Freedom Planet (Wii U) Review

By Thomas Wrobel 04.06.2017

Review for Freedom Planet on Wii U

Gaming is normally all about embodying a character. Sending them around an alien landscape experiencing things we could never hope to - so the better the control, the more precise the link between player and character, the better right? Well, maybe not. The Sonic series of games, aside from their speed, have differentiated themselves with short bursts where you're not in control. Not in cutscenes, either - slap down in the middle in levels. Surely that has to be a bad thing. A dissonance between player and character, reinforcing them they are not one and the same - yet somehow it works. Looping the loop, grinding the rails, and generally showing off. You're not really in control of anything (other than the ability to jump off halfway) - yet it doesn't matter. You still feel in control. Few games manage to nail this balance of spectacle without feeling like you lost control, especially in the platform genre. Freedom Planet is one of them.

Freedom Planet doesn't just take inspiration from Sonic the Hedgehog, it understands and recreates its core principles. It knows how to imitate the feeling while still giving it an (ahem) fresh spin. Arguably, it does this better than its inspiration has in quite a while.

It flicks you seamlessly between precise and skilful high-speed platforming and spectacles that merely look precise and skilful. It's creative in its levels and highly satisfying to wiz around them. When real skill does come into it, players will find a challenging game; you can't just grab a ring and run right here. Some levels, and especially bosses, will take a lot more attention. In some cases, however, the difficulty might be more down to the player not knowing their character's capabilities.

Screenshot for Freedom Planet on Wii U

There is little explanation for anything, which sounds okay. It's a 2D platform game - what's to know? Run about, smash things, get to the end. The special moves at least should be pointed out, though, else some naive players might get stuck halfway in a level not realising they could do a huge dash-in-the-air diagonal jump thing. This is especially true, as the game also has multiple characters to learn, each with their own moves and thus potential ways to progress over a level.

Aside from a few repeated bosses, nothing about the game seems lazy. From the multiple characters, to collectables to hunt down, to multiple difficulty settings, the developers seem to have filled Freedom Planet with everything they could think of. There's even a professionally voice acted story to the whole thing. Players can disable this story if they want to - but its inclusion raises the bar, giving it a more modern "playing a cartoon" feeling, despite the graphical style making this look like "just" a very good 16-bit game.

Screenshot for Freedom Planet on Wii U

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Freedom Planet adds enough of its own stuff that it doesn't feel like a cheap knock-off, but rather a loving homage in the same "genre" of fast-paced platformers with loop-de-loops. While not revolutionary, clearly a lot of love went into its development, and anyone who has spent the last decade moaning about the state of hedgehogs should certainly check it out.

Developer

Galaxy Trail

Publisher

Galaxy Trail

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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