UPDATE: New Sonic Mania Footage Reveals a Familiar Desert Zone, and Tails and Knuckles Playability

UPDATE Oct. 27: Additional commentary-free footage of Mirage Saloon, Tails, and Knuckles has been added to the original story, courtesy of Polygon and GameSpot.

At the 25th anniversary party, the debuting Sonic Mania trailer confirmed that Tails and Knuckles would be returning as playable characters for the retro celebration title. Today, we finally have footage of the pair, along with the reveal of a brand new desert-type Zone, seemingly inspired by the cut Desert Dazzle stage from the Sonic CD remaster.

See Mirage Saloon Zone in action in Kinda Funny Games’ playthrough—featuring Sonic Mania producer Lola Shiraishi—as well as additional gameplay below!

Shiraishi confirms that the Drop Dash is a Sonic-exclusive technique, and the video shows off Sonic and Tails being paired up as a playable unit as well. In a similar fashion to City Escape from Sonic Generations, Mirage Saloon Zone also features wanted posters for Fang the Sniper, Bean the Dynamite, and Bark the Polar Bear.

A Collector’s Edition for Sonic Mania is also available for preorder in North America and Europe.

What do you think of Mirage Saloon? How do you like Tails and Knuckles’ newer designs for the game? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

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Unparalleled Canadian greatness! Jeffrey is a writer for TSS and Gamnesia, a pianist obsessed with video game music, and a recent university graduate majoring in Communications. Loves all things Sonic and Nintendo to a fault.


  1. Tails and Knuckles look fantastic in this game. You have no idea how happy it makes me to be able to fully play as them again… provided we’re not counting Sonic Boom or other spin-off games. Tails looks so fluffy, and Knuckles looks like he ain’t gonna chuckle. So good. <3

    As far as Mirage Saloon Zone goes, I think it looks great! I'm happy to see them revive Desert Dazzle like this. It's filled to the brim with personality and cool set-pieces. I definitely look forward to seeing all the new zones in this game, as well as what new things they can do with the old zones.

  2. I wonder if the remixed past zones will have some story significance. Working in Sonic CD zones will be a bit strange if that’s the case. Just hop onto Little Planet for 1 quick zone and then back to the regular world for the next.

    1. I’m convinced that the game will have time travel in some capacity. Because if they’re going through old zones from Sonic 1, 2, CD, 3 & Knuckles… then they would realistically be visiting four locations at minimum: South Island, West Side Island, Little Planet, and Angel Island. Possibly the Death Egg again.

      This would entail a lot of flying around via the tornado, and for Little Planet, it’s much more complicated, seeing as it only appears for one month a year. I have to wonder what kind of wild goose chase Eggman would be devising to make Sonic have to go to all these places, and that’s not even accounting for new locations either.

    2. They said that it would and that they’re remixed to show how they’ve changed since Sonic last visited.

  3. Tails and Knuckles animate beautifully, but their sprites are awful – like they were drawn by a 12 year old amateur sprite artist.

    Mirage Saloon looks simply gorgeous – I love the pinball saloon theme!. If the whole game had levels like this and Studiopolis, there’d be no problem.

    1. Seems like Knuckles sprite resembles that of those in Knuckles Chaotix. So that may be why. Though it does look jarring for some.

  4. Is this really Desert Dazzle from Sonic CD? Cuz it looks more like that scrapped desert zone from Sonic 2.

    1. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^EXACTLY THIS!

      Only took us 24 years to get that level (lack of snappy croc though).

      Sprites – Tails and Knuckles best be revised and restructured.

      Glad the Blue Ring Box was confirmed as Hyper Ring for when you’re hit and NOT Chaotix style nonsense.

    2. I think its just a new level in general. maybe has inspirations but otherwise its seems too new to be straight from an older game or a old scrapped level.

      loving the western theme, also I love how Knuckles and Tails look. I think the sprite work is fantastic. it’s familiar but it has its own style and personality.

    3. Well, the situation is this: It began with Dust Hill (the scrapped desert zone from Sonic 2) who inspired Christian Whitehead to make Desert Dazzle for the IOS Sonic CD (but it ended up also being scrapped due to him not having enought time to work on it). Then Christian probably decided to implement elements from Desert Dazzle (and possibly Dust Hill) on a new level for Sonic Mania, and so, Mirage Saloon came to existence

      Basically, Mirage Saloon is a tribute to both scrapped desert zones.

  5. That’s a pretty cool zone! And Knuckles looks fantastic! Way better than I thought he would!

    And I know they have said those 3 will be the only playable characters in this game but I’m really hoping Amy makes it as well as Modern Sonic with revamped Sonic Advance sprites.

  6. If I have to complain about something, it’s that the lighting on Knuckles’ head makes him look too pink. Other than that this looks beautiful so far.

    1. Yeah I noticed that as well though I’m pretty sure that’s only the “lighting” of that level since Studiopolis has a lot of pink, purple and blue lights, think of how Knuckles looked a little pinkish while being underwater in some levels of the Genesis games, he should look full red in a stage like Green Hills.

  7. Am I the only one who wishes that they went the extra mile and made Classic Amy a playable character in this as well? I mean if they did, it would have been the first classic game where she is playable, and it would have been really interesting to see how they would innovate her gameplay style. I’d imagine that they would still stick to the basic gameplay well enough (I never liked Advance’s tendency to make sure that she didn’t roll into a ball naturally) while adding some gimmicks of her own like a double jump or maybe a hammer attack. I realize that it might be kind of challenging since you would essentially be building a “new” character from scratch, but if anyone could do it it would be Taxman, and plus with all the returning zones I think the game could use a little extra new element to it. DLC maybe? Guess we’ll have to see.

  8. The game looks great, no two-ways about it. Can’t wait for 2017! My only problem was the guy playing it just wasn’t good…at all. I get no one’s great the first time they play a zone but his noobishness was just painful to watch.

    It would be cool to see Amy in here but 3 characters is plenty and I’d rather see more zones than more characters. Though who knows, maybe she’ll be unlockable or they’ll have a special reveal. Or a scarier thought (since it’s Halloween), maybe they’ll make her paid DLC!

  9. Watch out folks, we might end up paying for Sonic Mania twice!

    Sonic CD has been made free on iOS but now includes ads which you can pay to remove, even if you’ve already paid for the game before it was free.

    Though to be fair, as far as the classic series goes, paying again for an old game isn’t exactly a new concept, nor is £1.49 a particularly big sum of money, but the sheer cheek of it is still disgusting. I’m assuming they’ll pull the same stunt with the Taxman remakes of Sonic 1 & 2 at some point.

    1. Thank goodness, looks like they came to their senses and sorted Sonic CD out. Now don’t pull that stunt again SEGA, I’m watching you! *Gives SEGA a dodgy look*

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