Sonic the Hedgehog was one of the most iconic franchises to come out of the Sega Genesis. Aside from that, the classic Sonic titles were some of the most enjoyable games released on the early consoles (Sorry Mario, I’m going to have to throw you under the bus with that one). It’s actually kind of surprising that nobody went ahead and tried to make a “Sonic-esque” game in the past. However, in the true spirit of Zynga, GalaxyTrail Games has done the impossible. Everyone, say hello to Freedom Planet, the Sonic clone that not even Sega could make.
So yeah, Freedom Planet. In Freedom Planet, you take control of either Lilac or Carol, two creatures that vaguely resemble the Blue Blur that saved us from boredom as children. Each character has their own strengths, such that Lilac is better when she is moving at top speeds, and Carol is better when you can control right where she plants her fist, which is hopefully on the patootie of the enemy. Yes, I did just say patootie. The goal of Freedom Planet is quite similar to Sonic’s quests as well; you have to fly across the stage as fast as you can, collecting gems and defeating mechanical enemies (sound familiar?). Once you get to the end of the act (really…) you have to fight a boss. Right now, that’s all there is to the plot. The game is still in beta stages, so that is to be expected. I wonder if I have the power to go ahead and save Freedom Planet.
So as you would expect (after hearing what people have had to say about Freedom Planet), the game plays quite similarly to any classic Sonic the Hedgehog title. You basically race across the 2D environment while you collect gems and kill baddies. The gameplay is almost identical, but it does have its differences. One of the main differences is that Freedom Planet utilizes a health bar, something that Sonic didn’t ever try out. Instead of losing all your collectibles every time you take damage, you just lose a chunk of health. I;m not going to lie, that sounds far less annoying then dying because you have no more coins left. Of course, I also think it makes the game play much easier than a classic Sonic game. Another huge difference is the combat (yes, in Freedom Planet you can call it combat). Instead of just jumping on enemies heads and calling them deceased, you have to exert a little more effort. There are different mechanics, such as kicking and homing attacks, that must be utilized. Nothing is simple, but that’s not to say that its bad. Personally, I liked jumping through the air and kicking enemies. It never left me wondering whether I would either hit the enemy, or simply hit them and lose my rings. That’s not to say that it was better than Sonic, but I liked it.
In the end, Freedom Planet is actually a really fun title. I had fun with the beta, and actually look forward to giving the full version a go when it comes out. It has pretty much every aspect that I loved from Sonic the Hedgehog, but adds a lot of new features as well. The music and graphical style are also well done, which is always an added bonus. I found myself pausing the game and actually listening to it instead of playing, something I find myself doing when I find a good soundtrack. That being said, it is hard to look over the fact that they basically ripped off Sonic in a Zynga like fashion. I mean, even the sound when you break items and get a bubble is the same. You’re basically a hedgehog, and you race through the level in the same way you would with Sonic. They had a great template, but I feel that they copied a little bit too much. You should have just looked at Darksiders as a template for taking aspects of games and making it your own. It’s like a college freshman that is trying to take someones paper, change a few words, and call it their own. That’s still plagiarism, kids. This might not be as serious, but it still was kind of irritating.
If you want to try out the beta, click here. The full game should be coming in a timely manner, and I will be giving it a try. If you liked the classic Sonic titles, I suggest doing the same.