Saturday, October 31, 2009

Freqµency Review


Swine flu? No, I had a Borderlands addiction, apologies. Anyhow, I am back and had the pleasure of playing though Freqµency, a color-based robotic-themed platformer. To be honest, I am little wary of games that designate colors according to the Xbox controller buttons - but I am one of those people that starts to dislike things as they become more common - so don't mind me.

Freqµency follows a tried-and-true set up for a platformer that I tend to enjoy. That is, create a "home base' with important NPCs, and then send the player out on missions which upon completion loops back to the home base for progression of the story. Using this method, Freqµency creates a nice sense of accomplishment while also allowing for pacing and narrative. Similarly, as the player completes missions the robot character gains upgrades.

When it comes to the upgrades, I am torn. The game is built around color - both sapping objects (any object) of their color to gain it, and then expelling it in the form of fireballs/bullets. Exhausting all of your color goodness equals death, and getting hit by foes knocks down color too - so there is an ammo/life 'management' mechanic at hand. Trigger happiness will lead to death quickly. So for some, that will be a conflict of interest.

I do like the idea of sapping the world of it's colors to gain back power (there's something satisfying about peeling all of the color off a sedan, for example). But what didn't satisfy is that all of the colors act essentially the same - allowing the player to switch to the color and fire a blast of equal effect/power. Had each colored blast behaved differently and had pros/cons, it would help distinguish the colors as more than just an extension of the lifebar.

Something we all love - boss fights - are a welcome addition to Freqµency. They offer a good challenge while learning their patters and have some unique attacks that keep you on your toes. I won't spoil anything here, but the boss encounters also help drive the story. Speaking of which, the story won't win any awards, but as I always say - at least they gave us one to follow. I always feel like it's better to offer the players who enjoy some dialogue/story the option of immersing themselves in it. It doesn't have to be deep, complex, or entirely unique - it just has to give the player something to follow. I enjoyed some of the dialogue and could tell that the designers had fun with that element.

At 240 points, Freqµency is solid platforming experience with a hook worth checking out. Have a go at it.

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