A little over a month ago, I finally played Freedom Planet for the first time. As someone who has been gaming since the SNES and has played many a platformer over the years (more Mario than Sonic though,) I approached Freedom Planet with a healthy amount of optimism and caution. As it normally goes, I get a good 30, 60, or maybe even 120 minutes in if its good enough but ultimately begin getting vexed by a game that I feel personally doesn’t keep up with its own momentum. It may set itself up for success but never really capitalizes on it, and I once again walk away disappointed by missed expectations and hype.
But something funny happened with Freedom Planet. Like a lot of games, it started out good for me; not mind-blowing but good. But the farther I got, the more sucked into it I became. The mechanics began to click more and the nuances of the combat became more obvious as I was pushed to work them more expertly than before. I beat the story mode in a single day. Say what you will about the quirks of this “Sonic fan-game,” but I absolutely fell for this rich blend of speed and power. It was a retro platformer that didn’t completely bind itself with tired conventions. It carved its own path, stuck to it, and was that much better for it.
I’ve walked away from the Freedom Planet 2 demo feeling the same way: like I’m scratching the surface of an enigma, a game that feels a bit rough at first glance but is inviting you to dig deeper.
I’ll admit that, again, I was skeptical when I saw the new Freedom Planet 2 materials. The change in direction seemed pretty stark, though I totally respect Galaxy Trail wanting to distinguish themselves more from their inspiration Sonic. That being said, my fears seem pretty unfounded so far. The game looks much crisper taken in direct doses than it does in Youtube videos. The new guard mechanic by no means feels like a “cheese” mechanic. The “difficulty modifiers” appear to be done in a tasteful and creative way that isn’t just “here’s your easy mode.” I’m once again impressed and hopeful for what the final product will be.
Perhaps the biggest surprise? I’m really digging Neera as a playable character. Though she doesn’t seem perfect yet, she’s very nuanced and can put out some nasty damage. She has surprisingly good mobility too if you know how to work her. I may actually use her for my first playthrough… who knows? I’m hopeful that Galaxy Trail has another hit on their hands.
Before we call it a day though, can I get me some Serpentine and Mayor Zao footage? No? +5 Disappointment!