There’s a joke I could make about a Hands-On preview and a shmup where you can grab and throw enemies and you’re a flying fist, but I refuse to do it.
Freedom Finger took me on a galactic journey filled with odd stuff at Pax East, blasting vicious cigarette packs, angry busts, weird cloaked creatures, and other strange beasts, all while flying through some equally surreal places. I soared through art galleries loaded with dangerous artifacts, roamed through graffiti-covered space stations, and delved into colorful landscapes that defied description. I had no idea what was coming pretty much every moment I was playing the game, as anything could be an enemy, and I could end up in any place, exploring an imagination completely unfettered.
You’re not just floating along, though, as you’re blasting away with your rigidly-extended middle finger. These blasts will do the job against the motley crew of enemies you’re facing, but why stop there when you can close that fist and punch stuff. The melee attack added some nice variety to things, as you could clock foes and barriers if they got close, no longer having to shoot fast and hope for the best. It was a solid addition to the shmup action, especially when you got annoyed at something. Mad? Just punch stuff.
The grab power adds a whole lot more to Freedom Finger, though. You can grab many of the game’s objects and enemies, which you can then throw at other foes for huge damage. This works great in a pinch, but that’s not all it’s good for. You can snag foes and turn them into temporary new weapons as well, gaining new types of shots and attacks that not only broaden your arsenal, but encourage you to experiment as you play. You’re not just relying on your guns to get through each level, but may have any number of varied options to make replays interesting.
Having this wild, ridiculous combat going on in time to the game’s great music added even more appeal. I only heard a few tracks, but those were high-energy affairs that added a lot to the action. That action also moves in time to the beat, which created this delightful effect where settling into a musical groove made the tunes feel as if they were flowing through you. With everything moving in tune to the music, and your own actions syncing with it if you were playing well, it created a connection in song that made the shmup play just course through you.
Between the wild premise, wilder enemies and locales, goofy action, and terrific music, Freedom Finger is shaping up to be a solid shmup with a ton of variety. Well worth it just for that feel of settling into the groove of the beat.
DISCLOSURE – Wayne Kubiak, the artist who designed Indie Games Plus’ logo, is working on Freedom Finger. This has not affected our decision to cover the game in any way.