by April 2, 2020 @ 12:20 pm
Reviewed on Xbox One
There’s something great about a game that knows exactly what it is. Freedom Finger from Wide Right Games is a 2D arcade shoot ‘em up that takes cues from R-Type and Gradius. That said, it’s more than just a game inspired by classic space shooters. It’s also a funny, irreverent, foul-mouthed adventure that would feel right at home nestled in between episodes of American Dad in a Saturday night Adult Swim lineup. It’s not perfect, and it can feel a bit same-y after a while, but even then, there’s a lot to really dig about Freedom Finger.
Do It for America
Part of what makes Freedom Finger so good is its writing. The game is rooted in political satire that just works. The jabs aren’t ham-fisted or esoteric, but rather caricatures of everything from communism to video games in general.
Freedom Finger features a fully voice-acted script starring Nolan North as Major Cigar and John DiMaggio of Futurama and Adventure Time fame as The Comrade. These two steal the show with their quips and wild statements. If you dig humor that goes about as close to the edge without actually jumping off that edge, you’ll likely enjoy what these two characters have to say. They say a lot, too, so if you’re not into that stuff, the comedy here probably won’t change your mind.
Grab ‘Em Up
In Freedom Finger, you control a space fighter shaped like a giant hand — or rather, a giant hand that’s sticking out its middle finger. It’s through that middle finger that you’ll shoot your basic projectiles. That said, your ship is shaped like a hand, so it would be a waste if you couldn’t punch things. With the press of a button, you can throw hands — or hand — at enemy ships and smash them to bits, adding light melee action into the mix.
You can also grab most things onscreen and use them as weapons, and that’s where the strength of the gameplay lies. You can grab enemy ships and hurl them at other ships. You can also pick up massive guns dropped by baddies. This increases your arsenal by allowing you to use shotguns, weapons with rapid fire, and spread shot weapons. It’s a lot of fun, and it’s hilarious seeing a giant hand holding a giant gun and shooting things in space.
The level designs in Freedom Finger are varied, with minor branching paths leading to different upgrades for your ship, and all kinds of enemies spread out everywhere. Sometimes you’re not just dealing with incoming fire from bad guys, either. Environmental hazards will smash and burn you, so you have to keep your eyes peeled the entire time. Accuracy is great, but being aware of your surrounding environments can also mean the difference between life and death.
As entertaining as it can be to shoot everything in sight with your giant middle finger, the game can sometimes border on feeling a tad repetitive. It’s also pretty tough, which is definitely a good thing — but that difficulty means you’ll restart some levels multiple times, which in turn means you’re seeing a lot of the same stuff for extended periods. Also worth noting is the fact that the game sort of misses an opportunity for a fun co-op component.
Saturday Morn— Er, Saturday Night Cartoon
Quite fittingly, Freedom Finger has a really cool animated look to it. Not only does the game sound like an adult animated sitcom — it also looks like one. Character designs during cut-scenes are great, and I wish there would’ve been even more NPCs, just to see what they would’ve looked like. The same hand-drawn style carries over into the levels, which gives them a really cool vibe and makes for some really offbeat enemy designs.
With a cast featuring the aforementioned Nolan North and John DiMaggio, as well as Sam Riegal from Critical Role and Eric Bauza from Rick and Morty, you can expect top-notch level voice acting. The great sound design isn’t limited to just voice work, though. Freedom Finger features catchy music from Aesop Rock, Red Fang, Com Truise, and the Radio Dept. — and that’s just a small glance at the list of great indie and electronic rock bands featured in the game.
If you’re looking for a nice, wholesome, clean, and family-friendly action game, well, look elsewhere, because Freedom Finger isn’t any of those things. What it is, though, is a fun, laugh-out-loud arcade shooter with good art, great music, and fun mechanics. If you’re into more adult animated sitcoms like American Dad and Archer, or you dig Adult Swim’s brand of irreverent animation, Freedom Finger delivers that type of humor in a competent and enjoyable shmup package.
Score: 7.5 out of 10
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