Well in regards to the difficulty, outside of my first playthrough I can already play this with little issue. Ya I fall under the category of Sonic wizard at this point, but in a way that's kind of a testament to the game. If I can already be good at it at this point then it's because it builds off years of experience. If the game felt off in anyway I bet I'd be struggling, but at this point I'm not and it's been a day and a half. So difficulty wise I'd say it's spot on. To those of us who play these games all the time it might be easy, but to those who aren't as experienced it'll be difficult but not in a way that makes it impossible. Mania's doing exactly what it set out to do, for better or worse. Ya it doesn't explain everything to you but neither did the first 3 games, you just kinda went for it. Plus, unlike Dark Souls, this isn't a long game. There may be some trial and error but given the length of the game being about that of S3K, it'd only take experienced players maybe 2 hours to 100%, and we aren't talking AGDQ "I just skipped 3/4s of the game so I beat it in 2 hours." No this is just playing through the game casually but well. Sonic 2 took me 9 years to actually beat. Granted a lot of me going back to it was childhood patience and determination, but I never found many reasons to blame the game for making me die (exception being the Death Egg Robot's hit box. That can kindly fuck off). I feel like this is kinda like that, only with the added bonus of Sonic 3's save system. Given the team that made the game though the added difficulty makes some sense. They've played the classics for years as well, so their difficult threshold probably is much higher when it comes to Sonic at this point. However I'll agree with the crushing. I've been crushed in some rather BS ways more than a few times and I've seen playthroughs where they have done the same. I feel like some of these gimmicks should push you through rather than crush you, especially when it comes to things like coming up on the CPZ 1 water platform sequence and getting crushed because the platform went down 1 pixel too soon. I know how to avoid it now, but I feel like that doesn't need to be a thing.