A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Freedom Planet is a downloadable, single-player action-adventure game inspired by classic 16-bit platform games, particularly the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. The game features anthropomorphic characters with an Asian influence, and the playable characters are all strong female role models, with positive messages of friendship, selflessness, and helping others. Freedom Planet is a straightforward platform game, easy for players of nearly all ages and skill levels to pick up and play. Although the bulk of the content, including the violence, is cartoonish and seemingly acceptable for younger players, there are moments that push the boundaries, including an opening scene that features the decapitation of a king.
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What's it about?
FREEDOM PLANET began its life as a fan-made revival of the 16-bit era Sonic the Hedgehog games before being redesigned to be a new, original property. When an intergalactic tyrant crashes his ship on a new planet, he immediately sets out to steal the Kingdom Stone, a mythical relic that could repair his vessel and allow him to continue his reign of terror. When best friends Lilac and Carol (a purple dragon and a green wildcat) rescue another alien, a shelled duck named Torque, and learn what's happening, the duo set out to protect the Kingdom Stone and protect their planet from the invading forces. It's high-speed hijinks and old-school action as players help Lilac, Carol, and their friends race over obstacles and through robot armies in their attempt to restore a lasting peace.
Is it any good?
If it's true that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then there's a certain speedy blue hedgehog who's feeling quite flattered right about now with this action game. Freedom Planet certainly shares a lot with the original 16-bit Sonic the Hedgehog games. Anthropomorphic characters? Check. A super-fast main hero teamed up with a slower, stronger hero who can climb up some walls? Check, and double-check. The list goes on and on. In fact, squint your eyes just enough and you'd be forgiven for thinking you're playing a missing, gender-swapped, Sonic spin-off found in some hidden corner of the Sega archives. But open your eyes a bit and you start to see the frayed threads around the edges.
Freedom Planet is easy to pick up and play, just like the retro games it emulates. Run. Jump. Attack. All the moves are responsive and simple to execute. The stages all take advantage of the characters' abilities, whether it's Lilac bouncing off the walls like a pinball or Carol racing across the ceiling on her motorcycle. From a purely mechanical standpoint, the game is nearly flawless. The problem is you never feel attached to the characters or the story in any way. The dialogue and voice acting make a cheesy late-night B-movie sound like Shakespeare by comparison. And with so much of the Sonic DNA showing, but not the pedigree of being an actual Sonic title, the game ends up feeling less like an homage and more like a cheap knockoff.
Talk to your kids about ...
- Platforms: Nintendo Wii U, Windows
- Price: $14.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: GalaxyTrail Games
- Release date: July 21, 2014
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Adventures, Great Girl Role Models, Misfits and Underdogs, Robots
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Fantasy Violence
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
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