Freedom Finger puts you in the shoes of a rookie space pilot in a politically incorrect shmup game that has a lot to offer. Find out if the game is for you in our Freedom Finger review!
The story of the game puts you in the role of Gamma Ray, a rookie space pilot that has the chance to control an advanced spaceship known as the Eagle Claw. Your first briefing from Major Cigar tasks you with rescuing some hostages on the moon that have been captured by Chinese terrorists. As you move on through this mission, you end up blasting a Russian space station, taking the conflict to a much bigger scale. From there, Major Cigar will guide you on a quest that will drift away from your original objective.
The game is a side-scrolling shoot ’em up – or shmup – but with a few different aspects to give originality to the gameplay. The Eagle Claw, your hand-shaped space vehicle, is able to shoot lasers from the tip of its middle finger with the X button, which is always pointed towards where you are headed. You have the possibility of punching stuff with either the Square or R2 button so that you can punch enemies that are getting too close, as well as destroy certain walls to continue through the stage or in secondary passages. The Eagle Claw has the possibility of grabbing objects with the Triangle or L2 buttons. This allows you to either grab some space debris or small enemies that you’ll simply throwback at others, but sometimes it grants you a new weapon that the hand will use it.
There are a lot of options in terms of gameplay difficulty, making for an experience that can be enjoyed by beginners as well as experienced players. The only thing the settings will change is the percentage of points you will gain as a bonus or penalty if you’re going for an easier path. If you are going for the more normal or experienced playthrough, there is a stealth bar that will be in the top right corner that adds another challenge to the game. This bar will fill up a little bit more each time an enemy makes it past you. If it eventually fills up, it’s game over. This adds a bit more strategy to the game as you’ll sometimes sacrifice a hit or two to be able to punch an enemy and prevent it from passing you.
The game features some great visuals with a lot of different enemies that will keep things interesting as you go through the 40 levels the game has to offer. On top of that, the cutscenes feature a great cast of voice actors, including Nolan North, whom you all know for his role in the Uncharted series. The soundtrack for the game is certainly one of its strongest aspects. It features lots of great songs ranging from metal to downtempo and even some new wave, with all of it timed to the enemies’ movement and attack patterns. Even though it’s not the same type of game – at all – it sometimes made me think of Sound Shapes.
One thing that has to be said about this game is that it clearly is for a mature audience. First of all, your ship is permanently giving you the middle finger. Then there are the cutscenes that feature crude language, and the whole story that’s all about exaggerated personas of the US military, Russians, and Chinese. But if you’re open to all this and don’t mind a lot of bad words here and there, then the game is a lot of fun.
As I played, I changed to an easier setting because I had trouble getting past some stages, and I wanted to see where the story was going. It’s totally ridiculous, but so much fun to see it evolve and expand thanks to the great voice acting. As for the gameplay itself, I really enjoyed what the punch and grab added, making for a more original experience when compared to a traditional shmup where you collect floating power-ups. The levels and boss designs are also great, going from space to the inside of an asteroid to a dream-like sequence in a child’s room, to name some examples, on the 40 levels of the game you’ll get to play.
As for the trophies, there are a lot of that will pop naturally while playing, but since there are branching paths in the story, you’ll likely have to replay a few stages to get every possible story-related trophy. Other than that, there are a few specific trophies that will need to be retried a few times before succeeding, like one of the bosses that you have to defeat without taking damage, but a veteran of shmup games should be able to achieve them and get the Platinum for their collection.
Freedom Finger from Wide Right Interactive was a pleasant surprise for me. It features some great level design, fun gameplay mechanics, and a soundtrack that is one of the best I’ve heard in a long time. It’s definitely worth purchasing for fans of the genre that don’t mind some crude humor.
PSN Price: $14.99
This Freedom Finger review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by Wide Right Interactive.