Being hit while carrying no rings, being crushed by an obstacle, or falling into a bottomless pit causes the player to lose a life; running out of lives results in a game over screen, after which the player must restart the zone from act one.
Conversely, collecting 100 rings gets the player an extra life, and completing an act with 50 takes the player to a special stage, where they can collect rings for extra lives.
The game was very well received by video game journalists, who lauded its preservation of retro Sonic gameplay and its eclectic, 1990s-style soundtrack.
The trilogy of Before the Sequel, After the Sequel, and their successor Sonic Chrono Adventure performed unusually well for fangames, having been downloaded 120,000 times by March 2014. Gameplay After the Sequel is a 2D platformer in the style of the Sonic games for the Sega Genesis.
Together with Mighty the Armadillo, they destroy his machinery and stop the operation.