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E3 Preview: Freedom Planet

A Seemingly Successful Switch Transition

 

Freedom Planet Banner

 

Out of all of the games that I demoed this year at E3, Freedom Planet was certainly the oldest. Originally released in 2014 (I fondly remember playing it on my Wii U back then), Freedom Planet brought quality, high-speed action platforming to players all around the world. And would you like to know what makes all of that even better? It still holds up just as strongly now as it did back then!

 

Fast and Furious

 

Freedom Planet 1

Much of Freedom Planet’s gameplay feels similar to a certain other series about animals going fast.

 

Seeing as how this game has been out for 4 years now, let’s not beat around the bush; Freedom Planet‘s gameplay is heavily inspired by that of the classic Sonic the Hedgehog series. Each of the levels in this 2D side-scroller is all about getting from start to finish as quickly and skillfully as possible. Levels are designed in the same vein as well. Despite its traditional side-scrolling setup, Freedom Planet‘s stages are all all about, well, the freedom to get from Point A to Point B however you’d like. Each of the generously sized levels all feature a multitude of twists and turns through which to navigate, along with a number of splitting paths that — depending upon skill level and character choice — can help players save time, find items, and uncover hidden secrets. Freedom Planet‘s thematic worlds themselves are also somewhat reminiscent of those found within classic Sonic games. From crystal-filled forests, to casino-like cities and everything in-between, Freedom Planet has just enough Sonic-infused charm present within each of its levels to invoke a feeling of nostalgia, while still very successfully maintaining its own sense of self.

“Similar” doesn’t mean “exactly the same”, though. And, for all of the Sonic-inspired goodness crammed into this game, Freedom Planet never fully succumbs to becoming just another Sonic clone. Levels, despite very openly encouraging speed and precision-based gameplay, aren’t entirely about going fast all the time. Due to the way that characters are set up, a certain degree of technical prowess is generally required within most of Freedom Planet‘s levels. Each of the game’s characters are highly varied from one another and, whether you choose Lilac and her speed-based abilities, Carol’s tricky motorcycle maneuvers, or Milla’s object creation-based alchemy, players are guaranteed differing experiences with each of them.

“But how does all of this control?” you might be asking. After all, cool mechanics and diverse characters don’t mean anything if they aren’t executed correctly. I can assure you right now that you have nothing to worry about, however, because Freedom Planet is a very sound experience overall. Everything — from basic movement, to unique character controls — performs remarkably well. In fact, I would say that it’s one of the most technically smooth platformers that I’ve played in the last decade. In the sake of fairness I did notice one small glitch during the demo where, in the Fortunate Night area, hitting the bottoms of girders with my head would launch my character in the direction that they were facing, but, other than that, everything was excellent.

 

Bringing Down the Baddies

 

Freedom Planet 2

Lilac & co. each have their own unique combos and special moves.

 

Combat is yet another feature that helps this game to stand out from other games with which it shares similarities. Dropping the basic concept of jumping on enemies to kill them, Freedom Planet employs a surprisingly detailed set of combat mechanics for players to make use of. Melee combat, admittedly, isn’t terribly diverse between characters, however the same can’t be said for each of their special techniques. Lilac, for example, is better suited for quick hit-and-run tactics thanks to her speed-based skillset. Milla, on the other hand, requires a more calculated approach due to the fact that she noticeably slower, and almost lacking in normal attacks entirely — generally needing to first make cubes, which can then be used offensively.

Freedom Planet‘s more detailed combat system also leads to more complex bosses. Although initially throwing some plainer bosses with simple attack patterns at players, Freedom Planet‘s big-time baddies develop a much wider array of attacks as quickly as the second level. The bosses on the demo were tough — and I remember them getting even more intense in the later part of the game — but that was all part of the fun. Just because classically inspired platforming is this game’s main shtick doesn’t mean that it resort to throwing watered-down bosses at people (and I’m very glad that it doesn’t do that). Freedom Planet‘s bosses fit snugly into that “just difficult enough” category, offering players a challenge without completely putting them through the wringer.

 

Fighting for Freedom!

 

Although several years old at this point, Freedom Planet’s transition onto the Nintendo Switch seems to be a very successful one, and players will surely be satisfied with all of the high-quality, fast-paced action that the game has to offer. Whether you’ve already saved Avalice once before, or this upcoming version will be your first time through, Freedom Planet‘s most definitely a platformer that you’ll want to pick up when it releases later this year.

Starting out with nothing more than a Game Boy and a copy of Donkey Kong Land, Kenny has happily been gaming for almost his entire life. Easily-excitable and a bit on the chatty side, Kenny has always been eager to share gaming-related thoughts, opinions, and news with others and has been doing so on Hey Poor Player since 2014 and has previously worked with both PKMNcast and SCATcast. Although his taste in gaming spreads across a wide number of companies and consoles, Kenny holds a particular fondness for Nintendo handheld consoles. He is also very proud of his amiibo collection. You can also find him on Twitter @SuperBayleef talking about video games and general nonsense. Some of his favorite games include Tetris Attack, Pokémon Black Version 2, The World Ends With You, Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance, Yo-kai Watch, Donkey Kong Country 2, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, Kirby's Dreamland 3, Mega Man X, and Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia (among many others).
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