The Politics Run on the Same Logic as the Physics - Let's Play Freedom Planet

Heyo, folks, I’m Will.

< - And that’s SuccinctAndPunchy.

And we’ve played way too much Freedom Planet!

Developer: GalaxyTrail
Platforms: PC, Wii U, PS4
Initial Release Date: July 21, 2014
Genre: Action Platformer
This is a voiced, co-commentated VLP.

[I]Freedom Planet[/I] is an action-heavy platforming game that takes clear inspiration from a variety of classic SEGA Genesis platformers, such as Gunstar Heroes, Ristar, Rocket Knight Adventures, and Sonic the Hedgehog, with a tightened focus on combat and a number of more modern approaches to game design that, in my opinion, put it well above the games it draws life from, as well as most of its contemporaries. It was developed largely by one guy: Stephen DiDuro (who we’ll mostly refer to by his Internet handle, “Strife”), with the help of Leila Wilson (a composer who wrote most of the soundtrack and orchestrated all of it) and an awfully large voice cast.

Freedom Planet follows the adventure of three fast-moving critters, Sash Lilac (a dragon*), Carol Tea (a cat), and Milla Basset (a dog), whose homeworld has just been invaded by a scary green dude. That’s the story.

*yes I’m serious

Succinct and I have collectively dumped about 1000 hours into this game (him, over 800, and me, over 200), and we figured we ought to use our knowledge of Freedom Planet, both inside and outside of the finished product, to present the game we love(d?) so much in a variety of lights. We’ll be taking you through the full game two separate times: a casual runthrough with Lilac (on Hard difficulty), and a speedrun (also featuring Lilac), with a few extra tidbits on the history of FP and Strife here and there.

You’re free to discuss spoilers (although there’s not much point to talk about plot points until they’re pertinent, frankly) - otherwise, all we ask for post content is that you try to keep things on topic. For the sake of having as few videos as possible and keeping things simple, I’ll be including the gameplay and cutscenes together, but the latter will (almost) always be stuck wholly in the second half of a video, so as to let people tap out when they feel the need.

Now, without any further ado…

Episode List
Series Playlist
Episode 1: Dragon Valley
Episode 2: Relic Maze
Episode 3: Fortune Night
Episode 4: Sky Battalion
Episode 5: Jade Creek
Episode 6: Thermal Base
Episode 7: Pangu Lagoon
Episode 8: Battle Glacier
Episode 9: Final Dreadnought (1&2)
Episode 10: Final Dreadnough (3&4)

Episode B1: GalaxyTrail History
Episode B2: Jade Phoenix
Episode B3: Super Ecksdee Panic


Man, I’ve got thoughts about Freedom Planet. On the one hand it is like, an actual good game. I also don’t like playing it because it doesn’t play good at all because their intent was to emulate the original Genesis Sonic games and in my personal opinion those games play REALLY BADLY. So congrats, you got it down perfectly guys. For better or worse.

Also the plot is the most “this is my Deviant Art OC” I’ve ever seen and I really don’t know how to react to it. The opening itself is so muddled. Alien man takes over the country, killing the prince’s Dad…and then we get a scene detailing the power orbs and implying that the prince has “somehow gone evil” even though we juuust saw him getting mind controlled by the alien man. And then we cut to…Alien Man crashing his ship into some part of the planet? And THEN we cut to our protagonists watching a ship crash, and really you could JUST show the orb scene and the heroes watching the ship crash scene and it would be a PERFECTLY FINE AND GOOD opening.

Also I really just don’t like the stupid alien duck man. That said, I love to see some skilled gameplay so I’ll be following this when I’ve got the time.

I don’t actually think it handles or is designed much like a Genesis Sonic game at all and that’s part of why it’s better than those games by a wide margin, because I don’t like them either.

and yes the plot is fucking bananas

Every time I see you play this game I feel like I should give it another shot because you make look so fun. Then again, it’s been all speedruns so far.

I’m sure I’ll actually play and finish the game one of these days, so far I just really haven’t been feeling it. Or maybe it’s just one of those games I prefer watching in the end.

Maaan, it’s always weird seeing people say that the Genesis games don’t play well, because I have basically zero problem with them. Except CD, that game sucks to play.
That being said, while I haven’t played the game myself, it doesn’t look like it plays like Sonic. It definitely seems like it could be a Genesis Sonic Team game, aesthetically speaking. Tone wise, maaaaaaaybe not.

Unless you stick to Carol, I can’t really say that I see much of a comparison between the flaws of movement in early Sonic titles and the potential flaws of movement in Freedom Planet. Lilac having quick acceleration and a double jump already makes her far more maneuverable than Sonic, and the dragon boost is a much more dynamic execution of the “free speed button,” while the spindash needs you to be stopped and on somewhat flat ground. I suppose you’d have to clarify what your problems with FP are.

I have a pretty neutral stance on the old Sonic games, myself, barring Sonic 1, which I think lacks some of the better level design conventions and movement mechanics that would appear in later games.

If you’re moving forward with your jump you are almost completely unable to go backwards, in my experience. If you jump straight up, don’t expect to get any momentum going forward or backwards. Again, this could just be me, but the controls feel…strangely sluggish. Like, they’re “fast” but they’re also stiff as hell. They feel exactly like the Genesis era Sonic games to me, for better or worse.

That sounds more like an issue with whatever controller you used because the jump is really loose even if you just jump and then try and pull back, and every character has a move that allows them to completely reverse their aerial momentum or stop it dead. Lilac’s divekick will completely change your direction, her cyclone will stop it clean, Carol’s Pounce will swap direction allowing you to pivot in the air incredibly sharply, Milla’s float gives probably the freest aerial control of the bunch.

You actually decelerate really quickly if you hold the opposite direction, in the air or otherwise, I’m talking like, a handful of frames and you’ve already lost like a third of your speed. It is super easy to make the fine adjustments with your air trajectory or completely reverse it compared to a sonic game.

I agree with the part where the Sonic games have kind of a stiff jump, but part of why I like FP in the first place to even do this LP is that its physics are like a million times looser. For better, and sometimes worse, but IMO mostly better.

You’ve totally lost me. You can turn around completely in mid-air as any character. Give it a try!

Maybe it was a controller issue, but the controller’s never given me…any problems at all on anything else? I have a video of it here if you wanna like, look at it? Not to pull the attention towards myself of course it’s just might help understand where I’m coming from?

Also I didn’t know her kick let you change direction, neat. I have issues using her spin dash because you can’t do it unless you have a max bar, and that just feels really weird to me. The cyclone also just worked…weird, but maybe I just didn’t get it.

Even in that video, I see a few times where you’re changing direction on a dime in mid-air. I can definitely see you and the controls not gelling, but I’m not exactly getting why. Holding right, jumping, and then holding left should definitely have you doubling back the way you came, every time.

I will admit, the dragon boost needing full meter to execute can cause some headache for new players, but I think that not needing to stop to use it makes that a worthwhile sacrifice.

I looked at about the seven to eight minute mark of that video, you are definitely having controller problems if you holding left is getting that result of slow deceleration in the air like that, because that result looks like what happens if you hold absolutely nothing at all. If you were actually holding left, you would bank left pretty sharply.

I’m basically 100% on this and I encourage you to revisit it and try a different controller or use a keyboard or fiddle around with that because some of that really does look completely abnormal and symptomatic of your movement controls not registering properly. I’ve played this game for some 800 hours-ish in a speedrun context so I’m hyper-familiar with what the physics do when you hold buttons for even slight periods of time and some of that looks like you were just weren’t hitting anything at all.

Oh don’t worry I definitely will, the game is fun even with these issues and the fact that the plot is an utter mess of “yup this sure started as a fan fic game”.

Boy oh boy, I also have Thoughts about this game. I don’t think anyone’s going to be that surprised if I say I like the gameplay, but regarding your commentary on the game’s apparently-expansive lore, I have commented in the past that I feel like there’s some huge series bible kicking around somewhere that no one got to see. Maybe the bible came first and Strife wrote the story out of stuff he liked from it.

As for praise: I’m actually really impressed by the level of quality and attention to detail in the animations. They’re generally good, they’ve accounted for some fairly obtuse situations, and in a few cases there are context-sensitive idle animations and shit (hang out next to one of the benches in Fortune Street).

Tangentially, the sequel got the thumbs up on Steam Greenlight last month. I’m looking forward to it since I have faith in the gameplay but for the love of Mike, Cambot, Gypsy, Tom Servo, and Crow, I hope they hire an editor.

I’ve had exactly the same criticism to level at it, but the reality of this is mainly due to large parts of the script getting axed but the connecting bits not being properly sanded off, leading to that weird feeling of feeling like there’s a ton of backstory we’re just not privvy to. That and some of it is just mishandled attempts to allude to stuff he genuinely just hasn’t written yet, I don’t actually think he’s got a fully detailed lore already written out and that it’d all make sense if we knew, I get the impression he’s a game designer first and definitely a writer later.

Speaking of parts of the script getting axed - this episode features a very lengthy series of cutscenes which was both cut down and has some connecting tissue leftover from what we’re certain was a cut level.

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Right! Now we’re in Fortune Night, a fun but fairly simple level with a great boss fight at the end. We also get to see a bit more of how the game tries to do humor.


Didn’t mention this in the video but I dig the choice of colours on Fortune Night’s design. All red and gold and stuff because in Chinese culture red and gold symbolise good fortune, happiness and prosperity and stuff like that so it speaks volumes about the location that it’s styled like that and no other place is.

A nice little aesthetic touch.

What is it with this game and the (seemingly random) Chinese? Is it an aesthetic choice? Is the creator Chinese/of Chinese ancestry? It’s always been a doubt of mine.

Lotta stuff to unpack here. First off, I’m glad someone else thinks Milla’s a little unnecessary. As far as I can tell, Strife needed to add Milla as early as possible for a single plot point at the very end of the game, that only pays off if you’re playing Lilac’s storyline. He shoulda basically made her Knuckles instead of Cream; she’s a feral child who’s been living next to the MacGuffin for who friggin’ knows how long, it’s right there. Since she knows what it’s about, what you can really do with it, and how to track it, she keeps the Super Sonic Simulacrum Squad on track trying to get it back. There, I fixed the dog. You’re welcome, Strife.

I’m like honestly not sure Torque’s actor is doing an accent. I think that’s just what he sounds like. Take that as you will.

Regarding your remarks about parts of the game being on tone die-hard fans of the game love to crow about how it’s proof that a cartoony style can carry a serious plotline but all I can think about is how many of those “serious” plot points would have still been gratuitous and tasteless if the game had a more naturalistic aesthetic. For those of you experiencing this for the first time, you’ll know.

I think the Chinese is just a personal interest thing for Strife.