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Freedom Planet 2 Review: Back in Action

Freedom Planet 2 Hero Art
Freedom Planet 2
Freedom Planet 2 not only lives up to its phenomenal predecessor but surpasses it in many ways.
Introduces strategic combat with unique abilities for each character, elevating the traditional platformer experience
Offers diverse playstyles and multiple playthroughs with distinct characters, enhancing replay value
Features creatively designed levels that challenge both combat skills and problem-solving abilities
Delivers a nostalgic soundtrack and stunning pixel art that enrich the immersive experience
Occasional camera positioning issues can obscure upcoming threats, disrupting gameplay flow
Some performance slowdowns during intense scenes
Platform Reviewed: PS5

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A PS5 code was provided to GamingPizza for this review. Freedom Planet 2 is available now for PS4PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, and PC.

Nearly a decade has flown by since Freedom Planet charmed us with its nostalgic nod to the era of high-speed platformers, most notably (and obviously) the classic Sonic series. The long-awaited sequel, Freedom Planet 2, has landed, packing not just a punch but a whole new level of polish and creativity. With a plethora of enhancements and a deep respect for its roots, it earns a near perfect score in my book.

Freedom Planet 2 isn’t just a rehash of its predecessor. The core gameplay — running, jumping, and collecting — is still there, but it’s the overhaul in combat mechanics that steals the spotlight. Characters now come with a guard button that acts like a well-timed parry, as well as a special attack that varies from mid-air dashes to elemental shields. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill head-stomping affair.

Each of the four playable characters — Lilac, Carol, Milla, and the new addition, Neera Li — brings a distinct playstyle, encouraging you to rethink how you tackle each level. Lilac’s dash, Carol’s wall-scaling, Milla’s defensive prowess, and Neera’s ice magic mean you’ll spend plenty of time mastering their moves. And once you choose a hero, you’re sticking with them for the entire playthrough, adding weight to your decision, but also providing ample opportunities for multiple playthroughs.

More Than Just a Platformer

Freedom Planet 2 green gem with waterfall
via XSEED Games

While the original game was a love letter to fast-paced action, Freedom Planet 2 introduces a richer narrative and more diverse environments that demand exploration. The sequel takes place three years after the original, with our heroes facing a new robotic menace led by the formidable Merge. The story unfolds through beautifully animated cutscenes that feel like they belong in a Saturday morning cartoon.

This sequel isn’t shy about slowing things down occasionally to let you soak in the atmosphere or unravel a puzzle. The urban settings are a particular highlight, featuring neon-lit cityscapes and bustling waterways that make each level feel like a new adventure.

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To that end, the level design in Freedom Planet 2 is a step up, both visually and functionally. Levels are not just about speed — they’re crafted to challenge your combat skills and problem-solving abilities. This time around, the camera pans out a bit more, giving you a better view of the action — though I did find myself blindsided by a few off-screen hazards that came from seemingly out of nowhere.

Boss battles are epic showdowns that cleverly integrate the game’s speed and combat. You’re given a choice after a defeat: jump back into the fray with a health penalty or start over from the last checkpoint. It’s a small tweak, but it adds a fun strategic layer to these encounters.

The soundtrack of Freedom Planet 2 deserves a shoutout as well. It’s a vibrant, nostalgic mix that seems ripped right from the Sega Genesis era, with electronic beats that perfectly complement the on-screen action. Whether you’re zipping through a city or facing off against a boss, the music enhances every moment.

Making It Your Own

Freedom Planet 2 red train boss
via XSEED Games

Accessibility and customization are where Freedom Planet 2 really shines. The game offers a variety of difficulty settings and gameplay modifiers that let you tailor the challenge to your liking. Want to explore without much resistance? Tone down the difficulty. Craving a tougher challenge? Dial it up and reap greater rewards.

The episodic nature of the game allows you to tackle levels in different orders on subsequent playthroughs, which keeps the gameplay fresh. I appreciated being able to approach the game differently each time, testing out all four characters and exploring every nook and cranny of the vibrant worlds.

Visually, Freedom Planet 2 is a feast for the eyes. The pixel art is meticulous, and each environment is bursting with color and detail. However, there was some slight performance hiccups during more intense scenes. Also, while the camera adjustments are mostly beneficial, there were moments when a wider view would have prevented some of the aforementioned frustrating surprises. I know… these are nitpicky complaints, at best.

The Final Run

Freedom Planet 2 not only lives up to its phenomenal predecessor but surpasses it in many ways. It builds on the solid foundation of the original with significant gameplay enhancements, a more engaging story, and beautiful visuals. The game’s minor flaws are easily overshadowed by its many strengths, making it a must-play for fans of the genre and newcomers alike.

With its charming cast, engaging gameplay, and gorgeous presentation, Freedom Planet 2 has certainly earned its place in the pantheon of great indie platformers. It’s a game that respects its roots while boldly forging its own path. I’m already looking forward to whatever GalaxyTrail has in store for us next. If you have a penchant for fast-paced adventures and heartwarming narratives, don’t hesitate to give this game a spin.

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