I admit that I am almost always sceptical when a developer decides to remove the original version of a game and add a more expensive “upgraded” edition. I also get very sceptical when said game also appears as a retail release and has some apparently unique feature attached to it. It feels like developers, in this instance, are perpetually holding back content to facilitate different releases of different SKUs. Freakyforms Deluxe: Your Creations, Alive! doesn’t really do anything major to warrant a retail release, to be quite honest, and it certainly highlights the reason why digital releases should probably remain that way in most circumstances.
The first thing you’ll notice when Freakyforms comes alive on your screen is just how weird it looks. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though – the game utilises basic shapes and colours in order to give a colourful and cheery world to the player. This is akin to, without a better comparison, a very basic and scaled back world that you would find in games like Kirby’s Epic Yarn. What really sets Freakyforms apart though, and saves its rather basic artistic direction, is the way that the game animates. No matter how the player puts together their character (named Formees), the game manages to animate them in a wanky and somewhat hilarious way. You’d have to be pretty dead inside to not crack a smile or a chuckle at least once when you see the wobbly way your Formee will move around. Combine this with the weird gibberish voicework, the strange sound effects and just as strange, if not stranger score and you’ve got a very weirdly presented game.
3D isn’t really a huge contributor to the game’s visuals, nor to its gameplay, instead giving a bevel and emboss feature to most of the game’s objects. It’s nothing major, nor is it nothing subpar. It’s just middling.
Freakyforms is a fairly standard platforming game, though the main attraction is definitely the Formees and the creation tool that comes with the game. Basically, the player is given various shapes, eyes, mouths and colours to build their own Formee, a strange monster who the player controls. Once the basic design is done, players can assign a voice and a name to their Formee. It sounds quite basic but it’s also quite depressingly apparent that this is potentially the most fun that you’ll have with Freakyforms. Once your Formee is created, players can then explore world (with a pointlessly enforced time limit) in order to fulfil a set of challenges. The worlds themselves are quite simplistic – you will run around collecting coins, eating foods and opening chests in order to attain these challenges. Completion of said challenges unlocks new items and parts for your Formee.
It’s also possible to create new Formees, and filling up the world with certain numbers of them will unlock new areas to explore as well as new pieces to experiment with. This encourages the player to continue building the Formees, though this is somewhat of a double edged sword – it makes your creations feel disposable as the only way to unlock new items and new worlds is to continually create new Formees. This is quite disappointing as it discourages you to spend so much time creating the Formees and instead create as many as possible to continue through the game.
The “new” thing with this “deluxe” package is the game’s RPG mode. Which sounds like a big and substantial add-on but really isn’t. Basically, players take their Formee and drag it through a dungeon, collecting items and battling a boss enemy at the end. Defeating bosses lets the player use the pieces of the boss to make their own Formee in turn, giving a good sense of progression. The mode itself is incredibly bare bones – the battles are fought for the player automatically and require little to no strategy or input from the player. There is some kind of progression, however, as different parts of your Formee affect it’s stats (which, as you’d expect, are also very simplistic) and new attacks can be unlocked which somewhat encourages experimentation with the Formee editor.
In terms of longevity, Freakyforms has a lot of different things for the player to unlock – including different parts to collect to develop your Formee with, though obviously it really depends on how enamoured you are with the concept to continue unlocking things and playing further. StreetPass functionality is included, allowing players to share images from their own games with anyone they may come into contact with. Formees can also be exported to QR codes which is a nice stand-in for a proper downloadable content cataloguing system. The biggest problem here, however, is that there simply isn’t a whole lot of stuff to do here, especially for the older audience. But even with that being said, I find it hard to believe any child could play this for too long before getting bored.
A local multiplayer mode also allows up to four people to join together, and thankfully only one copy of the game is needed in order to so do, allowing players to create Formees together once they’ve all connected to each other. Single cart multiplayer is definitely a welcome inclusion, though once again it doesn’t remedy the games’ biggest problem of being too repetitive and unstimulating.
Freakyforms Deluxe: Your Creations, Alive! is what feels like an unnecessary retail release of a rather simplistic game that probably should have remained a digital release rather than anything else. It’s hard to recommend this to anyone at the price it’s being offered at as the package just isn’t substantial enough. It’s also incredibly repetitive. A sound idea, a cool concept, but a very lacklustre execution holds back this “Deluxe” edition from being anything more.