I was over the moon when I heard SEGA was revealing another Mega Drive Mini console, it was my first ever home console growing up as a child, and after reviewing the original Mini console, i knew I had to snag the new and improved SEGA Mega Drive Mini 2… that was until I saw the price.
This unit cost me a whopping £104.99 here in the UK. Which is crazy when you think that you can buy an original Mega Drive in good condition bundled with games for around £40 on eBay.
In 2020 when we reviewed the original, it cost us £69.99. I know times are tough, but that increase is ludicrous.
I’m saying it early on in this review, but a Mini console like this shouldn’t be priced at £104.99, especially in a time when emulation is free, easy and just as good.
Now, with that in the open, let’s get into the review.
Table of Contents
Like SEGA’s previous mini consoles their boxes are designed with the originals in mind, and this box does just that.
It takes you back to the golden age of gaming, when SEGA, Nintendo and ATARI were at each others necks.
It features the original logos, the modernised photo of the console and controller alongside bold text that shows the games and bonus titles alongside the oversized age certifications.
Just like the console, the box is incredibly small, as it should be to keep the mini aesthetic and to save on wastage.
The back features images of over 20 games with a long list of all the games featured on the console, just like the good old days.
Selection of games
I personally love the wide selection of games used in the SEGA Mega Drive Mini 2, it features games from all genres, with a vast selection of developers to explore. They have even chucked in a handful of SEGA CD games which is a pleasant surprise.
The SEGA CD didn’t sell as well as they hoped back in the day, so giving new customers the chance to explore “hidden gems” is a nice feature.
I was most excited about playing one of the best Sonic games of all time, that is Sonic 3D, a game I remember vividly playing as a child, it was deemed a step into “next gen gaming”, which at the time felt like it was true.
With a mini console like this they are some what limited to what and how much they can pre-load onto the console, and it’s going to be near impossible to please every single SEGA fan when picking just 60 games.
You’ll find games such as Earth Worm Jim 2, Fatal Fury 2, Ristar, Streets of Rage 3, Thunder Force IV, Virtua Racing and more.
The SEGA CD collection has a total of 12 games to choose from including Sonic The Hedgehog CD, Ecco The Dolphin, Night Trap and even Shining Force CD. Not bad!
First Impressions of the console & controller
The console and controller is very well made, admittedly it feels light, and a little empty but that’s because theres not really a lot of technology in here.
The console being reduced in size has mostly the same characteristics as the original, with the sliding power button being the only real difference. Original Mega Drive 2’s in the UK had a button not a slider, this came to our attention by Time Extension.
There’s also a soft reset button and a cartridge slot that does in fact open, should you like to… play with the flaps? (Did i actually just write that).
On the front you will find the two USB- ports for your controller.
The controller feels nostalgic, and is the exact same size as the original, making it feel even more like the real deal, even if it’s connected to a device that is actually smaller than the controller itself.
The cable is only 2M, a length that has cause me issues when sitting on my sofa. It’s a little too short, and at times I found my console hanging in thin air between the controller and the HDMI cable.
For those who sit relatively far from your TV, you will need to invest in a much longer controller. Annoying I know, and it brings me on to why I think at this price, SEGA should have used wireless controllers.
It’s 2022, wireless controllers are easy to get hold of and cheap to buy. I understand why SEGA would want to keep that nostalgic feeling of a wired controller but in reality customers actually want a wireless controller so that they are not limited to two meters.
A wireless controller would allow customers to “pick up and play” instead of having to get the controller out of storage, unwind it, plug it in, and then force them to sit within a 2m distance.
At £104, this should be standard. We are slightly disappointed.
User interface and experience
SEGA have absolutely nailed the user experience, it’s fluid, easy to understand and has a very nostalgic feeling about it.
I think they understood that one of the most important things a mini console must have, is ease of use. Simply plug it into your HDMI port, connect it to USB for power, press on and be welcomed with a library of incredible games, it’s that easy.
Games go in alphabetical order, but after playing your “recently played” will be added to the top. you can organise via consoles, developers, and genres too.
In the settings you can change music, you can view the games spine instead of the face, you can change aspect ratio and you can add backgrounds to make it look custom. There’s only a handful of background choices though, so don’t get too excited.
When you go to load up a game you will be greeted with a description of the game, and how to play, alongside controller settings.
This is nice for anyone new to Mega Drive games, but also great for those like me that still hasn’t played them all.
When in game, you can press the newly added “MODE” button on the top right of the controller, this will bring you into a menu that allows you to save, loads states and jump back out into the main menu.
This button is mandatory and i use it often to save games and jump into previous load games when switching between my library.
Because SEGA are using emulation to create a flawless experience of their own games, it has gone through countless reviews to get it working as perfectly as possible, but it still is the same tech used in their previous Mini console.
After putting countless hours into this device I rarely experienced any problems with the gameplay performance.
There was no stuttering of audio, no crashes, no screen tearing, no frame rate drops, it performed as it should, which isn’t a surprise because cheap $30 retro handhelds can emulate the best SEGA Mega Drive games well too.
The only push back I noticed was load times. This was when switching between games, moving through the menus and so on. It wasn’t slow, but it was noticeable to a point where I would often hear myself whisper “come on!”.
But to be fair, that’s the only “performance” issue I found, it’s a genuine silk smooth SEGA experience.
Should you buy a SEGA Mega Drive Mini 2?
I really like my SEGA Mega Drive Mini 2. It’s easy to setup, takes power from a USB socket so I don’t have to use a wall socket, and it’s a blast to play on, but in a time of economic struggle and the easy access to emulators makes the £100+ price tag far to big to make it feel like a “good deal”.
This is a product aimed purely at SEGA enthusiasts, that’s it.
If you’re a huge SEGA fan that wants to relive the good old days of the Mega Drive Mini 2, and needs the feeling of an authentic controller while being able to easily connect it to a HD TV then this is for you.
But because of the price tag, you can get a real one with a lot of games for the same price if not cheaper. And there’s many emulator handhelds that can also hook up to a TV with bluetooth controllers for far cheaper too.
So it’s stuck in the middle between buying the real authentic old console, or buying a more affordable emulation console that has the ability to play via a wireless controller on a HD TV.
If that was priced at £69.99 like the original Mega Drive Mini then this review would be a lot different.
While i write this review, the cherry on top is that this is sold out on Amazon, so it’s now near impossible to get hold of for that over-inflated price.
It’s a real shame, and it’s likely that SEGA’s next Mini Console will also have an inflated price if this is anything to go by.
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A 31 year old British fella that’s had a Gameboy ever since he was a child. Brandon is the founder of RetroDodo and has created a YouTube channel with 260,000 subscribers dedicated to retro gaming products. He now wants to create the No.1 site to showcase the latest retro products from around the globe.