Freakyforms Deluxe: Your Creations, Alive!
25th Aug 2012 | 14:00
Show a kid a book and if you're a bad enough parent they'll look at you bemused. Freakyforms is counting on you being a bad parent. Asobism's creature-creator-cum-platformer is like a kids doodling pad, the kind you give them in the dentist's waiting room and wish it was socially acceptable for adults to use crayons, but with one key difference - the doodles come to life. Just like they do when the dentist's too generous with the morphine.
Using basic geometric shapes you'll construct six-legged bears, winged chimps or, if you're annoyingly talented, cthulhu, then use your Formee to run, jump and chomp through the 2D stages. At first it's limited, allowing only a handful of circles and triangles to build that majestic creation in your head that on screen looks more like a collapsed Jenga tower.
But as you play, you'll unlock arms and legs and wings and eyes, bringing your nursery-floor standard creations to life. Dozens of gobbledygook voices and a pitch meter give it CBBC-calibre charm, allowing the creation of nervous pigs or angry dogs ranting in falsetto. To unlock more shapes, however, you'll actually need to play the game, and this is where Freakyforms falls flat.
The control scheme borrows from the first Scribblenauts - the one before the sequel fixed the controls - dismissing the existence of the circle pad and face buttons entirely and forcing you to use jerky stylus flicks to jump, and unresponsive slides to walk left and right. It's novel enough to mess around, with but unequivocally the wrong toolset to give players asked to cross chasms, jump between floating platforms and make constant leaps of faith.
Despite poor controls and barren levels, objectives are varied enough - seek out apparel, get an apple for a hungry friend, and there's gross-out humour aimed squarely at under-tens. Sometimes globs of spit fly at the screen, and eating too much makes your character lay a big old golden, erm, turd.
AR codes, which let you project custom-made landscapes and Formee's onto your bedroom, along with a QR code generator that allows the import of your friend's monsters are nice ideas but wafer-thin in terms of lengthening a game where ideas run out the moment your creature gathers sentience. Creating an arachnid owl is the fun part - struggling over blocky scenery with boring backgrounds, not so much.