With the 3DS XL releasing just a couple of weeks back you’d think Nintendo would also have launched a major title to accompany such an event. While New Super Mario Bros 2 isn’t out until next week, we did receive two new games in the form of New Art Academy and Freakyforms Deluxe perhaps as showcases of how a bigger screen could benefit the console’s titles. While the latter surprised me in being a successful learning tool for budding artists or even fresh starters, Freakyforms unfortunately feels far too similar to its downloadable counterpart and uninspired that it just doesn’t feel like it warrents the higher asking price.
Originally released on the Nintendo eShop at £5.40 Freakyforms was a fairly decent character creator that had plenty of charm to it, managing to become a surprise hit. Now Nintendo hope to bring the same success to the retail market with a Deluxe version containing a few extras and a new mode that will hopefully make the jump to a cartridge worthwhile. Does it?
The heart of the game lies in its character editor which is still where I found myself having the most fun. Creating your own creatures out of simple shapes and adjusting layout, size, colours and so on – the tool is clear, intuitive and easily accessible for all ages yet still retains a decent amount of depth that can result in some fantastic (and creepy) looking ideas. Even when I wasn’t trying to create a specific monster (or ‘formee’ as they’re called in the game) I would have a great time just experimenting with the different shapes and sizes on offer. Despite the fact they sport a primary school cut-out look to them, each monster is full of charm and you’ll soon be populating your environments with plenty of them.
A big problem with the downloadable version was that beyond the character editor, there wasn’t really much else to keep you busy. Sure you could create and venture an expanding world collecting, eggs and coins, but this grew tiring. Even checking out a stranger’s monsters via SpotPass or QR codes, while fun, wasn’t enough to hold the attention of those that wanted more. The Deluxe version however attempts to rectify this problem by introducing dungeons to the mix, allowing you to battle other monsters and explore some newer simple 2D interiors.
Your formee is assigned one of three classes that include speedy, aggressive and defensive. Battles then consist of no more than virtual games of rock-paper-scissors lacking any real depth whatsoever. Kids are sure to have a blast out of going toe-to-toe with their other creations, but anyone looking for something to get your teeth into will be sorely disappointed. It’s a real shame, as something like this could have really added to the Freakyforms experience if it had been done right. This just feels like a missed opportunity.
Over 100 extra items have been included in this update which to its credit can be fun to unlock. Completing objectives will net you new shapes for your creations and parts to customize your world. The further you find yourself getting into the game, the more crazy and inventive your ideas will become which end up providing a nice incentive to continue completing missions despite the barren areas and slightly repetitive nature of it all.
Also new, is the addition of a multiplayer mode that sees you and up to three others creating your own formees that try their best to match a specific word or theme. Despite being incredibly simple and with no real winner actually declared, this mode turned out to be good fun and should you get four friends together, you’ll have a good time simply watching everyone’s creations unfold. Judging everyone’s monsters for ourselves definitely provided plenty of fun discussions between us as we argued whos attempts soared and whos sunk. Even better is the fact that only one copy of the game is needed.
The original Freakyforms was a fun way to kill half an hour from time to time and despite not offering too much in terms of content, the low price helped justify that. With the Deluxe version, sadly the dungeons and small additions don’t feel entirely worthwhile making it tough to justify the extra cost. There’s still fun to be had here, but as it stands you’ll find it hard not to be disappointed in terms of what the Deluxe version has to offer.