Thanks to Rainy Night Creations for the review code
System: Wii U (eShop)
Price: $ 13.99
Release date: 2/6/2016
The main game/story
In this new 3D Platformer (It’s been ages since we’ve seen a new game like that!) You take control of R, who must save her dog from the evil being known only as Fat the Cat, as R uses her trusty camera to help her through this strange new world.
Sharp, impressive models with very colorful worlds to be seen, which makes it a sight to behold on a high-definition TV. While it’s nowhere near the level of quality that you’d expect from a AAA title, for obvious reasons, I was rather surprised by how much care and effort went into building the worlds in this game. Sunshine Valley is lively and filled with things to do (perhaps too many, more on that later), and the hub world is a nice open world to explore, either to practice your techniques or move onto the next world to get some more cubes. Definitely a pleasant surprise, even if there are a few areas where the details fall flat (most notably the bonus stages, which look as if they were thrown in at the last minute)
Music and Sound
What surprised me the most from this game, however was the soundtrack. I’ll admit, I didn’t really expect too much in the sound department, but shortly after recording the hour of gameplay footage for the youtube channel, I found myself replaying the Sunshine Valley theme in my head over and over again. As I progressed through the game, even more well made melodies were introduced, and during my time with the game, I didn’t really notice any tracks that I would call repetitive or annoying.
Most famous 3D platformers have one of two goals in mind: Collect all the hidden items that you can find, or just look for a “main item” that you have to solve a puzzle to obtain. FreezeME plays like the latter with worlds that seem like its for the former reason, which is both a good and bad thing. In terms of controls, R controls fine for the most part, even better thanks to the Wii U Gamepad allowing for quicker use of the camera. She can run around with the analog stick, jump with the A button, kick with the B button, and slide with the X button. Using the trigger button will change the camera angle, allowing you to use a button to fire a laser at any nearby enemy to freeze them, offering a wide variety of clever puzzles. Can’t get a platform to stay still? Freeze it. Can’t defeat an irritating enemy? Freeze it. Need to cheat on a race to ensure that you don’t lose? Freeze your opponent! (Don’t worry, she doesn’t seem to mind.) Unfortunately, using the tradition method with the buttons tends to slow the pacing down, making it less inconvenient to do. That’s why I strongly encourage you to play with the gamepad, as all you need to do to freeze an enemy is to touch them! It’s that simple, and is pretty much why FreezeME feels right at home on the Wii U.
With controls out of the way, lets move onto the main objectives that I mentioned before. Similar to games like Super Mario 64, your main goal in each level is to solve the main objective to retrieve the FreezeME equivalent of the stars, simply known as cubes. These include challenges such as solving a puzzle regarding a very short timer, defeating a boss, or exchanging the green pigcoins found around the game’s main worlds for one. While it’s thankfully not too tough once you get the hang of the controls, there are some quirks that may irritate you. For one thing, R has a rather odd tendency to do floaty jumps on her second jump, but not her first jump, which could really throw you off in some precise platforming segments.
Another oddity is that the huge worlds don’t really seem to serve any purpose besides extra space to run around in. Sure, these big worlds help keep things from feeling the exact same in the typical “Get as many coins as you can to spawn a cube” missions, but in nearly any other mission (which you can still do even if you choose a different one, if you feel like exploring a bit) they feel a bit empty and overwhelming. Honestly, some areas of these worlds feel like they should have been their own, separate worlds. For example, World 3 contains a group of big planets that you can shoot R to using a cannon. You can aim her to a tropical planet, an ice planet, or a dessert planet, with some missions set on each of the separate planets. Why couldn’t every planet be its own separate world, instead of having them all bunched together in the same world for the sake of making it bigger? That main issue with the level design is unfortunately what may end up not making this game as accessible to play as the 3D platformers that its based on. That being said, with everything else being so stellar, from the music, the art style and the Gamepad controls, I still found myself giving each level multiple tries regardless, and I’m still working towards 100% completion nonetheless.
In conclusion, FreezeME is a fun way to start off the revival of 3D Platforming, one that should continue throughout the year with other 3D Platformers being made for modern systems. That being said, it’s not quite perfect, with worlds much bigger than they need to be along with some minor control quirks. Overall though, I still had a blast with FreezeME, as is by far one of my favorite eShop games of the new year. From the great music, to the feeling of “I have to find everything”, it’s a charming experience enhanced by the Wii U’s Gamepad, with plenty of content to keep completionists occupied. I give FreezeME an 8 out of 10, and strongly recommend it to all who are hoping to scratch that 3D Platforming itch.