In a world full of mobile apps and games it’s hard for a platformer to rise above the rest, but what Lisa Rye and Stirfire Studios have created here manages to do just that. The game they have created, Freedom Fall, is more than just a platformer, it’s a game with a real rich sense of humour and a massive heart.
The game started as a personal project of Lisa’s but was picked up by Stirfire Studios as a commercial release upon her move to the company. Freedom Fall was developed in Perth, Australia, and will debut at this year’s PAX Expo Australia in June. It’s currently in Beta on Desura here and can be upvoted on Steam Greenlight here.
In “Freedom Fall” you play as Marsh, the ‘hero’ of the tale. He find himself imprisoned in a tower where the only way to go is down (and sometimes across!) in order to escape. The premise is fairly simple yet very well executed; move downwards avoiding traps, spikes and even a mechanical shark, but this isn’t what sets the game apart from other platformers, it’s the character and heart of the game the creators have imbued in Freedom Fall.
This character comes mainly in the form of the Princess Emph, the daughter of the king and designer of the many dangers in Freedom Fall. After being locked up herself and finding the tower boring she escapes and decided to redecorate and make it her own. Her character really brings the charm and entertainment to the game in a creepy little girl meets Glados (from Portal) kind of way! She tells her story and interacts with the player through messages written on the walls of the tower, developing the story as you progress through the various stages. What results from this clever storytelling is an experience rarely seen in mobile games – it provides a great deal of humour and emotional investment in such a deceptively simple package.
In terms of gameplay Freedom Fall excels once again. With simple controls and levels varying in direction and challenge and a few pace changes like the mechanical shark it manages to keep the player invested in the game without completely overpowering Emph’s narrative. It also manages to keep this investment without sacrificing any gameplay mechanics. Apart from navigating traps and dangers the player may gather bolts to build several items to help the player traverse the traps such as a parachute and wings to give an extra boost when jumping. These bolts can be found throughout levels and in greater quantities in small side rooms, often giving hints and tips for the next challenge via wall messages. The game also supports two different endings and branching difficulty decisions. As the player moves downward they will reach many crossroads, offering ‘easy’ and ‘hard’ obstacles. The easy choice will of course be less difficult but also will offer less bolts and no side rooms, whereas those who brave the harder traps may find themselves better appeared for the many obstacles ahead. This relatively simple choice gives the player a sense of control and again does something not seen a lot in a mobile package.
The visual style of the game is quite pleasant, with most of it being hand drawn. The simplistic design and implementation works well on any screen from a laptop or desktop to a much smaller mobile touch screen. The soundtrack for the game works well with the fast paced style of game. Freedom fall runs quite well on both platforms with no problems or bugs encountered in my playthrough.
In summation Freedom Fall is quite a fun and entertaining game, perfect for on the go platforming with added heart, or sitting down to enjoy on a bigger computer screen. Regardless of how you play the game, what Lisa and Stirfire Studios have created is quite clever and unique, totally deserving of any gamers time.
You can check out this game at PAX Australia in June, and it will be available to download and play from the 19th of July!