SPOILER ALERT: As a Moments subpage for Sonic Mania, all spoilers are unmarked as per policy. Venture past this point only if you dare! You Have Been Warned.
Team Sonic rejoice, like the good old days.
- The opening animation is very cheerful and full of colorful, spunky character from the three protagonists. The music is also pretty uplifting and it sets the mood of "Yeah! Sonic's back! Just the way you remember it from when you were a kid!"
- After Puyo Puyo Tetris's rave success, to actually have a fully playable remake of Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine as a boss fight, as well as unlockable mini-game, in a tribute game such as this shows SEGA does remember that Puyo Puyo made Sonic great as well.
- It's also the first time that the mainstream Sonic and Eggman challenged each other to Puyo Puyo, since Sonic never appeared in Mean Bean Machine, and it was one of the cartoon versions of Robotnik in the original game to boot!
- Polygon Jim was a well-known and prolific member of the Sonic fangames community, who tragically died in a car accident in 2013. Among his projects was "Motobug the Badnik in Sonic the Hedgehog", in which a slow-moving Motobug replaced Sonic as the playable character in Sonic 1. The badnik had a ridiculous telescopic wheel that fully extended whenever it jumped. In Sonic Mania, the Heavy Rider constantly rides on a Motobug. When you finally battle it as Sonic or Tails in Lava Reef Act 2, it sometimes jumps over you using that same telescopic wheel. And if one bothers to read the game's digital manual, they'll find out that the Motobug has a name: Jimmy.
- In Sonic the Hedgehog, there was a badnik named Splats, who resembled a rabbit with a spring for lower legs, who never made it into the final game. Despite being part of development long enough for him to be picked up by ancillary media, he's one of the few classic badniks who never made into the series despite everything, and as a nod to his scrapped status, he even appears among the trashed classic badniks in Flying Battery Zone. But then, just when you thought this was a nod to his fate as the badnik-who-never-was, he appears in the new stage, Press Garden Zone, as a recurring enemy... finally completing his 25 year journey to canonicity! Eggman didn't forget one of his original creations after all!
- Heck, the original Splats, same model and all, appears in Debug Mode (within Green Hill Zone) as a placeable enemy!
- A meta example that also doubles as a Awesome Moment: Naoto Ohshima, Yuji Naka, and Hirokazu Yasuhara have each given their support and praise to the game's development and success. To be praised by the franchise's original trio of creators that made the Sega Genesis trilogy you worked so hard to recreate in your own game is nothing short of a great honor.
- 25 years ago, a very obscure arcade game came out called SegaSonic the Hedgehog which gave Sonic two friends - Mighty the Armadillo and Ray the Flying Squirrel. Outside of Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog, Mighty only showed up in Knuckles Chaotix and both were dumped into the world of obscurity. Then, on March 16, 2018, it was revealed that Sonic Mania Plus would bring these two lost friends for the first time in decades, with Ray getting his very first 2D sprite ever.
- Furthermore with the Special Stages being in 3D. It would also technically mean the pair's 3D model debut at that! As well as being able to go super no doubt.
- Ray's redesign deserves a special mention. He was given blue shoes instead of the red shoes in his debut. It's a minor change, but it was done likely because Archie Sonic itself gave him a redesign with blue shoes. This is worth noting because this came less than a year after Archie Sonic's cancellation. In that sense, it's a neat tribute. Ian Flynn himself gave the redesign his approval, even.
- The reveal trailer. It starts with Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles at the end of their trailer, before a sketched-in Mighty forces the elevator door back open with a look that screams "didn't forget about me, did you?" with Ray just waving to his old friends as if no time had passed. Sonic happily recognizes his old cohorts and shakes hands with the armadillo, giving them full color again. The trailer ends with Knuckles and Mighty brofisting, and Tails and Ray just chilling out together. Sonic's in the middle of the group, smiling as he knows the gang's all here.
- In Encore Mode, rather than lives, your ability to keep playing is determined by how many characters you have with you (moving through the party each time the primary character is felled until you have none left and have to burn a continue to keep going). Having the whole team together is a warm, fuzzy feeling, even if you can only control two of them at a given time.