The 90’s was truly a pivotal time in the gaming world, especially for those growing up in that decade, as it was those were the years where game consoles shifted into a new generation and evoked new profound emotions in every gamer around. This was the time when the likes of Nintendo and Sega were neck and neck in competition to see who could retain the title as number one in the industry, along with the introduction to mascots like Sonic. When Sonic was introduced to the world in 1991, no one believed that it would catapult into stardom so quickly, but after spending hours racing through every well-designed stage, you could totally feel this sense of authenticity with its gameplay and character designs.
Fast forward to 2018 and Sonic is still racing through the city, inspiring other companies to create something that’s just as genuine and provoking as Sega’s prized jewel. Developed by GalaxyTrail, Freedom Planet is an indie title that made its debut back in 2014 for PC. Since then, the game has evolved and has become a lot more polished, which is quite evident on the Nintendo Switch. Anyone who enjoys their action platformer titles will want to race to the store and grab this one, because Freedom Planet combines a great story with nostalgic gameplay that’s reminiscent of the 90’s and the platforming genre.
What to Expect
In Freedom Planet, your goal is very simple: race around these incredibly beautiful and well-designed 2D stages, trying to avoid any obstacles in your way while tackling challenging bosses along your journey. All of this is complimented with a great story that’s fully voiced, which really brings the game to life in a major way. You really get to build a relationship with each character you encounter, and with that brings a genuine emotional connection that we assure you’ll enjoy. The game deals with things like friendship, betrayal and overcoming adversity, all while learning to cope with the responsibility of saving the world from peril.
This is an action packed title that serves its purpose quite well, and throws in a little extra zest to keep you coming back for more. Freedom Planet is simple in its overall design, which again goes back to our earlier statement pertaining to 90’s platformers, using beautiful sprites that have all been designed from the ground up and look great with the mixture of various colors. Freedom Planet consists of 3 main protagonists, Lilac, Carol, and Milla, all of whom have their own respective melee attacks that can be used in battle.
The story sees Lilac, along with her friends, work together with Torque, a duck from another planet who tells them of a powerful relic known as the Kingdom Stone that they must protect. This throws all of them into a conflict between three powerful nations: the Shuigang, Shang Mu and Shang Tu. With uncertainty wavering in the air, the three must work together to collect the stone, and prevent it from getting into the wrong hands before it’s too late.
Visually, the moment you load up Freedom Planet it will become quite evident that the game takes a great deal of inspiration from the 90’s. This really compliments the Switch in a way because, in handheld mode, it really feels like you’re reliving your nostalgia on the Game Gear or Game Boy Advance, with all the action taking place in the palm of your hands. Everything zips by on-screen quickly and fluidly, really adding more appeal to the games overall performance. Since Freedom Planet is all in 2D it doesn’t require much CPU power from the Switch, meaning that the game runs without any hiccups whatsoever. Special effects look stellar, while your attacks and high-flying acrobatics all look vibrant and smooth. Every stage you encounter looks incredible and really encourages you to explore its every nook and cranny, searching for whatever power-up or extra 1up to aid you. Nothing felt off in any way while playing, which was a plus in our book.
Music in Freedom Planet is exceptional and really compliments the overall tone the game conveys. It’s full of vibrant highs and subtle lows, with the tempo rising at pivotal moments while being more soothing during emotional cutscenes. It certainly strikes a chord in our nostalgic hearts to hear such well-crafted music come together to create a genuine experience like in Freedom Planet. Every stage always feels fresh and non repetitive because the music and sound effects just adds another layer of depth to it all. From the screams and short voice clips that you hear when Lilac hits an attack, to the explosions that occur after defeating a boss, Freedom Planet executes them very well. We didn’t happen to find anything that stood out as a problem, and that has to be a good thing.
The gameplay should definitely speak for itself, especially for those who are well versed in the action platformer genre. All you need to do is keep an eye out for anything that seems off, and by that we mean hidden walls that contain special gems, or other secrets that we’ll leave you to discover. Freedom Planet is a game that invigorates you and takes you on an unforgettable adventure that’s filled with laughter, sadness, and triumph. It doesn’t try to be something it isn’t and sticks to the script without falling too far off course.
Sure, a lot of people will definitely call this a Sonic clone, but that’s sheerly in gameplay aesthetic alone. Freedom Planet’s unique cast of characters really adds a nice touch of diversity, and seeing that all 3 of the main protagonists are female, it’s a breath of fresh air in an industry that usually targets a male driven cast. That’s an empowering feeling and truly encourages anyone to pick the game up and relate to the character, especially the young demographic who are new to the genre or perhaps are looking for something fresh. For the old heads like us, who’ve grown up with similar titles, it’s great to see that character creativity has taken a dramatic shift and we get to see a wide variety that stands out in a wonderful way.
Freedom Planet isn’t a very long game but it’s not short either. There’s certainly a lot to explore along the way in the Story mode, but the fun really takes place in the Time Attack mode, where you’ll unlock each stage as you progress and try to see how fast you can complete a level without dying. Sadly, those are the only two modes available, which may sound a little disheartening for some… although, when you consider the games back in the 90’s followed a similar path in terms of simplicity in game modes selection, there’s a lot packed into both. Once you’ve completed the Story mode just jump right into Time Attack and see just how far you can speedrun it!
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
Freedom Planet takes all the things you love from classics like Sonic and throws in a little modern touch, to create an experience that you can only find in this game. Collecting special cards and items to unlock things just increases the replay value, because now you want to get every track possible to listen to. Mind you, these cards are not easy to find, especially when you’re racing around each level at maximum speed, but that’s where the enjoyment comes in. We encourage players to spend a lot of time with Freedom Planet because there’s really no reason to let go. With incredible music, solid voice acting, wicked stages and replay value, Freedom Planet is a must have for any fan of the genre.
Collecting items never felt so exhilarating.
Nostalgia all over again for fans of the action platformer genre.
A lot of replay value with Time Attack mode.
Looks superb in handheld mode.
Wish there was an online mode for Time Attack leaderboards.
Honey's Final Verdict:
We hope you found our review of Freedom Planet to be insightful and informative, giving you a closer look at what to expect and perhaps enticing you to pick it up and try for yourself! Be sure to check out our other reviews and leave your comments on the ones you loved the most! Of course, catch us on Twitch when we go live playing all the latest titles from action RPG, JRPG, and more!
As always, for all things sweet, with news straight from Japan, be sure to keep it locked here on Honey’s Anime.
Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.
A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and watch me play on twitch.tv/honeysgaming ! Take care!