Review: Freedom Planet

A insanely fast platformer lorded as a “Spiritual Successor”

Developer: GalaxyTrail
Publisher: GalaxyTrail
Platforms: PC(reviewed) Wii U
Released: 22nd July, 2014(PC), 1st October, 2015 (Wii U, NA), 29th October(Wii U, EU)
Copy purchased

swimming

When I first decided to play Freedom Planet, I kept seeing nostalgic comparisons to the original Sonic games from Sega. I’ve never played the original Sonic games, so i can guarantee that it’s not nostalgia speaking when I say I thoroughly enjoyed playing GalaxyTrail’s standout entry to the indie platformer scene. Note the emphasis on “playing” because despite Freedom Planet’s phenomenal gameplay, its story ultimately fell short of the standards it set itself, holding back the overall experience. Despite this I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Freedom Planet.

Upon initial playing, I immediately found that Freedom planet looks and sounds fantastic. It utilizes a beautiful style of pixel art with vibrant colours to create a rather unique feel. The animations are quite fluid and fast enough to match the game’s high pace. The visual of each stage is brilliant, from racing across a lake during a downpour to navigating a industrial labyrinth, giving each stage a distinct personality. Helped along by a fantastic soundtrack, the presentation of Freedom Planet really sells its high octane style.

rain

This game is fast, blisteringly fast, Freedom planet is all about speed. The games constantly timing you, challenging you to sprint through each stage as fast as possible, there’s even a mode called “Time Attack” for speed-running. Freedom Planet can give you allows for some pretty exhilarating times. The levels are designed rather well, most of which are nonlinear and reward exploration. The camera can be a handicap at times, your field of vision being too enclosed at times, allowing enemies to clothesline you, becoming practically unavoidable at the speeds the game encourages. Despite this, i found the gameplay to be incredibly fun and exciting, it easily kept me immersed throughout my playtime.

Despite the praiseworthy aspects of Freedom Planet, it’s not without its flaws. The game has a major difficulty spike problem, particularly in its latter stages. While i found myself blazing through most of the game, bosses would be like brick walls, throwing out huge attacks that are almost unavoidable at times. The final few level bosses really emphasise this massive spike.

To put this in context: I was averaging one or two deaths a level, almost at the hands of boss fights. During the final four levels however, this tripled, not a gradual increase but a immediate jump in difficulty. This spike was at its worst on the final stage, taking over thirty attempts to complete. This is only based on my own statistics, so your mileage may vary, but for me the major difficulty spike made the finale frustrating, hindering the otherwise fantastic experience set by the rest of the game.

boss

Freedom Planet’s biggest letdown has to be its story. The tone is wildly inconsistent, with scenes of humor being followed by scenes of literal beheadings, some of which can be insignificant to the plot and seem to only exist for shock value. My biggest issue with the plot however, is what seems to be an unwillingness from the writers to add consequences to certain events. Avoiding spoilers as much as possible, a lot happens without a lot changing about the character and the world. Without repercussions, a lot of the tension is destroyed, making it hard for me to become invested in the characters and their goals. To its credit, Freedom Planet gives players to ignore the story altogether with a “classic” mode with just the gameplay involved if that’s all you’re interested in.

Freedom planet is both visually and mechanically superb, it’s fast paced with tight controls, to its excellent visuals and soundtrack, I had a blast playing it. Again, i emphasize that my enjoyment stems almost entirely from the gameplay itself as the story mode’s writing was lacking. Despite my gripes with the game, I would highly recommend Freedom Planet to anyone looking for a standout example of action platforming from an indie team.

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