The Zone is an industrialized ancient ruin repurposed as a printing house by Dr. Eggman to print the doctor's propaganda. As with most other Zones in Sonic Mania and Sonic Mania Plus, Press Garden Zone is composed of two Acts, with a boss fight at the end of both.
Concept and creation
Act 1 takes place inside an old printing press factory in an ancient castle, which is used by Dr. Eggman to print his propaganda. Possessing a factory environment, wooden crates, metal crate frames, and conveyor belts can be seen throughout the Act. In the background, rolls of newspapers are seen zooming by. Those that move vertically have Sonic's face and those that move horizontally have the Phantom Ruby included on them. Snow-covered windows are also seen and pink vines grow everywhere.
Act 2 takes place in a surreal winter wonderscape within a Japanese garden outside of the castle, which has been described as the "true beauty" of Press Garden Zone. This area is filled with cherry blossoms and ancient architecture. Snow covers as well the ground, glowing lanterns can be seen in the distance, and snow and cherry blossom leaves fall from the sky.
Still on the hunt for Dr. Eggman and the Phantom Ruby, Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles arrive in Press Garden Zone via Hang Gliders. Along the way, they manage to destroy Eggman's local propaganda factory after making its guardian robot, Shiversaw, blow up.
At the end of the Zone, Sonic and co. come under attack by the Heavy Shinobi, another one of the Hard Boiled Heavies, but are able to defeat him. Shortly thereafter, they find Eggman who is working hard on locating Metal Sonic on Little Planet, which is once again mechanized and chained to the planet's surface. Upon noticing Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles, however, Eggman uses the Phantom Ruby's power to warp the heroes to Stardust Speedway Zone.
Having used Hang Gliders to reach Press Garden Zone, Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Mighty, and Ray eventually land in Dr. Eggman's rebuilt propaganda factory. Resuming their mission to retrieve the Phantom Ruby, the heroes make their way through the factory and eventually destroy its guardian robot, Shiversaw, who takes the propaganda factory with it to oblivion when it blows up.
At the end of the Zone, the group of heroes is attacked by the Heavy Shinobi, another one of the Hard Boiled Heavies. After defeating the robot, Sonic and co. find Eggman while he is working on locating Metal Sonic on Little Planet, which is once again mechanized and chained to the planet's surface. No sooner, however, Sonic and co. gets spotted by Eggman, who then uses the Phantom Ruby to teleport the heroes to Stardust Speedway Zone.
Press Garden Zone Act 1 allows players to reach great jumping heights through the use of Launch Base Zone's rotating tubes. Local Conveyor Belts can also be used to achieve elevated jumps, having been modified so the player can bounce off of them, and by holding down a button the player can increase their bounce's height. Also, touching the wheels of a Conveyor Belt will catapult the player in the direction they are spinning. Act 1 also has lights on the walls and ceiling that, when broken, will cause doors to open and platforms to slide forth, thus creating new routes. There are also typewriter blocks in Act 1's background that serve as additional platforms.
Several fragile crates can be found throughout Press Garden Zone Act 1, which can be destroyed with the Bubble Shield's Bound Jump or the Fire Shield's Fireball Spin Dash. These crates sometimes hide Item Boxes, so destroying them might prove beneficial. There are also giant presses in Act 1 that can take the player to higher areas (like elevators) when stepped on. These presses are kept from crushing the player against the ceiling by crates stacked on them, although a press will gradually break through them and ultimately crush the player if they do not get off it quickly enough.
Press Garden Zone Act 2 features snowblowers that can freeze the playable characters. When frozen, the player can slide around as an ice block to reach non-accessible areas, mow down obstacles and enemies, or shred tree trunks to access areas blocked off by the aforementioned trunks. This Act also has Spin Jump-susceptible ice blocks everywhere with different objects inside them (like Rings, Springs, Item Boxes, and spikes).
In terms of unique objects, Press Garden Zone Act 2 has arrow columns that shoot horizontal-moving Asterons. These Asterons both cause damage upon touch and act as temporary platforms when they get embedded in walls. There are also woodcutting machines that grind up tree logs into wood chippings when the characters stand on the logs, although the characters can get hurt by the machines too if they touch them after the logs are shredded down completely. Act 2 also has Springs that can be used only once and ice spikes that can be destroyed with a Fire Shield.
Act 1 features Conveyor Belts that can be used to get through many obstacles in the Act.
In Act 2, snowblowers are scattered all around, which can sent the player sliding across the floor in an ice block. This allows the player to destroy ice blocks that are littered throughout the Act.
The boss of Press Garden Zone Act 1 is Shiversaw, a floating robot armed with saws. At the start of the battle, the characters fall into a room full of crates. Shiversaw then arrives and immediately shatters one of its blades against a crate. Shiversaw's method of attack is launching its sawblades towards the characters. Shiversaw points the closest sawblade to the player character toward them to keep Shiversaw protected. The player must lure Shiversaw into shattering its sawblades against hard objects, which leaves it vulnerable to attack. Hit Shiversaw six times to defeat it.
The boss of Press Garden Zone Act 2 is the Heavy Shinobi, one of the Hard Boiled Heavies. The Heavy Shinobi will arrive into the boss arena with a wide slash and attempt to catch the player off guard. He attacks by using his sword to freeze the characters or by throwing Asterons as exploding throwing stars. To defeat the Heavy Shinobi, he must be interrupted during his jumps, which stuns him and allows him to be hit. Eight hits will dispatch the Heavy Shinobi.
Giant Ring locations
- The player should move left until they reach the corner with conveyor belts. They should then bounce on the conveyor belts to reach the platform above to the left. Progressing leftward through the false wall leads to the chamber where the Giant Ring is located.
- The route to access the first Giant Ring requires either Mighty or Sonic with a Bubble Shield as the leader. In the first ring chamber from Mania Mode is a cracked crate on the left wall and a Bubble Shield. The player needs to break this crate with a Bound Jump or Hammer Drop and proceed leftward through the false wall to a downshaft leading to a maze of crates. The player should then follow the crates upward to the right break to reach the chamber.
- Upon bouncing upward, the player should stay on the main path until they reach the ramp launching them into the conveyors in the ceiling (they will pass umbrellas, typewriter keys, and the first press). The conveyor ladder leads to a Star Post. Afterward, the player will come to the second press. Before activating it, they should make sure to hit the switch button on the top left. After going up the conveyor ladder, the chamber will be open all the way on the left.
- The player should take the ramp up the conveyor ladder to the right. They have to bounce left until the conveyor bounces them upward to the right. They should then jump down off the spinning tube and bounce off the spring to the left until they reach an umbrella in the floor. They need to break the column to the left and bounce up to the umbrella. Continuing right leads them to a chamber with typewriter keys and a switch on the roof. After going down through the passage, the player should go left until they break columns. Then, going right, they need to stay on top of the spinning tube, leading them down a hill to the right, ramping up and landing on a hill leftward. They should continue back and forth until the next spinning tube and stay on top. To the right of the Star Post will be the chamber. The player should make sure to jump over the breakaway floor leading to the boss chamber.
- The player needs to take the downward path after the snowblower. They should Spin Dash off the clinking platforms and continue right. After the Star Post, they need to break the iced Ring monitor, bounce to the top of the trees and go through the false wall to the left to find the first chamber.
- The player needs to go right and break down through the ice blocks. After being frozen, they should go left to bounce up. The player should get frozen again and break out and then continue past the Star Post until they get launched upward but without hitting the spring. They should jump up to the level going through the log and go right. When they are in the half pipe, there is a lower exit leading to a room with a floor of ice blocks. Breaking through all of them finds the chamber on the left.
- According to Aaron Webber, several fake names were created for the Zones in case information was leaked. One of the names for Press Garden Zone was "Backyard Dad Zone."
- Press Garden Zone was originally Pulp Solstice Zone, as was uncovered in the filenames for its music.
- This is the only Zone in Sonic Mania to not have its location confirmed or hinted.
- Press Garden Zone features several references and Easter eggs:
- There are several enemies in this Zone that have appeared in earlier games in the Sonic series:
- The horizontal rotating cylinders in Press Garden Zone Act 1 are similar to those from Launch Base Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 3.
- The lightbulbs in Press Garden Zone Act 1 that make doors and platforms move when broken are similar to the red switch boxes from Launch Base Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 3.
- The spinning platforms in Press Garden Zone Act 1 that the playable characters can revolve around on are similar to those from Sky Sanctuary Zone in Sonic & Knuckles.
- The conveyor belts in Press Garden Zone Act 1 which shoot the player upward are similar to those from Launch Base Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 3.
- The snowblowers in Press Garden Zone Act 2 are used in the same way as they were in IceCap Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 3.
- The idea of the player getting around in Press Garden Zone Act 2 by sliding around as a block of ice seems to be based on the same concept utilized in Diamond Dust Zone in Sonic 3D Blast.
- The breakable ice cubes in Press Garden Zone Act 2 are the same as those from IceCap Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 3.
- The arrow columns that appear in Press Garden Zone Act 2 originate from Aquatic Ruin Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
- In Press Garden Zone Act 2, there are Asterons shot from turrets that can get stuck on the walls and work as platforms. These behave similarly to the arrows fired during the Egg Hammer boss fight in Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
- In Press Garden Zone Act 1, the player can fall into a pit filled with ink jars that spawn Splats, as well as typewriter blocks which serve as a means for the player go make their way out. One row of these blocks spells out “STEALTH," a reference to Simon Thomley.
- In the Encore Mode version of Act 1 in Sonic Mania Plus, these blocks spell out “HUNTER," a reference to Hunter Bridges.
- In the initial release of Sonic Mania, a glitch allowed the player to skip the Heavy Shinobi boss fight in Press Garden Zone Act 2 as Tails by simply flying over to the end of the Act. Curiously, Eggman is located at the end of the Act, but the transition cutscene will not play until the player hits the Capsule to end the Act. This has been fixed in the version 1.03 update released on September 2017.
- In Mania Mode's version of Press Garden Zone Act 1, there is a hidden room below the first Giant Ring's location which has a row of blocks that spell "HELLO" in reverse. In Encore Mode's layout of the Act though in Sonic Mania Plus, the room has been repurposed to contain the first Giant Ring.
|"Tabloid Jargon"||Tee Lopes, Falk Au Yeong (mixing)||2:38|
|"Blossom Haze"||Tee Lopes, Falk Au Yeong (mixing)||2:11|
- Sonic Mania OST - Press Garden Act 2. YouTube. Sega (11 September 2017). Retrieved on 11 September 2017. "When Team Sonic destroys Shiversaw, Eggman's propaganda printing press is no more, letting them exit to a surreal winter wonderscape filled with cherry blossoms and ancient architecture. Welcome Press Garden's true beauty."
- Christian Whitehead, Headcannon, PagodaWest Games (August 15, 2017). Sonic Mania. PlayStation 4. Sega. "Crate Expectations trophy: Wreak havoc at the propaganda factory."
- Brad Flick on Twitter. Twitter (15 September 2017). Retrieved on 16 September 2017. "Brad Flick: Visited Meiji Jingu shrine. Japan's industrialization under Meiji were influences for Press Garden in #SonicMania"
- Sonic Official - 21 - Pre-PAX and PC Launch. Sega (30 August 2017). Retrieved on 31 August 2017.
- Sonic Mania (PC): Press Garden Act 2 Boss Skip w/ Tails. YouTube. Retrieved on 9 October 2017.