Alright, so Sonic Mania by itself is a gloriously great title. It's got 3 characters and a lot of really well designed levels that are both inspired and new from old levels (no, Green Hill from Sonic 1 doesn't have anywhere near the same layout as it does in Mania) .
It has a lot of charm and a lot of obvious passion put into it. It's a must have as is this game for sure. I have both the PC and Switch versions and have played both a ton. (Filled all the character slots, with emeralds on every save slot)
So, Sonic Mania Plus then. It adds 2 new characters, a 4 way competition mode and an encore mode as well as some other extras. Short: Is it worth it? Yes. As good as Mania? Yes but needs a patch.
Okay so if you have the digital version already and were thinking about this? Don't bother. It's not worth the money vs the upgrade cost. The artbook is nice, there's no manual and it's nice n' all to have a physical cart but...I'll get to it.
There's a good amount of content as an expansion but it's not perfect. The Encore mode is a remix of Mania mode, levels have slightly different layouts and way harder special stages and a new bonus stage that replaces Blue Sphere.
The mechanics are different in that, you have no lives and instead you have the characters you've rescued. You find them in TVs or the bonus stages and can ONLY switch between characters via TV's with a ? on it or a switch icon....or if you die with a character.
While this is interesting, this does leave you in a bit of a pickle since all of the characters have different perks so it can be hard to mentally adjust but also some paths are specifically made for Knuckles and if you die you get kicked back to a checkpoint. Rescuing the characters is a bit of a pain, the boxes to rescue them are a bit rare in later levels and the new bonus game? Needs a patch at the time of this review. Badly.
The hit detection is really, really janky. It's a pinball table but it doesn't seem to work as intended in a lot of ways, there's rescue bumper between the flippers and I've shot straight through it 4/5 times and when playing the 'rescue mini game' I've been way off and succeeded and close and missed when trying to get characters/power ups.
Hopefully that'll be patched.
Encore mode as a whole I'm not super into, it's good but I'd rather stick to Mania mode- thankfully the new characters work in that 100%.
-Do you like Sonic games from the Genesis / Mega Drive? You'll really enjoy this, it's accurate to the old games but improves upon them in many ways.
-Do you have the digital version of Mania and were thinking about this? Unless you're an avid collector I'd say avoid. The digital version is much cheaper and the extras aren't worth the cost even when discounted by the GCU.
-Are you new to Sonic but like platformers? Grab this, it's a really good platformer with a lot of variety and it's easy to learn and has a lot of tricks to master.