Publisher: Marvelous & XSEED
Platform: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Category: Action & Adventure
Release Date: August 30, 2018 (EU & NA)
The planet Avalice demands your presence once more!
Freedom Planet and Sonic Mania are very much alike. They both started from the incredible Sonic modding community, and both went from a hobby to it being a full-time, global release and now, they’re both on Switch.
Developed by Galaxy Trail and released in 2014, the game has found itself on an incredible amount of ports, starting with the PC, to the Wii U, PlayStation 4, Xbox, and now the Nintendo Switch.
Just to get to the point regarding the story; it’s incredibly convoluted, and when I was reading some opinions, it was almost compared to the complicatedness of Metal Gear Solid 2’s story. But, the main gist is a big-bad called ‘Lord Arktivus Brevon’, where there’s a conflict on the planet of Avalice, and with the character you’ve chosen, you’ve been tasked to find a relic called the ‘Kingdom Stone’.
You can control three characters; Milla, Lilac and Carol. They each have their own abilities: Milla can generate a shield and also use her ears to fly up the stage at any moment. Lilac can double-jump and also perform an air dash, alongside being able to jump on platforms, a-la Mega Man X2 style. Carol can spin-attack alongside being able to climb up walls.
When you first start the game, you have the choice of playing through ‘Classic’ mode, which is just a linear path of level to level, or ‘Adventure’ mode, where you can follow the drawn-out story if you wish.
Adventure mode is full of the cut-scenes, and even with voice acting too. Again, this reminded me of ‘Sonic Adventure’, another Sonic game where it found its inspiration from in this mode. The voice-acting is uneven at best, and mixed with the story, feels almost jarring for a fast-paced platformer that’s inspired by the classic Sonic games.
There are 14 levels, each with their own style and design, with Sky Battalion being a highlight for me. Here, you have to infiltrate three separate airships where there are mid-bosses for each. But what I liked in each of these, was how there are multiple paths in every, single, stage.
I guarantee every time you decide to go through a stage, the outcome will be different, and you’ll be surprised as to how you didn’t come across that path before. Really fun, really expands the longevity by making you tempted to go for that extra platform to see what’s beyond.
The bosses can be extremely difficult though, even the first one. It makes the game uneven and even though they’re original and makes you think of a way to find their weak-spot, you can find yourself frustrated, especially if you’re playing it on a short commute to waste away the minutes.
Of course, having it on the Switch makes playing it on a commute possible. It works well and especially for the Classic and Time Attack modes, they’re ideal to play when you have a spare moment.
When you play through the game, you know that heavy influences from Sonic are there, but they don’t drag the game down. There’s usually two acts and a boss at the end, followed by a couple of cut-scenes. But as before, the multiple paths really expand the replay-ability.
The look and design of Freedom Planet is well-done, even for this 4 year old game. Not only did it remind me of Sonic, but other games such as Gunstar Heroes and Alex Kidd. It makes you think that there will always be a place for 2D platformers, even in an age of 4K graphics and on-demand multiplayer RPG games.
Galaxy Trail made the game their own, and just like Sonic Mania, their experiences of playing the classic games from their childhood has made it into a game that you can play over and over again. Just be prepared for those boss-fights. You’ll be required to have a lot of patience.
Overall, four years on since its release, it only shows that if the fans request it enough, you’ll see that game appear again, much like this week’s surprise announcement of Onimusha. Forbidden Planet is great fun, with incredible replay-ability, it’s just a shame that there’s a long-winded story that just isn’t necessary for this type of game. With a sequel currently in development, with help by Christian Whitehead, Sonic Mania’s lead developer, it looks like we’re not quite done yet with Milla, Lilac and Carol.
THE VERDICT: 8/10
*Review Key Provided by Marvelous
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