It doesn’t seem that long ago since we were singing the praises and pitfalls of the original Freakyforms: Your Creations, Alive!.
Yet, nine months on, Nintendo is looking to build upon its successes, delivering a successor that heads to retail on a 3DS Game Card rather than digitally through the Nintendo eShop.
Once again blending youthful creativity, light role-playing elements, and gentle platforming, Freakyforms Deluxe: Your Creations, Alive! certainly attempts to address the issues encountered by its predecessor, yet some still linger.
Your initial task, as before, is to create your first character, known as a Formee, by using a selection of body part shapes left at your disposal that may be manipulated, coloured and assembled as you so desire. After this you’ll swiftly name your creature, jot down their favourite phrase, and choose their voice from suitably wacky, gibberish Japanese voice clips that range from Playful to Robotic.
The early portion of the game mostly serves as an introduction to its varying mechanics and control methods, each encountered through the use of specific body parts such as arms, legs, wheels and wings.
Spurring your creative brain juices is the method in which the game world, your very own customisable planet, expands. Every time you create five individual Formees sees your planet grow, and the area in which you may explore becoming ever larger.
This rate of input time versus reward has been carefully calculated in its execution, ensuring that the player not only becomes increasingly curious about what’s appeared within the ever-expanding world but also testing their own imagination in the Formees they create.
Such inventiveness isn’t purely embodied by just the Formees either, with the player also able to alter the scenery of your planet as well.
You can wander, fly and gleefully fling your Formee around the game world, in which you’re given a five-minute time limit to explore your surroundings. You’ll more often than not gather coins, munch fruit, find keys to unlock chests, and complete simple challenges are given to you by other Formee inhabitants, the latter of which unlocking the opportunity for you to purchase the body parts used to create them through the in-game Shop. With these, an image of the chosen Formee will appear on the upper-screen alongside variations using the same body parts, with the player able to either copy or alternate their own ideas with these.
Eating fruit often leads to your Formee laying an Egg of varying colour (which may later be cracked to reward you with further coins or special items), a Poo, or a Golden Poo. These grant the possibility of receiving bonus effects, such as an increased chance of laying Eggs, or a heightened jump ability.
‘Poop’-ing plays a large part of the quirky humour that Freakyforms Deluxe: Your Creations, Alive! exuberates, friendly Formees in places tasking you with Poop Challenges, in which you must parp out a certain quantity of poops within a certain time limit. (No, I can’t quite believe I just wrote that either.)
A further addition is Dungeons, in which your chosen Formee is scanned, awarded a Type, and given HP, Attack, Defence, Speed, and Luck attributes, dependent on what body parts they have. The narrative here sees King Roy captured by gargantuan Boss Formees, and you must navigate the Dungeons in a continual effort to save him, battling enemy Formees along the way.
These actually become, for me at least, the most enjoyable portions of Freakyforms Deluxe: Your Creations, Alive!, providing direction that perhaps the rest of the game severely lacks.
Battles are automatic, turn-based affairs, seeing opposing Formees bash each other senseless until either of their HP gauges are depleted. Special Actions, assigned to Formees during creation once collected later in the game, also come into play here, allowing you to perform unique actions such as breathing Fireballs.
Food scattered throughout the Dungeons allows you to recover health, and, whilst levelling isn’t incorporated, the player can gather attribute boosting bubbles which remain in effect until you leave. Vending Machines also see you spend 1000 coins to receive a prize ball that could include any range of items.
Each Dungeon comprises of three floors and culminates with a tough Boss fight, who, as in similar situations, is unlocked as a purchasable character once defeated. Your success is short-lived, however, as, in true “But our Princess is in another Castle” routine, King Roy falls into the clutches of another Formee, meaning that you’ll have to begin your hunt anew.
Continuing the social revolution of the Nintendo 3DS are the various guises in which you can share content. StreetPass enables you to swap chosen Formees with fellow players that you pass by, whereas QR Codes allow you to more directly convert and share your Formees with others over the Internet. Whilst sharing content plays a predominant role, you can also enjoy four-player mode Formees Together through Local or Download Play. This enjoyable addition sees a player designate a theme, for each player to then create a Formee based upon it.
Trophies, awarded along the way for completing certain objectives, reward your on-going progression, but it doesn’t help shake the feeling that, despite its characterful nature, the relative simplicity of Freakyforms Deluxe: Your Creations, Alive! remains its greatest hindrance.
Freakyforms Deluxe: Your Creations, Alive! will be adored by youngsters for its ease of play, genial nature and creative qualities, yet doesn’t provide enough expanded content to maintain interest before reaching a point where it all begins to feel far too repetitive.