It has been almost six years since the first Freedom Planet game dropped on the Nintendo Switch. It offered a high speed experience in the vein of the classic Sonic the Hedgehog games, albeit with a much larger emphasis on the narrative and plenty of gameplay tweaks to make it stand out on its own. It was a breath of fresh air for fans who were looking for something to scratch that fast 2D platforming itch whilst SEGA continued pumping out 3D entries instead.

With the second game dropping on Steam over a year ago, the state of the Sonic franchise is now in a very different state. Not only did we get the phenomenal Sonic Mania (which released around the same time as the original Freedom Planet), but we also recently got the excellent Sonic Superstars too. Taking into account the other various fast paced indie platformers that have released in the past few years on top of all that, and this sequel is releasing within a far different landscape.

Will it be able to find a place for itself to stand out, especially after such a long wait?

Many thanks to the publisher for the review code.

The world of Avalice has been at peace for a number of years since the events of the first game, and the three heroines have only grown stronger in the meantime. Unfortunately that tranquility is broken when their tree house is destroyed; something they soon found out is part of a series of direct attacks, and the Royal Magisters wants them to work with his lieutenant to find out the origins and take care of it.

As with the previous game, there’s plenty of dialogue and a surprisingly deep and complex storyline rife with twists and turns that should be able to keep fans of the original engaged. The writing may not appeal to everyone as the cutscenes can be rather long, and many of the jokes do tend to fall flat, but given that cutscenes can be skipped it’s not much of a deal-breaker either. Perhaps the game could have had the Classic Mode unlocked from the start for those just wanting to get straight into the meat of the action, but it doesn’t really get in the way either.


As with the original title, you’re able to select one of multiple characters to play as: There’s Lilac, Carol, and Milla, who make their return from the first game – but you can also choose to play as the Magister’s lieutenant Neera too. They all have their own unique movesets to set them apart, and it’s worth going through the tutorial for each in order to pick a favourite. Whilst in the original game I opted for the cool Motorcycle-riding Carol, I found myself more drawn towards Milla in the sequel. The cute little ear waggling she does as she flutters for increased height reminded me a bit of Yoshi, and it helped make for some more unusual platforming. The newcomer, Neera, doesn’t quite fare as well as the original trio as her icy powers feel a bit underwhelming by comparison; however, I’m sure there are people out there that will jam with her playstyle. Regardless, the character’s differences are a good way of encouraging replayability of what is still a pretty meaty game.

The story will take you across a couple of dozen stages, with some hub areas in between that serve as a way to take a break and interact with various NPCs before continuing with the story. Given that stages can take you upwards of ten minutes to get through, having the opportunity to take a break is quite welcome – especially as levels are usually grouped together as part of an overall mission. What I found particularly welcome about the game’s structure is that you’re able to select which mission you want to take on beforehand, allowing for an additional sense of freedom. They’re given a difficulty rating to help guide you along the ideal path, but you’re free to tackle them as you see fit.


Like with Sonic, stages have a very fast paced and open feel to them as you blitz through at high speeds defying the very laws of gravity. The initial stages give off the impression that you can simply hold right to win, but they soon start introducing many platforming puzzles to help keep you engaged. Whether it’s crushing scenery that you have to be aware of, fast moving trains to navigate, massive drills that can tunnel through the ground, or lots more, there are loads of varied set-pieces that are extravagant enough to keep up the high pace whilst still offering a challenge.

Part of this is down to the inclusion of a new shield move, whereby you can avoid taking damage at the press of a button. Its effect is only momentary, thus requiring you to press it at the right moment, but it’s also forgiving enough as not to be a hassle either. It’s a great inclusion that feels like a real evolution from the original game’s relative simplicity.


Where the game’s design starts to flail though is with the combat, and unfortunately this feels even looser than it did in the first game. One criticism that is usually levelled at the Sonic games is that the high speed platforming is often brought to a continual halt as you slam head first into an enemy; Freedom Planet‘s solution to that was by essentially allowing you to run through them without taking any damage, so long as they’re not actually attacking. It helps the game flow much better as there’s little risk of running into foes, but it also means that they’re more just set-dressing than anything. To make matters worse, this lack of collision ends up making close-up melee combat rather annoying as its rather hard to judge exactly here the hitboxes are. As such, you’re incentivised to simply ignore any foe that isn’t directly blocking your path, which tends to boil down to either bosses or mini-bosses.

These more powerful creatures, however, suffer from many of the same issues as the normal enemies, and I found fighting them to be rather a chore. They look fantastic, and some are genuinely quite good, but a lot of them have the same weird hitboxes and end up being rather unrewarding to fight. It’s such a shame considering that they’re presented rather well and have so much potential, but they’re not particularly difficult – and unfortunately not particularly fun either.


But then you get back to the main stages, and you soon start to forget about the terrible combat system. With such beautiful sprite-work, cheery music, and exhilarating spectacles aplenty, it’s hard not to be sucked in by the game’s charms. With stage design that equally rewards speedy players and more exploration-focused ones, there’s still a lot of love with the rest of the game.

Even though the combat system seems even flimsier than the first entry, there’s just so much polish here that you can see how much love and attention has been made to the sequel. With bigger stages, a more in-depth narrative, and a more refined aesthetic, Freedom Planet 2 has certainly proved to have been worth the wait for fans of the original.