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At each checkpoint in Sonic Mania, you can play a Blue Sphere bonus minigame as a callback to Sonic 3.

Having never played Sonic 3, I'm absolutely terrible at these and haven't been able to complete a single one.

Blue sphere Minigame

Is there a reward for completing these Blue Sphere minigames?

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Completing a Blue Sphere bonus stage earns you silver and gold medals which unlock Extras and Secrets. There are 32 medals to collect in total to unlock every Extra and Secret.

Medals are carried over between playthroughs, meaning you can play though the game multiple times on different save files to get them all.

Unlocks

Secrets Menu

  • 1 medal: Super Peel Out (from Sonic CD)
    • Alternative to the Spin Dash which charges from a standing position.
  • 7* medals: Insta-Shield (from Sonic 3 & Knuckles)
    • Creates a shield to avoid damage for a split-second.
  • 12* medals: & Knuckles Mode
  • 16 medals: Debug Mode
    • Allows object to be placed anywhere in a level

Extras Menu

  • 20 medals: Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine (Puyo Puyo)
    • Featured as the Chemical Plant Zone Act 2 boss
    • Five different speeds to try
    • Play against AI or Human in local multiplayer
  • 24 medals: D.A. Garden
    • Interactive visualizer and sound test mode.
  • 32 medals: Blue Spheres
    • Unlocks Blue Spheres mini game on the Extras Menu
    • Selectable options for Original or Mania style

*Actual number of medals required may be less.

Accessing the Secrets Menu

To open the Secrets Menu, highlight the ‘No Save’ section in the file select in Mania Mode. The will now have a new button labeled 'Secrets'. (△ on PS4; X on Switch; Y on Xbox). Note that the Secrets Menu can only be used in 'No Save' mode.

Completed Secrets menu Screenshot courtesy of VG247

Accessing the Extras Menu

The Extras Menu can be found at the bottom of the Main Menu below "Competition" and "Options". You can track your collected medals here.

Completed Extras menu with 32 medals
Screenshot courtesy of VG247

Sources

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From this site, beating these stages earns medals that unlock extra modes in the game's Extras menu:

If you have 25 rings and hit a mid-level signpost, a ring will appear above that you can leap through, taking you to a special stage. Completing these will earn you a silver or gold medal, depending on your performance, which then unlock bonus modes from the Extras menu. Progress carries over between playthroughs, so no need to get them all in a single sitting.

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