Freedom Planet 2 – Review
Follow Genre: Platformer, Arcade
Developer: GalaxyTrail Games
Publisher: GalaxyTrail Games, XSEED Games
Platform: PC, Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
Tested on: Switch

Freedom Planet 2 – Review

Site Score
Good: Four distinct playstyles add replay value
Bad: Music doesn't always fit with the gameplay, graphics slightly blurry in handheld mode
User Score
(1 votes)
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VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Way back in 2014, indie developer team GalaxyTrail sought to fill a void left by Sonic the Hedgehog. You see, back in the ‘90s, the blue blur was actually known for excellent 2D platformer games instead of movies and mediocre-at-best 3D games. GalaxyTrail’s retro-style platformer, Freedom Planet, successfully captured the gameplay spirit of the old-school Sonic games while also carving out an identity of its own. A decade later, the same team returns to bring Freedom Planet 2 to the Switch. Just like its predecessor, the game arrived on Nintendo’s hybrid handheld a couple of years after it debuted on other platforms. Given the positive impressions that the first game left, we were eager to give Freedom Planet 2 a spin. Did GalaxyTrail catch lightning in a bottle with the first game or can they pull off another Sonic-like?


Given that it has been such a long time since the first Freedom Planet was released, we wouldn’t be surprised if the sequel is going to be many a gamer’s first experience with the series. Admittedly, we weren’t familiar with the first game either, with one of our fellow reviewers tackling that. The story of Freedom Planet 2 picks up several years after the original game, and while we did feel like we were missing out on a big chunk of lore, the plot is simple enough to follow even without any prior knowledge. At the end of the first Freedom Planet, the ancient dragon Merga was inadvertently released from captivity. Three years later, the heroes of the original game, Milla, Carol, and Lilac are joined by newcomer Neera Li. This foursome is recruited by the Royal Magister to investigate the influx of robot attacks. To nobody’s surprise, Merga is behind the robot uprising, and it’s now up to the four heroes to defeat the dragon and return peace to Avalice. The interesting thing is that the story plays out slightly differently depending on which character you choose, as they all have their own stakes within the narrative.


The decision to stick with pixel art for Freedom Planet 2 makes sense, in more ways than one. Not only does this let the game stick closer to the established aesthetic of games it takes inspiration from, but it also means that the game isn’t too taxing on the hardware it runs on. Freedom Planet 2 is a very fast-paced game, and you’d want to avoid any kind of frame drops or slowdown because of this. We’re happy to say that the game nails its graphics both in terms of performance and pure visuals. The different worlds are filled with details and look absolutely fantastic, whether it’s the Robot Graveyard, the Zao Land theme park, or the Battlesphere. There is a noticeable difference between playing in docked and handheld mode, however, as there seems to be some blur going on while playing in handheld that wasn’t as present or as prominent on our TV screen.


One area where Freedom Planet 2 drops the ball is with its soundscape. Don’t get us wrong, the soundtrack sounds absolutely fantastic. The issue is that the tunes don’t always fit with the on-screen action, creating a strange disconnect between your character dashing through a stage and the dreamy music. On the other hand, the voice acting is top-notch, but that shouldn’t be a surprise given that the cast boasts alumni from games like Granblue Fantasy and Shin Megami Tensei.


Rather than wanting to reinvent the wheel, Freedom Planet 2 sticks closely to the formula that made both its predecessor and the original Sonic the Hedgehog games such a success: you choose one of the four playable characters, each with their own unique attacks and abilities, and then try to make it through a level as quickly as possible. Each level has multiple branching routes as well as a boss battle waiting for you at the end. The first run of each stage can be on the overwhelming side, especially since a new gimmick is typically introduced. This is by design, however, as the aim here is to replay stages over and over again, as you familiarise yourself with the different routes and try to find the ideal path for each character. This bodes well for replay value, of course, and that’s without even taking into account how each of the four characters plays. You can tackle the main story in a very straightforward manner in Classic Mode or instead opt for Adventure Mode, which adds hub stages in between the levels. In these, the narrative is fleshed out through conversations with NPCs and you can buy power-ups at shops. Additionally, the hub levels allow you to take a breather in between the relentless fast-paced action.

If you’re familiar with Sonic, then Lilac is probably the character that will suit your playstyle the most, as she plays very similar to the hedgehog. Meanwhile, just like Knuckles and Tails in the Sonic games, the other characters feel distinct. Neera Li isn’t a particularly fast character comparatively, but she has a wide range of attacks, including ranged ones, and is much more efficient at dealing damage to enemies, particularly in boss battles. Milla is a character that appears to be the weakest of the four at first glance, but that is because she requires the most technical finesse to master. Rounding out the foursome is Carol, who is likely the most all-round character here, and who is able to summon a motorcycle. The different playstyles can be further augmented through a wide range of passive power-ups, some of which work as free upgrades, whereas others completely change the dynamic of the game. There’s a power-up that increases your in-game earnings, but it also adds a time limit to the levels, for example.

Now, if we were to just dismiss Freedom Planet 2 as a Sonic clone, we’d be doing the game a disservice. As we mentioned in the intro to our review, the original Freedom Planet had an identity of its own, and Freedom Planet 2 builds on this through more than just having original characters and a different story. The biggest ‘unique’ gameplay element comes in the guarding mechanics, which are an essential tool in many of the boss battles, but also when overcoming certain stage hazards, as they allow you to phase through certain obstacles. It’s a mechanic that doesn’t sound like a big deal in theory, but in practice, it’s a key component of what makes Freedom Planet 2 such a good game. It also illustrates just how well the team at GalaxyTrail understands what made the original Sonic games so beloved in the first place, and they use that foundation to build on. It’s a matter of evolution vs. revolution, and we’d go as far as to say that Freedom Planet 2 surpasses its spiritual predecessor.


Whether you’re nostalgic for the original Sonic games or are simply looking for a new 2D platformer, Freedom Planet 2 should be right up your alley. The game looks and plays great, offering satisfying but challenging old-school platforming action, with plenty of replayability and variety, thanks to its character roster. The music doesn’t always line up with the on-screen action, and the visuals are ever so slightly blurry in handheld mode, but those are our only real gripe with what is otherwise one of the best retro platformers on the Switch.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Freedom Planet 2 - Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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