Sonic Mania is a game packed with secrets and unlockables, and in many cases keeps things true to the original games when it comes to unlocking hidden content. So here is a comprehensive guide to unlocking all that Sonic Mania has to offer (as far as we know) and yes this guide contains spoilers. You have been warned.
Time Attack and Competition Modes
Probably the easiest unlockables in the game are Time Attack Mode and Competition Mode (both of which we have footage of here and here). Time attack allows for the replaying of every level in the game in order to get your best time. It comes complete with online leaderboards and the ability to restart a level at the press of a button with no loading. Competition Mode is a two player versus mode based on the very same mode that was included in Sonic 2. It features the ability to play as any character and to compete for multiple goals.
Both Time Attack Mode and Competition Mode are unlocked after beating Green Hill Zone for the first time on your first playthrough, whichever character you play as.
Classic Moves for Sonic
Sonic Mania introduces a brand new move for Sonic being the Drop Dash, however the game also features the ability to switch to a past classic move. These are the Super Peel-Out from Sonic CD and the Insta-Shield from Sonic 3&K. The Super Peel-Out is performed by holding up and pressing the jump button, and it allows for basically a faster Spin Dash except Sonic is not in a ball and is venerable to enemies. The Insta-Shield is performed by pressing the jump button again, and allows for a brief second of protection from enemies, allowing you to damage them. Both these moves can only be used on a no-save playthrough.
Both the Super Peel-Out and Insta-Shield are unlocked randomly after returning to the main menu after playing the main story mode (titled “Mania Mode”), or through completing a few Blue Sphere stages. These are both most likely unlocked on your first playthrough.
& Knuckles Mode and Debug Mode
These two modes, often referred to as cheat modes, can be found under the secrets option along with Sonic’s classic moves, also meaning they are both only available in a no-save playthrough. & Knuckles Mode, named after the title of Sonic 3 & Knuckles which has become a meme, allows for the player to play as Knuckles along with Sonic, Tails, or even himself. Debug Mode, or previously the Debug Menu, is generally a Mode in which debuggers can quickly access certain levels and use developer tools, however it appears in a watered down fashion as a call-back in Sonic Mania.
Both & Knuckles Mode and Debug Mode are unlocked by either randomly returning to the menu after a playing Mania Mode or through collecting a certain amount of medals on Blue Sphere (be them silver or gold). Debug Mode specifically can also be accessed through any of the no-save options, or the Level Select but we’ll come to that.
Whilst Level Select isn’t exactly a mode, it is a nifty little secret that we’re sure most people have heard about by now, and how you access it depends on your console. Level Select can be accessed multiple ways and not only allows the player to jump to any level as any character, but also contains a sound test.
To access Level Select, you must go to secrets, make sure Debug Mode is turned on, then go back and highlight the no-save option. After, for PlayStation hold Square then press Options, for Xbox hold X then press Menu, and for Switch hold Y and press +. On Switch exclusively, it can also be accessed by pressing Y and B at the same time on the title screen. This doesn’t require previously unlocking Debug Mode.
The Extras – Mean Bean Mode, Blue Spheres, and the D.A. Garden
Sonic Mania even comes with a bunch of extras which include Mean Bean Mode – the Puyo Puyo game used for Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine, bought back for a certain boss. Blue Spheres – The game’s bonus stages can all be played again here. And the D.A. Garden – Also known as the Sound Test. This was what Sonic CD’s Sound Test was called.
These are unlocked as you slowly accumulate more silver medals and once you have them all, Mean Bean Mode is unlocked.
Some guy from the UK with a big interest in video games, mostly Japanese ones. Just starting up as a writer so go easy on me, it might be terrible.