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Every Blue Sphere stage in Sonic Mania has a preset amount of rings to collect.

I haven't been able to notice any gameplay changes when collecting them. They don't seem to change Sonic's speed, nor do I keep the rings after completing the bonus stage.

What does collecting rings do in Sonic Mania's Blue Sphere game?

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According to Eurogamer, collecting every ring in a bonus stage earns you a 'Perfect', which is required for getting a Gold Metal.

The trick to getting a Perfect is to collect every ring on a stage. You may notice you can finish a stage without collecting all the rings, despite seemingly collecting all you can see; that's because you can convert spheres into rings by creating an outline around groups of blue spheres. These can be squares or rectangles, groups that already have partial outlines already completed, or have unusual shapes, such as bouncing spheres cutting into the corners.

The trick, then, is to make sure you have converted all groups of blue spheres into rings before you collect any remaining individual blue spheres. The easiest way to do this is to leave behind one or two blue spheres that cannot be converted, getting the 'Perfect', then going back to those spheres you left.

It's worth noting that, as mentioned in our Sonic Mania unlockables page, getting all gold medals doesn't unlock anything in game - only Silvers is required. It's only if you want all Trophies or Achievements that Gold is worth aiming for.

Perfect screen
Screenshot from Giantbomb's 'Quick Look: Sonic Mania'

Sources

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