Friday, 15 January 2016

Freedom Planet: "What's this? AN INDIE GAME REVIEW?!"

Yes, it's true, contrary to what I've reviewed, I do play other games, and I play indie games. Granted not as much as I'd like for indies, but I am working on it. I was first introduced to this game via an event called SAGE, the Sonic Armature Games Expo back in 2012, where this game was first shown off, and I had a blast playing it. It was a great demo and is one of the kickstarter projects I wish I had the money at the time to endorse. However, it was released to the world recently, and even got a WiiU Port (Which is the version I used for this review, however I do have experience with the PC version, and will be getting said PC version to let's play soon).

I'll start off with what deserves the praise for this game, the gameplay (I'll come back to story). I LOVE the gameplay for this, its almost perfect. I say almost because sadly I can't help compare it to classic Sonic games, this was a Sonic fan game after all. I've played as the three characters, but the one I played the most was Lilac. The game's a tad floaty at times, I personally struggled to get some springs to work, depending on the angle of them and my momentum and the game has a bit of collision issues (Carrol's Motorcyle probably has Skyrim's horses beat in that regard) but for the most part, the game plays like a dream. The only times I've had a major problem with Lilac's "floaty" air movements was when I was trying to make a precision landing, and it's something I personally would like to see improved. Each of the characters do have combat moves and the only character I hate doing combat with is Mila, just due to her small health and the fact that all her moves need to be charged up and are ranged. But thanks to her jump, from what little I've played of her, I can avoid most enemies, the exception being bosses, which play closer to Mega Man bosses in terms of a set pattern, but windows of attack get smaller the further you go in the game. Thankfully the game's generous with respawning, and the lives system is more of a nod to retro gaming, and isn't as punishing.
Seems like an evenly matched fight. Let's do this!

My praises continue for the artstyle and music, the game just looks and sounds gorgeous. The theme of the game is inspired Chinese culture, something you can tell straight away in the first level. It helps separate the game from not only from Sonic, but most importantly from other indie games. I'm not completely in the know for Indie games, but to me, none come to mind with this kind of setting and soundtrack theme. Combined with the sound effects and the sound design is almost top notch.
Again, that just looks gorgeous

However, almost comes with it a large clause, and that being the voice acting. For you see, while this is trying to fill the niche classic sonic left, it does so with modern influences. Granted, you can play all the levels in a classic sonic inspired mode that is just playing level to level. But in terms of the story. An alien known as Lord Brevon arrives (or rather crashes) on the planet Avalice that we do not know the name of with the intention of kidnapping a sacred relic known as the Kingdom Stone, and using it to, according to him, revive his planet (that he destroyed), however the more likely reason is to take control of the universe, based on stories told by Torque, an alien sent to stop Brevon. Torque enlists Sash Lilac, a water dragon regarded as the main heroine (yes, the main three characters are all female characters. I know people care about things like that) of the story, Carrol Tea and Milla Basset, to help stop the warlord. The plot's simple, and the ingame cutscenes are really well shot that keep the game's mechanics in mind while not breaking any of them, which trust me, is an accomplishment in comparison to some other games, one of which I intend to get to in time. The major problem is the voice acting itself. The level balancing for the voice acting is all over the place at times, meaning some tend to be barely audible and sounding like they've been shot in someone's bedroom. Not that I have a right to judge on that last part. It's something that I feel should get fixed going foreward, as it's a little late to do it for this game.
While not Wayforward level, there is a lot of detail in the sprite animation

With the exception of a few points for Lilac's story, as well as what I brought up for Milla, this game is just a joy to play through, and to me can stand proudly next to games like Pokemon Emerald and Super Mario Galaxy as one of my favorite games. Is it perfect? No, but this is a game where I can look past them and enjoy it still. With that said though, I do hope that GalaxyTrail use the feedback they've gotten from the fanbase to help make it's sequel, Freedom Planet 2, better. As mentioned on Twitter, I will be doing a proper First Impressions for Freedom Planet 2 when I get more information to pull from other then "This is a thing" and "Here's who's voicing who". I'll see you all on Monday for the start of the Original Trillogy for the Star Wars Marathon with Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

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