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Review: Freedom Planet 2 (Switch) – A Sonic-Style Platformer Exuding Passion & Quality

Back in 2014, a team of new developers calling themselves GalaxyTrail released —a retro style platformer that captured the hearts of many classic-era Sonic the Hedgehog fans. Freedom Planet, in fact, started life as a Sonic fan game, though it established a unique identity for itself as development wore on, and sales were fortunately high enough that the team was able to greenlight the development of a sequel. Now, ten years on, has finally arrived for consoles, and we’re pleased to report that it is everything you’d hope for from a sequel. The level designs are tighter, the gameplay is more exciting, the graphics have gotten a nice boost; this is all around a much more confident and enthralling release.

The story picks up at the same time as the ending of the first game, with the climactic events of that finale causing an ancient Water Dragon named Merga to be released from a magical prison. The plot then jumps forward three years, following original protagonists Lilac, Carol, and Milla as they work to clean up the few robot stragglers left over from the events of the first game. The trio is then recruited by Neera, the new playable protagonist, for a meeting with the Magister, who asks them for help in getting to the bottom of who has been causing the recent robot attacks. Naturally, the ancient threat they unknowingly released has something to do with it, kicking off a lengthy journey to reveal this new villain’s motives and ultimately foil their plans.

Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked)

It’s a compelling enough story, helped in no small part by much better cutscene pacing this time around. Freedom Planet was notorious for its lengthy cutscenes, but here they convey just enough information to keep the plot moving and build the characters without getting in the way of the high-speed gameplay. Voice acting performances overall feel much stronger as well, with returning cast members such as Dawn Bennett and Aimee Smith showcasing their matured skills, and this goes a long way in enhancing the quality of the many cutscenes. For those of you who still aren’t too jazzed by the focus on story, cutscenes are still easily skippable, while completing the game in Adventure Mode unlocks a Classic Mode that lets you play through the platforming stages back to back.

Gameplay follows the original’s structure, tasking you with guiding your chosen character through stages packed with multiple routes as fast as possible. This time around, the two-act structure has been dropped in favor of one-shot stages with slightly shorter runtimes compared to their predecessors, each of which is capped off by a boss fight. Although the mechanics here are largely the same, there have been some welcome additions, such as a guard move for each character that grants them a few i-frames to dodge through enemies or a revive option to continue playing right from where you died for a small penalty.

Freedom Planet 2 may feel very similar to its predecessor, then, but the quality of the gameplay and level designs here have seen a substantial increase in polish. Freedom Planet was certainly no slouch in this department, but the stage design in this sequel just flows so much better. Every level is packed to bursting with new stage gimmicks and mechanics, thrilling set-piece moments, and a near-perfect balance of speed and exploration, making each stage feel like a wonderful theme park ride in all the best ways.

Not only do the multiple potential routes through a level offer up a lot of replay potential as you try to beat your best times, but there are now four playable characters that each feel meaningfully distinct. Lilac, for example, plays as the ‘Sonic’ of this release, focused on high-speed antics with a few helpful options for gaining altitude, while newcomer Neera is a more technical and combat-focused character centered around various attacks and magic spells she can cast with her spear. Every character’s kit feels complete and brings new ideas to the table, which can often totally change your approach to a level. Though it’s a bit disappointing that the characters weren’t given their own stages built for their unique specifications, we still appreciated the variety they offer, especially given that each one has their own unique perspective on story events as they unfold.

When playing in Adventure Mode, there’s also a new collection of hub levels interspersed between the action stages, giving you a chance to slow down, talk to some characters, and buy some powerups at the local shops. Though a change of pace was nice every now and then, these hub levels felt like an unnecessary distraction and a little out of place. Still, you’re not required to engage in these hubs for too long, and Classic Mode strips them out entirely.

Visually, Freedom Planet 2 feels like a huge step up from the original, offering an incredibly detailed and smooth art style that makes virtually every frame a treat. Whether you’re grinding on the rollercoaster rails through the theme park-esque Zao Land or rolling in a snowball down a hill in the junk-strewn Robot Graveyard, each stage overwhelms you in a flurry of sights and sounds with unique colour palettes, detailed spritework, and advanced animation all coming together incredibly well. It’s the little details that really take things from good to great, like how the parallax scrolling in the background during the Battlesphere stage has a slight curve to it to give you the sense that you’re running around inside a closed arena.

Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked)

These visuals are matched by a similarly excellent soundtrack that mixes pop, jazz, and EDM beats for music that can both raise and cool the intensity as needed. Often the track playing for a stage doesn’t quite match the pulse-pounding speed your character is running at as they blitz through obstacles, yet it never once feels like a tune is out of place. There’s an almost dreamlike quality to the tracks on deck here, and we deeply appreciated the variety.


Freedom Planet 2 is an excellent achievement by GalaxyTrail, setting a high bar for quality that will be tough to beat if we’re ever lucky enough to get a ‘Freedom Planet 3’. A compelling story, well-designed levels, tons of gameplay variety, and gorgeous visuals all come together to make this an absolute must-play for fans of high-speed platformers and a certain blue hedgehog. Freedom Planet 2 exudes quality and passion in just about every way imaginable.