A lot of studios spend months, if not years, polishing an almost-finished game just to make the graphics sharper or more realistic, or even shinier. Take your average blockbuster AAA game – a lot of emphasis is placed on upgrading the visuals from last game, if there was any. The missions are different, but the core mechanic is always the same; one of the reasons why my interest in impressive games is fading away. You upgrade the visuals, but keep almost the same gameplay with a modified story.
What I’m saying is not that a game should have ugly visuals or no attention should be given to graphics. My argument relies on the fact that a lot of games have their own visual style which, although not realistic or not beautiful on its own, create a unique and memorable experience for whoever plays said game. Freedom Planet looks just like it has been plucked out of my childhood, more precisely some 13 years ago. Obsessing with RMX4, or more commonly known as Rockman or Megaman4, was the order of the day for me, with my crappy play skill showcasing in dying once every two minutes. Freedom Planet incorporates the same visuals of that game and really delivers a great gaming experience to those who both love or are indifferent to graphics resembling the 8-bit generation.
The game is basically a 2D side-scroller action game, which features two main characters, Lilac the Dragon and Carol the Wildcat, who end up in the middle of the action. More characters enter the game later on and further fill the game with life. All the characters seem to have a personality of their own, which comes out as these characters talk. No actual story or plot is given regarding the main characters and that may be a little confusing upon starting the game, but once the first “mission” is cleared things become much clearer after a cutscene, which basically starts the game’s main story, which is the quest to stop the evil Lord Brevon’s plans of conquering the galaxy. Talking about cutscenes, I must admit that I loved the voice acting. Apart from reading the lines properly, the feeling which is supposed to be felt by the characters in the game is portrayed to the player thanks to the different tones adapted by the voice actors, who in my opinion deserve a lot of credit for doing such an awesome job. The script and the lines are well written and while they do not innovate the writing style, it feels solid. This is important because there are a couple of lengthy cutscenes here and there, and in no moment was I am temped to skip any to get back into the action.
Action which is very rewarding, by the way. Along your journey you will encounter a multitude of different enemies scattered around the level. As you progress in the game, the skill level will gradually increase and this is mostly reflected in the boss fights. While the first and second bosses will not require anything more than smashing the attack buttons, the following ones will begin testing your skills and will need your attention to defeat them. The only problem with the gameplay is the control scheme, not that the controls are badly mapped, but because there is no tutorial which teaches what moves your character has. For example, I spent an hour trying to double jump in order to reach a high cliff. After countless attempts and a Tom-and-Jerry scale of my keyboard, I finally discovered Lilac’s special ability which shoots her like a pinball, ricocheting off walls. This also does damage to enemies and thus is a very flexible ability.
The game also never feels frustrating or that it is not fair, and this is another reason why one should really dedicate to it. The game gives freedom to the player to go where he wants within the screen, being up down left or right, so collectionists can roam for hours within a level to collect all the crystals. Crystals which, upon collecting a certain amount will grant an extra life, a feature which enhances the trip down memory lane to games of old. The level will always progress to the right and thus one can adventure all he wants within the screen, knowing there is no item hidden in the level which may hinder advancement. There are also larger crystals, and breaking these will grant you a power-up, being either a shield, a crystal magnet, a speed boost or others. The inclusion of a momentum bar is also a neat little feature. The special ability relies on having full momentum, as well as for example Lilac’s air spin attack. The meter refills very quickly and thus will not force the player to hold on to the full bar.
As what regards sound, the music is beautiful and as mentioned above the cutscenes are acted out really well. Apart from being a wonderful accompanying theme for the game, the music also sets the tone for the action currently going on. Boss fights have tense music while the level music in general is uplifting and suited for long sessions.
Freedom Planet is a beautiful game on its own, which, helped by a brilliant soundtrack, great voice acting and a stunning visual style will capture anyone into its world. Lovers of platforming games should not hesitate in buying this masterpiece. As for others, they should definitely give this game a go, as it may redefine their opinion regarding this genre.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.