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Freedom Planet 2 (Nintendo Switch)
Freedom Planet 2 (Nintendo Switch)

Freedom Planet 2 (Nintendo Switch)

Written by Ross Locksley on 05 Apr 2024


Distributor XSEED Games • Price £22.99


Freedom Planet 2 is a fast-paced side-scrolling platformer in the vein of Sonic the Hedgehog and Rocket Knight. 

I've always had a soft spot for the platform genre, in particular the 90's pixel-art and pastel coloured variety that were a mainstay of companies like Sega, Nintendo and Konami. While Mario's gameplay will forever hold a unique charm, it's hard to argue that Mario is a particularly "cool" mascot, so I while I was a SNES kid, I very much enjoyed Konami's Rainbow Bell Adventures and Rocket Knight in particular, the ability to boost around levels providing an exhilarating sense of speed and power that was hard to beat. 

Freedom Planet 2 is a game very much of the Konami/Sonic mold, bringing a bunch of sharply designed and appealing anthropomorphic characters with it. The sequel to the popular Freedom Planet released in 2014, it's immediately obvious that the team have refined their game in terms of tight level design, graphical fidelity and general verve. Set three years after the original, it's revealed that events of that game resulted in the accidental release of a water dragon named Merga. Now Lilac, Carol and Milla - this time joined by a new character called Neera - are facing a resurgent robot menace. How is Merga linked to the new threat and more importantly, can the team come together and save the world once more?

Freedom Planet 2
Charge!

Of course, saving the world is achieved by storming through platform-riddled environments as fast as possible, with each character having their own unique buffs and attacks, it'll take some experimenting to find your favourite. Newcomer Neera is combat-based, while Lilac remains the "Sonic" of the series preferring to speed through levels like a leaf on the wind. Whoever you choose, you'll get to enjoy some beautifully realised pixel-art environments that really pop on the Switch OLED. They're varied too, everything from the leafy opening levels (every platformer seems to start in these!) to bright snow and neon theme parks, it's a beautifully realised world with lots of imaginative villains and subtle graphical flourishes that make it feel like a 90's game, but play like a refined modern update. 

It's buttery-smooth too, the one thing any platformer relying on velocity absolutely must get right, and here it's borderline perfect. Thanks to the inclusion of a guard move, you'll be able to throw yourself around the screen and let your reflexes save you from total disaster. You can boost yourself into a full pelt run and just bounce around like a maniac. This is where the level design really shows its quality too, with each stage packed with set-pieces and gimmicks that are a delight to encounter and a lot of fun to utilise once you've mapped out the level in your head. Multiple paths to each endpoint grant a sense of freedom, and all in it's just a blast to return to in a bid to try new approaches and beat your previous completion time.

One of the more unique elements of the game is acquiring items which enhance your abilities or make changes to levels (such as changing all crystal flowers in a game to life flowers). This is fun to play around with and a layer of strategy to an otherwise straightforward classic platformer. 

Freedom Planet 2
Imaginative character design abounds

It's not all action either. Adventure mode presents you with hub-levels where you can converse with the other characters and flesh out the story, though it is nice that you can also elect to play the platforming levels back to back in "Classic" mode and skip them altogether. Some attractive (but skippable if you're so inclined) cut scenes bring the story to life, the voice acting being of the breathlessly enthusiastic Saturday morning cartoon variety, which will either charm or irritate depending on your tastes. Music is on point with a wide variety of pulsating beats to urge you forward through each stage, I sense an LP release somewhere in our future.

This really is everything you could want from a modern platformer that adheres to classic themes. Gameplay is fun, sharp and frenetic, presentation is sweet as candy and the whole package just comes together with such a professional sheen that it's a genuine pleasure to boot up and lose yourself to. Absolutely perfect to throw on when travelling or for a fun night in, this is peak platforming pleasure from a team that clearly knows the genre. Highly recommended.

 

9
Buttery smooth, appealing to the eye and most importantly bags of fun, this is a platformer par excellence and a worthy addition to your library.

Ross Locksley
About Ross Locksley

Ross founded the UK Anime Network waaay back in 1995 and works in and around the anime world in his spare time.


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