also taken photos of some of the cool merchandise line as well. check them out.
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Slated for a launch on September 29th, the Super NES Classic Edition is a console kit similar to the original console that launched more than 20 years ago. Like the NES Classic edition that came before it, the new Super NES allows you to play retro Nintendo games in high-definition, over HDMI with two included wired controllers.
Nintendo will pre-install the following 21 classic games:
Contra III: The Alien Wars™
Donkey Kong Country™
Final Fantasy III
Kirby™ Super Star
Kirby’s Dream Course™
The Legend of Zelda™: A Link to the Past™
Mega Man® X
Secret of Mana
Star Fox™ 2 (released for the first time ever)
Street Fighter® II Turbo: Hyper Fighting
Super Castlevania IV™
Super Ghouls ’n Ghosts®
Super Mario Kart™
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars™
Super Mario World™
Super Punch-Out!! ™
The Super NES Classic Edition launches on Sept. 29 at a retail price of $79.99, starting with direct availability from Nintendo.
Shimano is opening SHIMANO BIKE NYC this Friday. SHIMANO BIKE NYC is an urban concept pop-up store located at 473 W Broadway that will showcase 33 soon to be released bicycles from leading frame manufacturers. Visitors to the store will have the opportunity to test ride these bikes and experience the cutting-edge urban thrill for themselves.
This pop up store will only be in NYC till August. Get down to Shimano Bike NYC ASAP!
It seems there is no end to Monopoly being re-branded by popular shows and what’s the current next big thing. Catering to nearly every fad there are literally hundreds of variations and that is just the known and official one’s alone.
So how many times can the brand re-brand before people do not want to buy it anymore or lose interest. Never it would seem.One of the latest examples of Television show inspired re-branded Monopoly sets is the extremely popular, The Walking Dead series. Being a huge fan of the TV show i was delighted to see this back at the Toy Fair NY a few months back, and now i can finally review it after getting a review sample.
I handled this set with care as i studied this beautifully designed box, taking caution get scratched, cut or bitten by the packaging. It looks just like it has jumped right out of the AMC series along with using pictures from the television show’s characters and key locations such as Rick’s house, Hershel’s barn, The Prison, Terminus, Alexandria, The Hilltop, The Kingdom, The Sanctuary and much more.
The amount of character pieces seems to vary throughout the variations of Monopoly sets. This version comes with six playable pieces. Carl’s Hat, Rick’s Python Revolver. a Katana (Michonne’s sword), Lucille (barbed wire wrapped around a bat), Daryl’s Crossbow and a Walker’s head.
The board as you expect is completely re worked to relate to the series apart from the four corner squares which would not be Monopoly without them. The classic GO, IN JAIL/JUST VISITING, FREE PARKING AND GO TO JAIL!
Chance and community chest have appropriately been renamed as Survivor and Walker Each card has a small image from the TV Show and like the original Monopoly, an event, command or a consequence, but with it’s own take to liaise with the series.
Houses and hotels are still available but these are now known as walls and guard towers. Appropriate to relate to the series.
This is a game I am very excited to play against friends with as playing by yourself isn’t as fun, and a lot of my friends are just as much as big a zombie fanatics as myself. Heck I may even get into character and be a bat swinging gun slinging mad man with only survival to fight for. And should I get turned I’d better not bite any friends as I would have no-one left to play this awesome game with.
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May 2, 2017 – Los Angeles, CA – Beat Bugs, the preschool-targeted,
Netflix Original Series revolving around the lives and adventures of
five charming and funny child-like bugs who live in an overgrown
backyard, was all the buzz at the 44th Annual Daytime Creative Arts
Emmy® Awards. The animated program took home the gold for
“Outstanding Writing in a Preschool Animated Series” on Friday at
the Pasadena Civic Auditorium celebration.
Beat Bugs is a family animated series inspired by the music of The
Beatles, and re-recorded by today’s hottest contemporary artists like
P!nk, Eddie Vedder, Rod Stewart, Tori Kelly and more.
“With ‘Beat Bugs’ we started with the greatest songwriting of all
time, and with a team of extraordinary writers, we tried to do it
justice. Thank you to the Academy.”— Josh Wakely, writer, director
Kids in United States, United Kingdom and Australia to Band Together for Beatles-Inspired Music Fun at My Gym Locations
Beat Bugs and My Gym have struck a chord to activate a musically-inspired promotion at 178 My Gym locations in United States, United Kingdom and Australia this summer. In the months of June and July, children who attend classes at My Gym will enjoy Beat Bugs music, games and other fun activities, including coloring sheets and puppet shows.
Created by Josh Wakely, Beat Bugs, is an Emmy Award-winning animated kids series featuring music inspired by The Beatles. Currently a hit on Netflix, the story revolves around the lives and adventures of five best friends; charming and funny childlike bugs who explore and learn in their suburban backyard home. Each episode ties in a Beatles song in an innocent and child-friendly fashion, sung by one of the characters or guest stars that include mega-musicians P!nk, Sia, Aloe Blacc, Rod Stewart, Jennifer Hudson and more. Beat Bugs introduces a new generation to the music of the most influential band in rock history, The Beatles.
My Gym’s facilities provide a local place where children learn and grow through unique and exciting activities. My Gym Kids worldwide develop healthy minds and strong bodies under the guidance of trained and loving instructors in a safe, clean and noncompetitive environment. Find a location near you at www.mygym.com.
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Injustice 2 follows on from the Injustice Gods Among us story. This time seeing team Batman vs Team Superman call a break to take on a deadlier approaching foe, Brainiac. Injustice 2 brings a slew of new characters to the fold. The thrilling story continues were better graphics and battle styles. But does it have enough to keep you coming back?
What surprises you at first is that for a fighting game the Injustice series has done pretty well in terms of delivering an A class comic book story that is actually an interesting narrative that keeps you glued to the screen. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t surprised when I checked the time and noticed that I had lost track of time because of how engaged in the story I was. Injustice 2 and NetherRealm once again deliver a beautiful and engaging fighting game, one that could see people like myself who aren’t usually into fighting games, suddenly finding themselves thinking twice thanks to a compelling story, which you don’t often see in fighting games.
Story aside Injustice 2 is an excellent fighting game brought to us once again from NetherRealm Studios, who are the team behind Mortal Kombat. Combat is fast and fun and depending on your expertise level when it comes to fighters, each character now also tailors to how players handle a fight. I found myself a fan of using both Green Arrow and Flash as I felt their combos were easier to perform. Green Lantern on the other hand came off as a bit more of a challenge for me. Combos are the key to winning here, which is especially so at the online front of the game. On several occasions, I would find myself in a match where I was way over my head, but more on the multiplayer section later. Matches are filled with other environmental objects to help you take down your opponent. You can also destroy the environment sending your opponent through walls or other objects which then takes you to a sub part of that arena to fight in. A lot of what was present in Gods Among Us has been kept around in terms of world destruction and set up.
Injustice 2 handles a lot like its predecessor in terms of gameplay mechanics. You still have your special ability of sorts that sees each character perform some sort of chain of attacks in a cutscene. These are performed after filling your super meter, which can also be drained when performing other combos. I have to say that I wish there was more than just the one cutscene/special ability per character. Grows old seeing the same thing repeatedly. Especially when you can perform a special ability twice in a match, it would be good just to see more variety is all.
Thankfully though when it comes to variety Injustice 2’s character customization section is fantastic. From special suit accessories to the colour of the suit, you can make your favourite character to play your very own for the multiplayer section. Injustice 2 now includes a microtransaction system for anyone who may be interested in paying real life money to collect character specific items quicker than grinding for them. Players can buy source crystals with their own money to purchase certain other items to change the look of your favourite fighters. These are of course optionable. You don’t need to spend money. These are just for the players that want get them sooner than later.
This is where the game really opens up. I do advise completing the single player story first however as it helps you get a feel for each character and helps level them up and by completing each chapter you are rewarded mother boxes. Mother boxes contain items of clothing or appearances for each character. There are several types of mother boxes and each contains a certain level of rarity for special stat carrying clothes and weapons. They also have levels so don’t go thinking you can use an epic bow on Green Arrow when you’ve just started playing online. There’s some work to be done first. It pays to work hard as each new article of clothing or accessory that you unlock from a mother box can help increase a certain stat for your character. These stats help you when you go against other players of the same level. You are also able to customize your card with different art works., much like Call of Duty for example. You also display your win/loss record so try not to perform poorly or your friends may see how good or bad you really are.
Graphics and Sound
Injustice 2 is a gorgeous game and the character designs are more stunning than its predecessor, including the world designs and clever use of arena objects that can be used as weapons. A lot of love has been put into the attention to detail here and it shows in every scene during the story and other offline and online fights. Injustice 2 has also some impressive voice actors. The great Kevin Conroy is back to voice as Batman which is always a treat to hear, as well as several DC voice actor veterans. While not getting into the story but as someone who reads the Injustice comics as well it was awesome to see it play out on screen and once again as it was beautifully presented.
Injustice 2 is a fantastic sequel to a much-loved universe. Another fantastic story is told while exceptional gameplay accompanies it. Injustice 2 is a gorgeous sequel that delivers on all fronts. While the story felt a little short to me and some of the ultimate attacks feel like they still could use some variation, I enjoyed my time here. Injustice 2 comes in a year chock full of Fighting games coming out left and right and I can say without a doubt that Injustice 2 deserves a spot on any comic fan or fighting fans gaming shelf.
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