Sonic Mania is a fast-paced blast from the past, and if you’re not used to the old-school style of games that was so popular back on the Sega Genesis, you may find yourself struggling to keep up in Sonic Mania. That’s why we’ve put together this set of really handy Sonic Mania tips and tricks that will help you get a solid grasp of the game, and get a jump start on taking down Eggman and his goons.

Take Your Time

One of the biggest things we’d suggest doing when playing through the game for the first time, is taking your time. Don’t worry about the timer on the screen, instead, just focus on getting the hang of the level. Rushing into things too quickly could lead to deaths that you weren’t counting on, which in turn could lead to you having to redo various levels of the game to progress. Once you learn the layout, though, you can dive back into the levels and zoom through them as quick as possible.

Rings Are Everything

If you don’t want to die the first time an enemy hits you, then you’re going to want to make sure you aren’t missing out on any rings throughout the level. Not only do these items count towards your final score, but if you have collected at least one ring during the level, you’ll be able to take a hit from an enemy, allowing you to recover and continue making your way through the level. It’s a good way to make sure you always have a way to push forward without having to constantly restart at checkpoints.

Try Not to Bite the Dust

While rings do help you from instantly dying when hit, and they do count towards your overall score, they also count for something a little extra. For every 100 rings you collect, you’ll be given one Extra Life. These Extra Lives come in very handy—especially in later levels where things get much more difficult—and you’ll want to store up on them as much as possible. More lives means more chances to mess something up without having to completely restart the zone. Of course, getting that many rings might be an issue if you try to rush through the level, so take your time and enjoy the scenery.

Make no mistake, Sonic Mania is not an easy game to complete, and if you want to go the extra mile and find all of its secrets, you’re going to have to be willing to put in the time and learn your way around the game. For more, be sure to check out our guide on how to do the Drop Dash in Sonic Mania.