Purple is the new blue in Freedom Planet, a side-scrolling, action platformer that was originally designed as a direct homage to classic Sonic the Hedgehog games. In Freedom Planet, you play as part of “Team Lilac,” an elite team of monster girls with various skills and abilities. These girls run, ride, and fight against the evil Lord Brevon and his minions in order to rid the fair planet, Avalice, of his influence.
Sash Lilac, the Dragon
Lilac is the “Sonic” of Freedom Planet. Kindhearted and fearless, Lilac selflessly agrees to help a mysterious duck named Torque who fell from the sky. It’s then that Lilac leads her team across Freedom Planet‘s 14 different stages in order to rid world of Lord Brevon once and for all and save the Kingdom Stone! She wants to make him pay for choosing to attack her planet. In terms of combat capabilities, Lilac is able to run at incredibly high speeds and fights with various spin attacks, kicks and punches. Sound familiar?
Carol Tea, the Wild Cat
Carol immediately struck me as Freedom Planet‘s version of Tails. She’s a cat, he’s a fox (close enough) and instead of running super fast, get this, she rides a motorcycle! For those of you who don’t know, Tails from Sonic the Hedgehog, is a mechanic and is often seen riding vehicles later in the series. Carol however, is a little cooler than Tails in my opinion. Feisty and a bit hot headed, Carol will gladly claws the eyes out of anyone that stands in the way of Lilac and their mission. Speaking of claws, Carol can use hers to cling to walls. This is a very useful skill at times. She is also able to use special jump pads that can give her the height needed to clear certain obstacles.
Milla Basset, the Basset Hound
Milla is a supposedly a basset hound but I think she’s a bunny. She does run on all fours like a dog (or a bunny), is very timid (like a bunny) and when she jumps she says “hop! hop!” Totally bunny. Species confusion aside, Milla is the most interesting of the three characters gameplay-wise. Instead of punching, scratching and kicking like the other two, Milla fights with energy. She somehow manipulates this energy using her large ears. Don’t ask me how. She also has the unique ability to fly (sorta). When she jumps Milla can flap her massive hound/bunny ears to keep her in the air and gain considerable height. Her unique play style and cutesy demeanor reminds me a lot of Amy from Sonic the Hedgehog.
As far as 2D action platformers go, you really can’t go wrong with Freedom Planet. It has multiple characters to choose from, with more on the way via DLC. There are three different game modes, including a time attack mode to practice speed runs, providing plenty of challenging gameplay; the bosses alone are a headache. However, while the other two characters offer players different gameplay options, I felt that many of the stages were primarily designed with Lilac in mind. I know she’s the main heroine but it was still frustrating at times tackling a stage obstacle and thinking to myself, “this would be way easier if I was Lilac.”
Here’s a scene with all three characters in action.
Frustrations aside, Freedom Planet brings back fond memories of playing old school Sonic on the Sega Genesis with one exception…it’s better! Not by much mind you, but enough to encourage Sonic players to give Freedom Planet a go. The characters are little more compelling, the controls a tad more complex (which I like) and the story is fairly interesting. The original Sonic games (despite when they were made) were a bit flat in those departments. Additionally, the voice acting for Freedom Planet is surprisingly well done as is the game’s sound track.
Will I ever recall fond memories of Freedom Planet 15-20 years from now? Probably not. But if you’re a big fan of vintage Sonic, this one’s for you.
Dragon > Hedgehog
Gameplay - 9/10
Plot - 7/10
Design - 8/10
Despite essentially being a Sonic clone in almost every way, Freedom Planet offers a fresh, new experience that any fan of the Blue Blur will enjoy. If you've never played a classic Sonic game before, try this one out for a similar, albeit better, experience.