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Freedom Planet 2 review – A Sonic-like sequel

Freedom Planet 2 review 1
Image: GalaxyTrail

Sequel to Freedom Planet, a game that started life as a Sonic the Hedgehog fan game, Freedom Planet 2 also unsurprisingly feels like a Sonic fan game. For many, though, that won’t be a bad thing. Especially as SEGA seems resistant to releasing more 2D Sonic games.

In Freedom Planet 2, an ancient terror has emerged from the depths of Avalice’s ocean. But there’s no need to worry; the heroes of Avalice are on the case. Unlike the original Freedom Planet, which featured just two playable characters — Lilac the Dragon and Carol the Wildcat — Freedom Planet 2 has four characters to choose from. Both Lilac and Carol make a return, but this time they’re accompanied by Neera the Frost Knight and Milla the Hound. Your choice isn’t just cosmetic, either, with each character having their own attacks and special movement abilities.

Whichever you choose, as soon as you jump into one of Freedom Planet 2’s stages the similarities to classic Sonic the Hedgehog appear. All characters here soon pick up speed, allowing them to quickly cover ground. There are also a wealth of gimmicks available in each stage, either providing a new way of getting around or being an obstacle to your progress. Throw in enemies aplenty, often placed to catch you off-guard if you’re charging along with reckless abandon, and you have a game that very much plays like a Sonic game from 30 years ago.

Freedom Planet 2 review 2
Image: GalaxyTrail

That’s not a bad thing overall, and the level design is often inspired here, but ultimately Freedom Planet 2 is missing some of the charm of a Sonic game. Some deviations from the Sonic formula also detract from the experience overall than add to it. There’s more emphasis on story here, for example, but many won’t likely care for it, even if the voice acting is up to a decent standard. Between levels you’re sometimes forced to visit hubs, too, where you can talk to townsfolk and purchase items with multiple forms of currency. Both of these aspects of the game are absent in Classic Mode, but unfortunately you need to complete Adventure Mode first to unlock it.

By far the worst thing in Freedom Planet 2 is the combat. You can’t simply jump on the heads of enemies to defeat them here. Instead, you need to make use of melee attacks and special abilities. This feels very scrappy for the most part, to the point where you’ll probably avoid combat where possible. Thankfully the combat is at its best where it matters most: the boss fights. These are a real highlight of Freedom Planet 2, challenging you to learn their patterns and effectively block and attack where necessary. They’re challenging, but equally rewarding.

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Image: GalaxyTrail

The inclusion of multiple difficulty levels means that Freedom Planet 2 doesn’t need to be a frustrating experience. The game has a fairly lenient checkpoint system, too. And you can customise your chosen character in various ways to give yourself an advantage. Equipable items can give you an additional health container, for example, or allow you to to do extra elemental damage. Meanwhile, a potion bottle can be filled to your preferences, increasing your attack power, boosting your speed, and more.

Freedom Planet 2 will surely be enjoyed by Sonic fans wanting some more high-speed 2D platforming antics. It even has a soundtrack that can trade blows with the Blue Blur’s finest. It suffers from the same pitfalls as a typical 2D Sonic game, though, such as enemy placement sometimes feeling punishing. And the deviations from the Sonic formula often work against the game rather than for it, with combat in particular being deeper but also scrappier. Still, this is a solid game, and developer GalaxyTrain should be applauded for trying to build on the Sonic formula rather than simply replicate it.

This review of Freedom Planet 2 is based on the PS5 version, with a code provided by the game’s publisher. It’s available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Switch and PC.

Freedom Planet 2 review - GameSpew's score

Freedom Planet 2
7 10 0 1
A fast-paced 2D platformer, Sonic the Hedgehog fans are likely to appreciate Freedom Planet 2 even though its combat is a bit scrappy and its story often gets in the way of its action.
A fast-paced 2D platformer, Sonic the Hedgehog fans are likely to appreciate Freedom Planet 2 even though its combat is a bit scrappy and its story often gets in the way of its action.
7/10
Total Score

We like...

  • Fast-paced platforming action
  • Four characters, each with their own gameplay twist
  • A brilliant soundtrack

We don't like...

  • Combat can be scrappy
  • Story is passable
  • Level design can be frustrating at times
Editor in Chief // An avid gamer since discovering the wonders of the Acorn Electron in the '80s, Rich has nearly played more games than he's had hot dinners. Not one to put all his eggs in one basket, Rich is happy to play games of all genres, but he particularly enjoys racing games and anything that's full of non-stop action, especially if it includes a good dose of humour, horror or crudeness!