We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Games software Reviews
15,650 Reviews

Freakyforms: Your Creations, Alive! review

£5.99

Manufacturer: Nintendo

Our Rating: We rate this 3 out of 5

Crafting creatures is rewarding, but Freakyforms: Your Creation, Alive! fails to put your kooky constructions to good use.

When I was a kid I was obsessed with monsters. I drew them with crayon, sculpted them out of Play-Doh, and constructed them out of Legos. The results were crude, but they lived on in my dreams, where they weren't confined to inanimate states. My eight year-old self would have been infatuated by Freakyforms: Your Creations, Alive!, a game that lets you design your own creatures, then take control of them as they explore a world filled with even more bizarre beasts. Unfortunately, my 28 year-old self realises that perhaps these monstrosities were better left to my imagination.

You start out playing virtual Mr. Potato-Head in a simple character creator, like a stripped-down Spore. Heads and torsos are comprised of basic shapes, but these needn't be used in the intended ways. Just because a shape is found under the "head" category doesn't mean it can't be multiplied and adorned around a torso. Certain parts add unique properties, like wings that grant flight or wheels that allow quick horizontal traversal, but the possibilities are so endless that these functions seldom impede the creative process. After designing a creature (called a "formee"), you must characterise them further by assigning a name, a short catch phrase, and a gibberish voice.

Once manifested, you take control of them and explore a relatively small 2D map populated by other formees (both ones that you've made and preset characters). Eventually you unlock the ability to further personalise your environment by manipulating various art assets from the background, to houses, to trees. The DNA of Animal Crossing and Chibi-Robo is apparent with much of the fun emanating from what outlandish new critters you'll discover in your crazy freak town.

Unfortunately, Freakyforms lacks the robust scripts that gave those games so much character. The cast may look neat and animate beautifully, but they're defined entirely by their design and the tone of their garbled mumble-speak. They don't tell stories or gossip, making character interaction disappointingly shallow.

A shame, as aside from discovering new formees, there's little to do in this part of the game besides collect coins, find treasure, and eat fruit. Other characters will give quests, but these all resort to running around the map retrieving the same clutter you'd be collecting anyway. Since the maps are small, you're rarely covering new ground, but rather retreading the same terrain picking up randomised objects. This soon turns into rote grinding to unlock more assets in the creation aspect.

Freakyforms: Your Creations Alive!

Being able to share creations and photos of your quirky customised realm via StreetPass is appreciated, but you can't visit other people's worlds, which is a disappointment.

Elsewhere, controls are fiddly. On the editing side there's no "undo" button and it's all too easy to accidentally drag a head when you meant to merely scoot the eye a few pixels. Layers are predetermined and it takes trial and error to determine what parts will show up in front of others. On the exploration end, the stylus-only controls make characters walk slowly, while jumping is handled by pulling back on a formee's body then flinging it as if from a slingshot. It's a much quicker way to get around, but imprecise.

Freakyforms: Your Creations, Alive! Expert Verdict »
Available for Nintendo 3DS only
purchased via Nintendo eShop.
  • Overall: We give this item 6 of 10 overall

Ultimately, Freakyforms is a game of two halves. Playing mad scientist in the creature creator is fun and it's a great reward seeing your monsters come to life. The problem comes from what to do next. I know that when I was a boy, I envisioned my legion of monsters doing a lot more than gathering knick knacks.

There are currently no price comparisons for this product.
  • Darkspore review

    Darkspore

    Hack 'n' slash your way through Darkspore, an outer space dungeon crawler from Spore developer Maxis, which combines that game's stellar character customisation but none of its humour or innovation.

  • Spore review

    Spore

    Spore is a much-vaunted PC game from the inventor of The Sims that is simply immense.

  • Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup review

    Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup

    Free RPG Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup is one of a class of games known as roguelikes, after Rogue, the first such game. The ancient legacy is apparent. Although this open-source game has a graphics mode, it can also be played in straight ASCII, where your character is an "@" and the monsters are various letters or symbols. The "tiled mode" provides simple 2-D graphics.

  • Rogue Legacy review

    Rogue Legacy

    Death is in the family

  • Monster Life

    Monster Life

    Monster Life is a charming free game for iPhone, iPad and Google Android. Here's our Monster Life for iOS review.


IDG UK Sites

Windows 9 release date, price, features: Microsoft teases new OS ahead of 30 September unveiling

IDG UK Sites

From the iPhone 6 to the iWatch and a new Apple TV we look at the products Apple is set to launch...

IDG UK Sites

September 2014 creative trends: 5 things you must see

IDG UK Sites

What to expect from Apple in autumn/winter 2014: iPhone 6, iPhone Air, iWatch, iPad 6, new Apple...