FreezeME is very good at tugging on those nostalgia heart strings. Indeed, this 3D platformer looks and feels like the classic N64 platformers of yore. However, some of the nostalgia comes from its lack of polish, and the constant battle between its flaws and its strengths threatens to undo the fun.
You play as R, a young girl with a magic camera capable of freezing objects and enemies. Your dog M has been dog-napped by the evil Fat the Cat, who has a dream of a dog-free world. It’s up to you to adventure through multiple magical worlds, defeating bosses and overcoming all manner of platforming challenges, to acquire magic cubes before finally facing off against Fat the Cat.
It’s a fairly original but uninspired story, and one that proves little more than a flimsy framing device to give you an excuse to explore multiple locations through 3D platforming. However, FreezeME’s originality ends there, from there on out it’s almost a clone of Super Mario 64.
From the protagonist’s moveset and animations, to the level design and sound effects, every inch of FreezeME is in homage to Super Mario 64. And it’s unashamed of this, with graffiti occasionally hinting at the Nintendo mascot’s disapproval at such blatant copying. This does however, mean that behind the bright, saturated colours, plinky plonky music, amusing pig NPCs and simple monster enemies, is the potential for a well-built 3D platformer, and indeed FreezeME is well-built.
Each location is full to the brim with things to see and do, with multiple objectives for each location dished out to facilitate your collection of magic cubes – along with short cut scenes pointing you in the right direction after each one. It’s cleverly and meticulously designed to provide a lot of distracting and fun platforming amongst the primary challenge of securing these cubes.
Floating platforms that require some precision and well timed jumps to conquer, as well as moving platforms that your freeze ability allows you to traverse, provide some casual jumping puzzles that are challenging enough to engage your grey matter without becoming too frustrating. Meanwhile, the pig citizens of the world have some objectives for you, such as racing through checkpoints, fetching items, or talking to other pigs. There’s plenty to do in each location and it’s fun to tackle them.
However, FreezeME is plagued by the same issues that the early 3D platformers suffered. The camera likes to fight, which hurts your accuracy when moving around and platforming. Additionally, R’s movement isn’t the most responsive, further hurting precision. Largely these issues can be overcome with some patience but the same can’t be said for the following. The detection boxes around platforms and objects is a little hit or miss, meaning sometimes you’ll fall through, fail to grab and pull yourself up, or get temporarily stuck. Furthermore, an on-screen text manual is your only tutorial and it takes some trial and error to figure it all out.
One of the few original ideas here, the magic camera for freezing things, is unfortunately underutilised. Meanwhile, the boss fights for each world are boring, unimaginative and easy, with many of them only featuring small variations on the same design. Certainly FreezeME’s strengths lie in its complex and intriguing level design, and that is a joy to explore, when the mechanics work as intended.
Indeed, FreezeME’s mimicry of Super Mario 64 is a bit on the nose, but it does at least share that title’s impressive level design and sense of wonder. The rest of the pack is a little inconsistent, and that can make what would otherwise be an enjoyable platformer feel a little too loose and under baked. However, this genre is a rare sight these days and FreezeME is a good attempt to bringing it back.
Thanks to Xbox and Rainy Night Creations for supporting TiX