Review – Freedom Finger

It’s always a pleasure when a fantastic indie game sneaks up on me that I had no clue about. Freedom Finger? What kind of weird game could that title be attached to? Oh, it’s a shoot ’em up? Cool. Wait, it has Nolan North, John DiMaggio, Eric Bauza, and Sam Riegel doing voice over? What in the hell is this game!? The soundtrack has Red Fang and Power Trip? Why have I not heard of this before now? I couldn’t have been more blind sided by Freedom Finger, but I’m absolutely grateful that I had the opportunity to play it.

In Freedom Finger you play as a high ranking airman for the US of A, code named Gamma Ray. You’re not just any airman, you’re the pilot of a top of the line aircraft called the “Eagle Claw”. It’s essentially shaped like a human hand giving the middle finger. Why? Because, well, it’s American and f*%k you. You’re tasked by Major Cigar (brilliantly voiced by Nolan North) to get rid of the Chinese that have taken over the Moon and rescue his daughter who was taken hostage. The Major may drink a bit too much and also may have an ulterior motive as well, but you don’t question his leadership!

Freedom Finger

John DiMaggio does a fantastic job as The Comrade.

I’m not used to a shoot ’em up having a story I give a damn about. Honestly, with this genre I tend to skip any scenes to get back to the bullet hell shooting. Thanks to the amazing cast and the hilarious writing, I was looking forward to the dialogue parts. That is not like me at all, but damn it if I was not entertained every time a story cutscene came on. Largely due to the fact that the voice cast here is just phenomenal and the comedic timing and gusto that Nolan North brings to Major Cigar is nothing short of amazing. John DiMaggio does extremely well, as you would expect, doing voice over for Comrade the Russian leader. But between Nolan North and Eric Bauza, I was dying laughing the whole game.

Luckily, the gameplay itself is no slouch in providing some solid shmup action. Solid, but fairly familiar is how I would describe it. There are some unique things, like being able to grab enemy ships and use their guns as your own. Or clench your fist and punch to do close quarter combat damage. I mean, your ship is a hand after all. There are only a couple “power-ups” if you can call them that. One gives you an over shield and the other only refills your life. I do wish they would have done more power-ups to pick up, but being able to grab enemy ships and use them offers bullet variety.

Freedom Finger

Vietnam ’69 is a good example of the variety the level designs can have.

What the stands out for me though, is how the gameplay incorporates the soundtrack. Each mission has a unique song and the way they programmed the levels to the beat, or solo, or chorus of the song, is incredible. It almost turns Freedom Finger into pseudo rhythm game, which I find refreshing. Even when a level has a particular song or genre I don’t typically care for, the way it mixes with the gameplay weirdly makes me appreciate the song.

The soundtrack is superb and since it is all licensed music, they do a good job curating a nice playlist. There is quite the variety as well ranging from metal, rock, pop, and more laid back jazzy songs. As I mentioned above, even when a song or genre comes on that I don’t even care for, the way it integrates and fits the level and gameplay really adds to the experience. As for the other sound effects, you have your typical laser and space ship sounds, but the focus here is the soundtrack.

Complimenting the extremely over the top comedy and premise of Freedom Finger is the art design. There is a clear style they’re going for and they nail it well. It’s a more simplified hand drawn cartoon look, but it is a great fit for the tone the title is striving for. It also allows them to get away with some very wacky designs and even play around with the theme of the levels even more. At one points it goes full 16-bit design for one theme.

Freedom Finger not only provides a solid base for its gameplay design, but then also hits you with some unique ideas. When you’re not laughing your ass off from the hilarious writing and superb voice acting, you’re rocking out to a fantastic soundtrack that incorporates itself into the gameplay. It may even hit you with a few moral decisions you may not see coming. Freedom Finger is the comedy shmup rhythm game that you have always wanted. Have you always wanted that? Well, now you will.

 

Graphics: 8.0

Extremely well designed hand drawn comic book art style that offers both simplistic fun and intense visual effects.

Gameplay: 8.0

Tight shoot ’em up gameplay with a unique mechanic that allows you to use enemy ships as weapons. I wish there was more variety in power ups to be collected other than health pack and shield.

Sound: 10

Nolan North as Cigar offers some legitimate laughs as well as fantastic voice acting along with John DiMaggio, Eric Bauza, and Sam Riegel. The soundtrack is also amazing.

Fun Factor: 8.5

The way the gameplay and levels are tied to the soundtrack makesĀ Freedom Finger a bit like a rhythm game. When everything is gelling and the gameplay kicks in with a solo, it is fantastic. Not all levels will impact you however.

Final Verdict: 8.5

Freedom Finger is available now on Switch, PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

Reviewed on Switch.

A copy of Freedom Finger was provided by the publisher.

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