(3DS eShop)

Game Review

Freakyforms: Your Creations, Alive! Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

It’s alive!

The touch screen in the DS family of consoles has often been the focus for artistic experiences. The mere act of holding the stylus should inspire artists, and it’s this instinct that forms the foundation for Freakyforms: Your Creations, Alive! on 3DS. It’s a strange name that doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, and is perfectly apt for the experience on offer.

This is a Nintendo release, and that becomes immediately clear as you approach for the first time. The digital manual is the first indicator: packed full of colour and detail, it's particularly suitable for young gamers. The first time you launch the title properly, you’re greeted by chirpy music, a burst of colours and a simple, intuitive user interface. Freakyforms doesn’t invite you to explore, but rather takes you by the hand, pats you on the head and gives you a delicious lollipop. Right from the start young children will be charmed, and non-cynical adults are likely to feel all warm and fuzzy.

That’s not to say that you’re not allowed to express yourself, as your first task is to name the world and start creating your first formee. In no time you’re presented with the creation screen, where you select from pre-defined forms to craft a strange creature. That first creature is particularly weird, as the form templates available are extremely limited. That said, such is the nature of this title that the goal isn’t to create refined and detailed characters, but quirky and strange animals, birds, vehicular dinosaur, or pretty much anything that looks freaky. To truly enjoy the creative process, it’s necessary to embrace that ethos.

The creation area, and the rest of the game as a whole, is structured to show you the ropes in a gradual way, gently pointing towards new forms and buttons with each new creation. Everything is done with the stylus, and the sensitive manner of progression means that it’s almost impossible to be daunted or confused. The downside to this is that it’s a slow process, ideal for youngsters, but more experienced gamers and those with unbounded artistic instincts have to wade through a lot of lessons and baby steps before their ideal creations can take shape.

Crafting creatures is intuitive and simple but the next step, unfortunately, is not. The moment you finish your creation you’re whisked into a 2D environment and simply tasked with exploring and finding items. In principle this is a nice idea as it provides an opportunity to see the latest wacky creation in action, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. The major issue is that the only means of control is with the stylus, with movement determined by a variety of presses and swipes on the touch screen. Later in the game there are creatures that navigate new environments well, but conventional legged creatures without features such as wings are cumbersome to navigate. It seems strange that the option to use the Circle Pad and buttons for moving and jumping isn’t included.

Control issues aside, the practice of navigating a world is relatively fun. On your travels you’ll complete quests for other creatures that mainly involve going to a location, smashing blocks or finding items. Challenges to eat enough food to lay a ‘golden poop’ are particularly funny for kids and big kids alike. If you successfully complete a character’s quest you can then buy their form parts to expand your creative options, while treasure chests contain new items such as clouds to add to the landscape. Every trip to these areas is on a strict time limit, so it’s a taste of anarchic fun to find and do as much as possible within a few minutes. A sense of repetition may kick in, as it’s necessary to do this at least five times before the game opens up a new expanded area. These spells aren’t optional, either, so if you don’t like this part of the gameplay – or if the stylus controls bother you – then it can become a frustration.

While the main point of the game is to create a formee and then take it into the world, there are plenty of extras and unlockables to pursue. At the start the only options available are to create and explore, but within an hour or two a number of fun features are unlocked. The camera is utilised for AR card images, a neat way to integrate your landscapes and characters into a real setting. It’s also possible to create QR codes for your formees and import up to 80 other QR characters as playable ‘guests’. Add in the ability to exchange creatures and photos via StreetPass, with trophies and accessories to unlock or discover, and there is plenty of content. The only features truly missed are the ability to exchange creations online and the fact that there is only one save profile, so multiple users will need to share a world. Those minor quibbles aside, there are plenty of features in which to dabble.

The overall presentation, as suggested earlier, is bright and perfectly suited to a young audience in particular. Environments and characters have a simplistic hand-drawn quality that looks utterly charming, while the 3D effect is unobtrusive and subtle. This may disappoint some who want drastic depth and pop-out effects, but considering the young target audience the shallow 3D is understandable. Sound is rather delightful with a variety of cheery tunes, while the garbled speech of the formees is pure slapstick.

Conclusion

Freakyforms is a title designed for artistic, creative young children, though it’s also suitable for those who are young at heart. Gamers who aren’t artistic or don’t like the childish aesthetic should stay away, while the repetitive exploration segments and control issues are negatives for anyone. The exploration moments are brief, however, while never being game breaking. If the prospect of creating an army of strange creatures and developing a colourful world is appealing, then this is a package full of variety and humour. For the right audience, this is a title that can give hours of childish pleasure.

More Stories

Game Trailer

Make something weird and watch it come to life in this new video for Nintendo's FreakyForms: Your Creations, Alive!

User Comments (51)

Portista

#1

Portista said:

Aw, I thought this one might be worth a buy, but I don't want to pay for a game in which all you do is create. I'll have to let this one slip out of my memory.

Shadow100

#2

Shadow100 said:

I downloaded it the day it came out and I'm glad I did. This game is pretty fun.

Raptor78

#3

Raptor78 said:

A nice review I really thought this would have gotten an 8, however its all down to the creativity of the player. The more you put into it the more you get out of it, a 7 is respectible enough. Its great that you are able to download others creations via QR code because some of the Japanese creations are amazing.
I probably would have liked the review to mention the ability to unlock and change the scenery in the different parts of your ever growing world because while the artstyle may seem a little "blues clues" to start with its easy enough to change that into a more burtonesque alice in wonderland / nightmare before christmas kind of world.

daznsaz

#4

daznsaz said:

ive clocked 10 hours on it so far if a games bad i have a job clocking a hour to review it on eshop.the exploration is a good part because your looking for extra scenery that you can customise.ive unlocked the city part but havent been there yet.its got the depth i hoped it would have.its a bit like animal crossing or games like that.your not sure what your doing sometimes but your doing it anyway.highly recommend it

eviLaTtenDant

#5

eviLaTtenDant said:

Was interested in this game but it seems to be too reliant on the artsy side for my tastes. Looks good for what it is though and if there was a sale or a cheap eShop card for me to snap one day i guess i'd get it.

LEGEND_MARIOID

#6

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

I've downloaded it and I must say it is superb 3DSware. It deserves an 8 or a 9 really. Very well implemented and you can put absolute hours upon hours into it.

You don't need to be artsy at all to enjoy it. Fantastic.

ThomasBW84Admin

#7

ThomasBW84 said:

@Raptor78 - I mentioned that you unlock scenery but, you're right, it's neat to be able to add scenery, change the overall colour palette etc.

As for the score, 7 is still a good, solid result. The biggest issues were the awkward controls and the forced exploration sections. I felt that the pacing was off, and the (very) slow unlocking of new abilities and options wasn't ideal. After the first hour I was loving it, but as subsequent hours rolled by the impact lessened, and the issues became more prominent and repetitious.

All of that said, it's a fun, charming title with a lot of positives. For those interested in the premise it's certainly recommended.

Raptor78

#8

Raptor78 said:

@ThomasBW84 - Your review was very good and a 7 is a good result. Your right about the controls, I find they work well for when you are under water and such like, but it would have been nice to use the circle pad for the platforming sections.
A good first eShop effort for Nintendo 3DSware and I hope they consider a sequel which improves on the issues with the game and expand the quest options etc. Even creating your own if possible.

Jono97

#9

Jono97 said:

Well at least, this ads to the 3D part of the eshop. I did have a feeling that this game wouldn't be that good.

milkman12

#10

milkman12 said:

@Portista

is that why you didnt buy the drawn to life series? THAT game was so incomplete that the player had to design half the game! but the developers have decided to give me a break and gave me scribblenauts, where they decided to draw every single object on earth(well not every single object on earth, but a whole lot) and we're also given a character named maxwell, a mentally retarded boy who cant even walk without sprinting into hot lava with his arms in the air, or jumping around like he wanted to be a clown when he grew up.

Samholy

#12

Samholy said:

got it this week-end.
im VERY satisfied with it. It has the nintendo seal of quality, its funny. got a lot of cotnent to unlock, streetpass stuff.
and its simply fun. nothing too big, nothing too complicated. jsut fun!
get this one, its a worthy eshop title.

Ducutzu

#13

Ducutzu said:

This game is exactly like LEGO. You have a number of pre-set elements, which you can combine in countless ways. Not all these elements are available from the start, but must be obtained from unlockable creatures (called Friends). The unlockable creatures are just like LEGO kits: they contain a mix of old and new elements, which you can use to make more interesting formees, or to tweak your initial formees.

I personally spent many hours over this weekend, trying to improve the looks of my earlier, crude models. It's a wonderful game and one that I highly recommend.

Burn

#14

Burn said:

Funny how this game is primarily aimed at kids, but the 3D effects are discouraged for anyone under 7.

daznsaz

#15

daznsaz said:

dont know if anyones seen them there was some qr codes made by japanese players.can scan them to get a formee of link a ghost buster sign transformer etc.they join your game as guests can hold about 80

daznsaz

#17

daznsaz said:

^yea i know im not quite as artistic as that.will try something like sometime.i just like getting out in the expanding world.

grumblebuzzz

#18

grumblebuzzz said:

This is a "love it or hate it" title. If you're creative and artistic, you'll enjoy it very much; however, if you're not, you won't.

Tate24

#19

Tate24 said:

Id say the game should really get an 8!

Though graphics look quite kid friendly and quest arent really challenging!

Its the ability to create that drives this game forward and even older people would enjoy it!

Am 27 and ive really enjoyed creating characters specially nintendo characters
edited is quite robust!

and lets be honest nintendo haven't ever really caught on to creating sharing concept.
Like other platforms for example little big planet!
which is really shame because i love creating my own content and wish they bought sumthing out like this but abit more mature!

however

some of the creation that japanese players have been coming up with are sumthing that child could never created!

i seen couple of amazing ones!

A Dragon from final fantasy i believe and seriously for one minute
i questioned if it was real or fake.

It was just so detailed and way they used shading it was pretty impressive.

In my books its pretty interesting title and well worth 5.40!

and i didn't even get mention that game users more features than some full price retail games and thats pretty impressive:)

MarioMario

#20

MarioMario said:

I'm personally really enjoy this game, but I do consider myself an artist and continuously creating new things has been really entertaining for me

Geonjaha

#21

Geonjaha said:

This is discraceful. Seriously - Pyramids got a 7/10. This deservers an 8/10. I'm the 5th person to say so so far, and everyone else either just said they loved it or didnt have it. :3
It was a good review, and I know the score is based on the reviewers opinion, but continuity in respect to other games is always important.

Philip_J_ReedStaff

#22

Philip_J_Reed said:

@Geonjaha:
Remember that the review necessarily has to reflect the opinion of the reviewer. Readers may disagree with it, but you'd be hard pressed to find any review, anywhere, of anything that doesn't have somebody disagreeing with it. It's the nature of opinions, and of criticism in general, and that doesn't make it "disgraceful" at all. :)

NX01Trekkie1992

#23

NX01Trekkie1992 said:

I'm still on the fence about this (mostly due to a lack of money) I may pick it up someday though, just probably not soon

Victoria

#24

Victoria said:

I'm having a blast with the game. I find the platform part difficult, but then I'm not much into platforms. But I'm getting better and have unlocked more items. It's a lot of fun watching your designs animate in game. It's good fun, entertaining, and makes me smile. That's the point of gaming in my mind.

daznsaz

#26

daznsaz said:

^i second that motion.ive just expanded the city.wonder what comes when world grows again.

Hokori

#27

Hokori said:

this game is really fun, but lets face it its not really a 3DSWare game.... its a DSiWare game in wide screen and has very little 3D and no graphics the DSi Couldnt handle, but it is still better then the 2 3DSWare games we do have

Henmii

#28

Henmii said:

So this is more of a sandbox game where you can goof around with strange creatures that you have made. Simple fun without a clear goal.

Hmmm, it still looks crazy enough to warrant a download someday. Maybe I'll do it someday!

Skotski

#29

Skotski said:

Like others, I too love this game.
Wish it got a higher score, but a 7 is by no means a bad score!

I've done everything from making the Meadow stage into an evil-themed city (filled with darkness, buildings for trees, foreboding clouds, and large scan-bots for butterflies) to making the entire cast of Homestarrunner and Metal Gear Solid.
Also this:
Untitled

And while I agree that the controls are "negative", I've personally gotten completely used to them. You simply angle the stylus touch in the direction you want while still taking notice of the environment: pressing forward when there's a ramp will only slow your character down, aim diagonally up or down in the direction of where the ramp is going. One would say the jumping is problematic, but I say it just takes a bit of measuring the slingshot effect to get it down to a science.

With all the features in this game (you can make TONS of characters, have TONS of options for your character [be creative and you'll find that an animated exhaust pipe can also be a coffee mug, and a firehose can "shoot fire" instead], trade and keep tons of them from streetpasses as well - a large amount of stages to edit and challenge, take AR pictures, and lots of creative hints and formats in case you've run out of ideas) you'd be surprised it's a downloadable title.

I suppose it really depends on your love of creativity to see if this game is right for you or not.
But as a person who has played tons of "create your own" games from every console: This is by far one of the best ones. This is tied between RPG Maker and Scribblenauts 2 for me.
Don't compare it to Drawn to Life, it doesn't even scratch it. If anything, think of it as Drawn to Life mixed with Mario Paint.

@Burn
The 3D is barely strong. It would barely hurt anyone's eyes. I doubt it'd even hurt children's eyes. But like all things for the 3DS: There's parental controls that can turn off the 3D for children.

X-145

#30

X-145 said:

I love creating things! This seems to be up my ally. I actually pulled out Drawn to Life: Spongebob Squarepants and started a new account because I needed something to do before I could get an eShop for Christmas :D But yeah it seems like an interesting title, I'm gonna have to get it.

Thwiidscube

#31

Thwiidscube said:

I'm definitely buying this, if I have the money this weekend for a card. If I don't, that's because I also am deciding about buying Mario 3D Land or Minecraft. :) Yep, I'm a Minecraft fan! :D

Nintendude92

#32

Nintendude92 said:

Honestly I'm taking a pass on this because creating characters or customizing a world is what I want Animal crossing for. I thought this would be a decent platformer but I guess not. From what I've read in a few reviews the controls are strange to suit the creatures created-- and that doesn't appeal to me. I can see why it could be fun but I have never been one for creation tools-- save the stellar Warioware: DIY.

Good review

Supremeist

#33

Supremeist said:

This game is good, maybe a little bit pricey for what it is - but it still has alot of content and very fun. 8/10.

RantingThespian

#34

RantingThespian said:

I like it. It is fun and goofy. I just love creating the things, and just goofing around. It's not that expensive, and if you are creative you will have a great time.

brandonbwii

#35

brandonbwii said:

Good review. On a personal level I feel it deserves an 8 or 9. If I'm trying to speak for the masses, however, which I feel a "professional" reviewer should do imo, then a 7 is perfect. It's a game I truly enjoy, but it's something I can definitely see as not everyone's cup of tea if you take it's flaws into account.

Doobah

#36

Doobah said:

I've played for over 15 hours. This game is brilliant in it's simplicity. Definitely worth the cost. It's strangely addicting.

StephenYap3

#38

StephenYap3 said:

Excellent review, but I'll think about it. I'll bet Dillon's Rolling Western will be better.

ThomasBW84Admin

#40

ThomasBW84 said:

@Raptor78 - I normally try to be relatively objective, but as mentioned earlier by others it's impossible to avoid any personal opinions featuring in the article. Writing a formal review should be about more than the individual's perspective though, in my opinion. It'd be wrong, for example, to criticise a Professor Layton game as being 'just a load of puzzles' just because the reviewer doesn't like the genre: balance is important.

My artistic side is focussed on writing, but I liked the concept of creating these forms without needing any actual drawing ability. That's well done, but the structure (including the forced exploration) seems a tad clumsy. As mentioned earlier though, a 7 is actually a positive score and a recommendation, in spite of the flaws.

Raptor78

#41

Raptor78 said:

Sorry if I had offended you, I found nothing wrong with your review. I like most people consider the 7 to be a pretty OK score, and I also understood your issues with the game. I have read reviews before where the reviewer obviously hadnt put the time into the game enough to justify their opinion but I wouldnt say that was the case with your review. From what you had written it seemed like you clearly enjoyed the game but it wasnt without its flaws, which seems like a fair enough judgement.
I once read a review on here (Samurai Warriors Chronicles #cough#) where the reviewer had clearly not played it enough to see that his issues are addressed in the latter levels for which I thought that was a terrible review.

Kanadagawa

#46

Kanadagawa said:

Freakyforms™ is quite the game. If you like creations and stuff. I got it last friday when I also bought my $15 e shop card. I now have 33 Formees (Still going!) Though it says I shall have to wait an hour or so for the hearts to be filled up again. At the end it's a fun game I guess.

supernova6831

#47

supernova6831 said:

@everyone who says this is for artistic people
if you are artistic, it actually isn't so fun. i suck at anything creative, but i really enjoyed this.

Dizzard

#48

Dizzard said:

Been playing this for a while now and I think it deserves at least an 8 or 8.5.

The oddball nature if the game is so charming and my planet is filling up with so many wacky (poorly made) formees. :3

My only gripe with the game is the 3D is really poor.

DavmanTheSpy

#50

DavmanTheSpy said:

I recommend this aswell. I already unlocked all the friends already easily. I would love an update (DLC possibly?) to this game with more worlds or friends. BTW, anyone got the final friend yet?

tovare

#51

tovare said:

My son who is 5 plays this quite often and I'm surprised at the variations of formees you can create after a while. I've been playing some myself as well. It's a great game.

Leave A Comment

Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...