Last weekend I was browsing a list of upcoming releases for the Nintendo Switch, and I saw a game I never expected to see on the console - or on any console, really.
Freedom Planet has been around in one form or another since 2012. The game started life as a Sonic the Hedgehog fan game, but indie developer GalaxyTrail quickly decided not to make a derivative work, and started making the game his own. Main character Lilac was changed from a hedgehog to a dragon, and was given unique abilities and attacks. Instead of being protected from damage by collecting rings, Lilac has a health meter, and she has a special flying dash that she can perform after charging up.
Even with all those changes, it’s still apparent that the game is heavily inspired by Sonic. The game moves quickly, with ramps and loop-the-loops scattered around. However, it will slow you down a few times per stage to force you to complete puzzles before moving on. These puzzles are usually quick but do make you think a little bit, and are a nice change from the fast-paced action that makes up the rest of the game. The game’s aesthetic is bright and full of gem colors, with an obvious East Asian influence.
The bosses in the game resemble bosses in Mega Man more than they do those in Sonic - they have patterns, and as you damage them, they will change their pattern and become more deadly. This is the most challenging part of the game - I nearly ran out of lives trying to figure out how to bring down the game’s second boss.
You have the option to play with or without the story, and while the story cutscenes are interesting, they often end up dragging on for too long, and don’t seem to connect to the gameplay that much. You don’t end up losing much by skipping out on it.
Freedom Planet is now available on PC, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch.