In order to unlock Mean Bean mode, all you have to do is get gold and silver medals in the Blue Sphere extra stages. It's pretty much a fully Puyo Puyo experience tucked away inside Sonic Mania!
"Spoilers? What are those?"
Yeah, coming across a Mean Bean Machine battle in the game was a true delight. I was grinning like an idiot. I didn't mention it to anybody who hasn't played the game yet, because it is a shame to have it spoiled.
This is the main thing tempting me to get it on Switch along with the PS4 version I have now. Too bad the Blue Sphere game really, really sucks and it's unlikely I'll ever unlock it if it requires lots of gold ones. I also found it sad how I ended up playing the sphere game more than the good, fun CD-ish stage
I'm not great at the Blue Spheres either, but I managed to unlock Mean Bean mode today. I only got one gold medal, all the rest are silver. I don't think gold medals are required for anything, but I'm not sure.
Unlike Sonic 3 where you only got limited chances at the Blue Spheres stages, Sonic Mania is more lenient. You can fail as much as you need to. So, the only thing you might need to clear the stages is a lot of patience.
Not only are the Blue Sphere stages a lot easier to enter, but the medals you earn count for every safe file. No matter which file you choose, the Blue Sphere stages will continue where they left off. You can even earn medals with the No Safe option.
You can also turn the Debug options on under No Safe to make entering Blue Sphere stages easier. It doesn't matter how you enter the Blue Sphere stage, as long as you clear it, you'll earn a medal. You can only turn the Debug options on after receiving a few medals, though.
Since only stages you haven't cleared appear, you'll eventually learn how to handle them. Maybe it will take a while before you unlock the best things, but remain positive and keep trying. I hope my little advice is useful.
Well that's good that silver medals will get the job done, since I got two gold and over ten silvers so far. I just find it really weird how the bonus stages are insanely easy to enter compared to the special stages, (Only found the first one sadly) and sometimes I end up going into one on complete accident! If it wasn't for the annoying music and the fast movement that hurts my eyes after a while, I probably wouldn't dislike the Blue Sphere stages as much as I do. They're still better than the godawful Sonic 2 special Stages, but I'd prefer if they teleported you to a mini stage to hunt them down like in Sonic Chaos/Triple Trouble, but replace the emeralds with the medals (As the current emerald stages are fine)
I firmly believe that whatever their other flaws, Sega can really kill it when it comes to minigames. Especially when they're really nice fleshed-out ones. Sonic Adventure had the Chao Gardens, Billy Hatcher had all those neat downloadable titles for the GBA including Puyo Puyo and Chu Chu Rocket, and Super Monkey Ball. Oh. Super Monkey Ball 2 is GODLY.
Man, I"m GLAD I played the crap out of this game yesterday and this couldn't be spoiled for me. What the hell, RMC.
I'm glad I went through that part already, but would be way more happy to know it was unlockable by playing than by looking at this blogpost. Tag it as spoilers, please.