The Sega Genesis Mini is the best plug-and-play console since the SNES Classic Edition came out in 2017.

This new micro-console comes out September 19 for $80. It includes 42 games and two wired controllers that are replicas of the original Genesis three-button gamepads. If you were a fan of Sega during its prime in the ’90s, this is a great machine that will give you dozens of hours of nostalgic fun.

What you’ll like

Tons of great games

The 42 games in the Genesis Mini include many of the best 16-bit experiences ever made. You have absolute classics from Sega like Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Ecco the Dolphin, and Streets of Rage 2. Many of the systems best third-party titles are also on the machine, like Konami’s Castlevania: Bloodlines and Contra: Hard Corps.

Sonic the Hedgehog.

Above: Sonic the Hedgehog.

Image Credit: Sega

You also have classic 2D games like Earthworm Jim, Castle of Illusion, and Dynamite Heady, fantastic cooperative experiences with Gunstar Heroes and World of Illusion. Puzzle fans can dig into Columns and Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine. I have to give a special shout-out to Mega Man: The Wily Wars, a game hasn’t never been easily available in the U.S. until this inclusion in the Genesis Mini.

You can also use the Genesis Mini to create quick save slots, making it easy to stop and come back to the game (or save your progress right before a difficult section). It doesn’t have a rewind feature, something I don’t mind as something of a 16-bit snob, but that may be a downer for some. Still, the save slots alone will make it much easier to beat a lot of these games than on an original Genesis.

It’s one of the best libraries any retro console has ever had, with tons of classics covering multiple genres.


Check out our Reviews Vault for past game reviews.


The controller

You’ll feel like you’re playing an actual Genesis when you’re holding the Genesis Mini’s controller. It’s a great replica of the original, and its sleekness still makes it one of the most attractive and comfortable controllers ever made.

Take notes Nintendo, because this controller actually has a cord that feels long enough. I don’t need to buy some sort of extender or sit uncomfortable close to my TV.

The Genesis controller.

Above: The Genesis controller.

Image Credit: Sega

What you won’t like

Some big omissions

Every micro-console is going to be missing some notable games, but I am still sad to see a few of my favorites absent here. I understand why Sega didn’t want to overload the machine with Sonic games, but not having Sonic the Hedgehog 3 or Sonic & Knuckles makes the console feel incomplete.

I’m also disappointed that Konami’s awesome Rocket Knight series has no representation on the Mini. I’m also missing some other major third-party titles that I always associate with the Genesis, like any of the Mortal Kombat games or NBA Jam.

Funkiness on the main menu

I praised the controller, but it acts up on the main menu when you’re selecting a game. The system will often register a single press on the D-pad as a double input, making you skip over games you’re trying to play. It’s a weird and annoying quirk.

Above: Ecco the Dolphin.

Image Credit: Sega

Conclusion

The Genesis Mini is the best mini console I’ve played that isn’t made by Nintendo, and it even stands among the NES and SNES Classic Editions. It makes many of the best 16-bit games ever made accessible for nostalgic fans and a new generation.

This machine is full ’90s charm and nostalgia, and it’ll remind all of us why just why the Genesis was one of the best consoles of all time.

Score: 92/100

The Sega Genesis Mini comes out on September 19. Sega sent us one for this review.