i’ve been playing freakyforms: your creations, alive!, for 3DSware, for a while now, so thought this would be a good time to stop and collect my thoughts on it. (as you may know the game received a retail release in an expanded “deluxe” version a year after its eshop release. the retail version has some enhancements including more body parts for your creations but its core gameplay is still the same.) the game’s concept is simple: make an armada of zany creatures, called formees, using the easy-to-use creation tools. the interface for the tools is much like that of mii maker and, naturally, as a result equally intuitive. there’s a huge variety of body parts to use (including unlockable accessories such as a sword, a scarf, and different types of hats), so much so that you’re really only limited by your imagination. the creation tools can get a little finicky when moving small parts around on the original 3DS’s screen, but would have no such problems on the larger screen of the 3DS XL. it can also be a little hard to get certain pieces to overlap exactly the way you want them to, and a global zoom and pan feature would have been helpful, but those are relatively minor gripes. you’re also called on to modify the environments with the same set of creation tools.
the game really emphasizes the creation aspect, so much so that a common complaint from reviewers is that the action segments feel fairly bare. these segments, which you can play whenever you want and are timed, give you a chance to play with any of your creations, navigating them through a simple stage and executing simple animal crossing-like requests, such as making a delivery or eating a certain number of fruits. successful completion may unlock in-game characters with new parts, or new accessories. i didn’t mind the repetitive nature of these quests, since they’re a fairly innocuous way to unlock new parts and give you the chance to see your creations actually moving around. i also didn’t have a problem with the touchscreen controls for this part of the game, although they do take a bit of getting used to.
the game further focuses on the creation aspects by tying the ability to unlock other areas of the game beyond the first area to making more creatures. creations with wings generally have an advantage since they can move wherever they want (except for the water stage in which case fins are of course the better option) and the game subtly encourages you to make creations that fit the area you’re going to be playing in by giving you the chance to unlock characters with similarly useful attributes (for example, fins for swimming, wheels for driving up and down roads). but otherwise there really isn’t much limiting your freedom to experiment. each area features a few new types of quests and new types of pieces of the environment to modify, which help to extend the experience.
rounding out the package are QR and streetpass features that provide nice ways to share creations with others, and a mildly diverting AR code feature where you can take diorama-esque 3D photos of your creations. there’s also a “mission” mode in which you try to recreate a formee from an outline, and you can also rearrange parts from an existing formee, much like taking a lego model apart and rejoining the pieces into a completely new configuration. there are also some trophies to earn to help keep you motivated.
despite the experience being quite enjoyable in general, i’m personally not that taken with games that are so focused on creativity. the creation tools are robust, but the concept gets spread a bit thin since you have to churn out so many formees to progress. i’m curious about the features in the deluxe version, but completely balk at the thought of having to create so many more new formees. the original eshop version received an update so that it can read QR codes from the deluxe version, although you can’t edit or play with the newer formees, just look at them and trade them through streetpass. all in all, a perfectly enjoyable release for $7, and for creative types probably worth getting for the $20 retail release as well.
unleash your inner dr. frankenstein with these freakyforms links:
– official site for the deluxe version
– iwata asks video interview
– glowing review at officialnintendomagazine.co.uk and contrasting review at nintendolife.com
– it’s not too hard to find QR codes to scan for the game. this forum thread at neogaf has a lot of fun ones, and there are some good ones at this tinycartridge.com post.
– here are some QR codes for ones i’ve come across that i particularly liked: iwata | king | game boy | purple pikmin | toon link | two-headed guy | rollerpig | totoro | tingle | random monster
– nintendo of america has put out a lot of QR codes for the game via facebook and twitter. here are the ones that are compatible with the original game: bat | horse | frog | vehicle | crabbot
– entry at wikipedia