Review: Freedom Planet 2 Is a Love Letter to Sonic the Hedgehog 

3 weeks ago 35

Making a good Sonic the Hedgehog style platformer is hard! It’s so difficult, even Sega can sometimes suffer a misstep. The first Freedom Planet managed to get the nuances right, and Freedom Planet 2 further emphasizes how good GalaxyTrail is nailing the type of level design and character balance you need to get the sort of Sonic the Hedgehog like experience right.

While Freedom Planet 2 is a fairly direct sequel and picks up with the same characters, you can jump right into it without playing the original. Things begin with a hint that all is not right in the world of Avalice. We see an ominous figure released from captivity and begin to assault the world, and there are also robotic and pirate-related attacks on the country. Fortunately, our heroes Lilac and Carol from the previous game game are here, and they’re accompanied by Milla and Neera. 

Screenshot by Siliconera

Like the first game, Freedom Planet 2 is a sprite-based, 2D platformer with levels that feel like there are tons of paths above and below you. So no matter where you are, it seems like you could go up or down and find a new route to reach the boss at the end of the stage. Like Sonic the Hedgehog, there are also various loops, bounce pads, and speed-enhancing devices to encourage quickly dashing through areas, though there are also some puzzles like doors to unlock by hitting pieces into place, platforms that may require jumping from one to unlock another, and other elements that involve a bit more thought.

Also like Sonic the Hedgehog, different characters in Freedom Planet 2 play differently. The character closest to Sonic would be Lilac. Milla can feel a bit like Tails, due to her hovering ability. Carol is more akin to Knuckles, due to the punching elements. As for Neera with her lance, she’s not far off from Amy Rose. This means that the approach for going through levels changes based on who you use, and picking your playable character for your save file in Adventure Mode determines the style you’ll use when exploring for that whole game. It adds this level of personalization and means that no matter how you prefer to play, you’ll probably be able to go through Freedom Planet 2 and have a good time. I used Milla, because it meant I was more careful, able to go back to hover to reach areas, and rely more on projectiles for gameplay that felt more run-and-gun like Mega Man. However, when I went back and played as someone like Lilac in Classic Mode, it was much more fast-paced and about maintaining momentum. 

Speaking of which, the modes determine how the game plays. When you start, only Adventure Mode is available. This allows you to visit some town and hub areas on the map between stages, interact with NPCs, take part in some training elements, and basically feel more a part of the world when not going through levels. It’s handled pretty well, though at some points I did end up feeling like there was perhaps a bit too much padding there. Still, after getting through the game once, Classic Mode is unlocked and is a more streamlined experience that just involves the stages, so there is an option to more quickly go through things once you’ve gone through things once. 

Those kinds of quality of life elements aren’t limited to a second or third playthrough, however. During a first run through Freedom Planet 2, there are plenty of elements like that. For example, you can now guard against enemy attacks. For those unfamiliar, an auto-guard option is available. What I appreciated most was the revival option. When this happens, you can opt to revive after dying during a stage. In my case, it came up three times during boss fights during my first run. In basically each case, I was about to beat an opponent, but found myself knocked out first. This feature let me revive with the opponent at the same degree of health and the fight right where I left off. It wouldn’t be a full health restore, but it ended up being enough to get that last one or two hits in I needed to win. People can also get and equip items to improve their attack or defense, in case someone is having trouble getting through. 

Screenshot by Siliconera

However, given Freedom Planet 2 has been out on PCs since September 2022 and is only now just coming to consoles in April 2024, people may wonder if it plays okay. Well, it feels pretty great on the Switch. The font is easy to read. The controls are handled perfectly. It’s easy to play for hours, with my first session even lasting about three hours with no discomfort. Everything felt pretty precise and perfect, as though it was a rather admirable port. 

Like the original game, Freedom Planet 2 feels like it respects the Sonic the Hedgehog platformer style and endeavors to offer a new, similar sort of take on the experience. The range of characters is great and means it feels really diverse depending on the one you choose. It runs great on the Nintendo Switch. It’s a well-executed platformer for people who are looking for a more modern take on a retro type of title.

Freedom Planet 2 will come to the Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X on April 4, 2024. It is immediately available on PCs. 


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Freedom Planet 2

The fast paced platforming of Freedom Planet returns! Become a full-time cartoon heroine and use abilities and items suited to your play style to explore the world of Avalice and defend its animal citizens! Switch version reviewed. Review copy provided by company for testing purposes. With Freedom Planet 2, GalaxyTrail again shows its love for Sonic the Hedgehog style gameplay and delivers a delightful platformer.

Pros

  • You do need to beat the game once to unlock Classic Mode, and I wish it was possible to just take advantage of that from the start.
  • I highly recommend Milla or Lilac for newcomers.
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