- For the Bonus Stage introduced in Sonic Mania Plus, see here. For Bonus Stages in general, see here.
Bonus Stages in the Mania Mode of Sonic Mania and Sonic Mania Plus are thirty-two special areas that the player can visit separate from the main game. To enter a Bonus Stage, the player has to pass a Star Post while carrying at least twenty-five Rings. This will in turn create a Star Circle above the post that, when jumped into it, will take the player to the Bonus Stage.
The Bonus Stages are the same as the Special Stages of Sonic the Hedgehog 3, Sonic & Knuckles and Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, as well as the secret bonus game "Blue Sphere", and plays identically to them. Completing a Bonus Stage will reward the player with a Medallion. These trinkets serve to unlock bonus features in Mania Mode and Extras.
Bonus Stages in Sonic Mania take place on the surface of a spherical planet that is dotted with several objects. The ground pattern is a checkerboard-esque design that changes color with each stage.
Upon starting a Bonus Stage, the playable character is placed onto a spherical planet. Moving forward initiates the character's movements, and once moving, they will run continuously. The playable character will always travel along the lines that divide the checkerboard pattern on the ground, turning at 90-degree angles. Being spheres, the stages will wrap around as the playable characters move across them (meaning eventually, if a character walks in one direction without turning, they will return to their point of origin). The only ability the playable characters have in these stages is the Spin Jump, which will send them forward the distance of one square (or two spheres).
The line "Get Blue Spheres" will appear when the stage starts and sums up the central objective: the player has to collect all blue spheres found in the stage. Whenever a blue sphere is touched, the counter in the upper left will decrease and the blue sphere will become a red sphere which must be avoided. Spheres aside, there are also Rings spread across the globe. They act as a supplementary goal to collecting the blue spheres; collecting all Rings on the planet will result in a "Perfect" score. Like the versions of the stages that appear in Blue Sphere, the Ring counter in the upper right decreases with each Ring collected, similar to the sphere counter. Rings can either appear in the open or can be made to appear by enclosing at least one blue sphere inside a perimeter of red spheres. Doing so will transform the entire group of spheres into Rings and give the player credit for all the transformed blue spheres.
The longer the player takes to complete the Bonus Stage, the speed at which the character runs will increase (as will the music), which raises the danger of encountering a red sphere.
When every blue sphere is collected, all remaining objects on the globe will fly off. A Silver Medallion will then be awarded if the player has completed the Bonus Stage without collecting all the Rings there. Completing a Bonus Stage with both all the blue Spheres and Rings collected on the other hand will award a Gold Medallion instead of a Silver Medallion.
After finishing a Bonus Stage, the player will resume regular gameplay, from the Star Post where the player entered the Bonus Stage from. If the player entered a Bonus Stage while the playable character is in his Super State, the character will be reverted to normal.
There are a total of thirty-two Blue Sphere Bonus Stages in Sonic Mania to complete, which are played in a specific order each time the player enters them until the player collects all of the Medallions. Collecting all thirty-two Medallions will award the player with a side mode in Extras titled "Blue Spheres", which lets the player play a randomly generated Bonus Stage in two styles. The "Original" style features stage pieces identical to those in Blue Sphere, and the "Mania" style introduces a new set of Bonus Stages that add the Green Sphere and Pink Sphere stage elements. Then in regular gameplay, any Bonus Stage the player has not acquired a Gold Medallion on will be entered until all Bonus Stages are completed with a Gold Medallion. Once every Bonus Stage has been completed with a Gold Medallion, the Blue Sphere Bonus stages will be replaced with the Pinball Stage in Mania Mode, if the player owns Sonic Mania Plus or the Encore DLC. If the player does not own said DLC, then the stages will merely cycle through again.
|Ring||Can be found in different places. Collecting all blue spheres from the edges of large blue sphere groups will also turn each blue sphere there into a Ring. Collecting every Ring in a Bonus Stage will result in a "Perfect" for the stage, granting a Gold Medallion.|
|Blue Sphere||Obtainable spheres in the Bonus Stages which the player must collect all of to clear the stage. When the player gets the blue sphere, it turns into a red sphere. When the player obtains all blue spheres from the edges of large blue sphere groups, they turn into Rings.|
|Red Sphere||The most common sphere in the Bonus Stages, which the player should avoid. Touching any red sphere will take the player out of the Bonus Stage immediately, which is considered failure. They can be avoided by jumping over them or moving around them.|
|Yellow Sphere||If the player runs into one of these, they will vault the playable character forward a distance of five spheres.|
|Green Sphere||Only appears in the "Mania" mode of the unlockable "Blue Spheres" mini-game in Extras. Touching a Green Sphere will transform it into a Blue Sphere, requiring the player to go over it again to collect it. A large sphere group cannot turn into Rings if a Green Sphere is inside.|
|Pink Sphere||Only appears in the "Mania" mode of the unlockable "Blue Spheres" mini-game in Extras. Touching a Pink Sphere warps the player to the location of another, translucent Pink Sphere. After a warp, the player's movement stops briefly before moving. These work in pairs and can only be used once.|
|Bumper||When the player touches these spheres, they will bounce them backwards, causing the playable character to run in the opposite direction from which they were hit.|
Bonus Stage information
|No.||Amount of collectibles required|
- Some of the Bonus Stage layouts are directly derived from Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles Special Stages, with sixteen of them being the original layouts from the aforementioned game (including the aforementioned secret Special Stages), and the other sixteen being all-new layouts with new color schemes.
- One stage reuses the basic layout of the green Chaos Emerald Special Stage in Sonic & Knuckles (Super Emerald Special Stage in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles) but adds several spheres in a stairstep pattern to the map that were not present in the original design.
- Some of the stages' layout contain more Blue Spheres and Rings than the quota requirements.
- The pink and green spheres exclusive to Sonic Mania come from a proof-of-concept idea created by Simon "Stealth" Thomley, one of the developers of Sonic Mania, who originally created the idea for a scrapped remaster of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles (which would particularly feature a new Blue Sphere minigame).
|Blue Spheres||Tee Lopes||4:01|
- Sonic Mania Special Stages, Bonus Stages, and Time Attack Gameplay Revealed. Twinfinite (3 August 2017). Retrieved on 3 August 2017.
- Stealth (18 October 2014). Sonic 3 (& Knuckles) 20th Anniversary. Tumblr. Retrieved on 5 September 2017.