Are you all locked up, with nowhere to go? Looking for some challenges outside of blasting demons from Hell or helping a tycoon raccoon fund his own island paradise? Perhaps Freedom Finger can entice you with its own form of hell…bullets. After spending some time on other platforms, the side-scrolling shooter mixed with music has made its way home to the PlayStation 4, and after rocking out with it for a while, we have our thoughts composed in our Freedom Finger PS4 review.
Freedom Finger Review – Non-Radioactive Ray
The player is given control of a starship pilot named Gamma Ray whose ship is in the shape of a giant hand giving the middle finger at all times. Major Cigar, a cigar-smoking military officer who also carries an additional cigar in his left hand at all times, has tasked Gamma Ray with an important mission of freeing lunar scientists who have apparently been taken hostage by Chinese terrorists. Not all is as it seems, of course, and thus Gamma Ray sets off on a quest that has more story than one might assume by looking at gameplay trailers of Freedom Finger.
Freedom Finger’s voice cast is a lot more high-profile than the game’s simplistic style might cause one to assume. There’s John DiMaggio (Futurama, Adventure Time, Gears of War, Destiny 2, Disenchantment, Final Fantasy VII Remake, the guy gets around), Sam Riegel (Critical Role), Eric Bauza (Rick & Morty), and, of course, who could forget Nolan North (Uncharted, probably easier to list the games he’s not in)? Much like some of the shows, games, and series that those actors star in, there is a LOT of adult content crammed into this innocuous-looking adventure. Between the cigar-toting, beer-downing, communist-hating major, and other adults thrust into a dangerous situation, there is a lot of swearing, drug references, innuendo—you name it, the offensive material you’re looking for is probably in here.
Freedom Finger Review – Rock Out
The whole game may also be treated as a music album of sorts. Each level lasts exactly as long as the song which plays during it, and not a second longer. There’s a wide range of genres represented here, featuring groups I have never heard of, but perhaps you may have. Red Fang, METZ, Com Truise (though sadly not San Holo), White Fence, Ty Segall, and many more. There are 40 levels in total, so that is a lot of music included in Freedom Finger.
Graphically, Freedom Finger sports a hand-drawn look to it. A wide color palette is used, and players will travel the farthest reaches of outer space, along with some more esoteric locations like the inside of some sort of creature as the ship is transformed into a micro-organism of sorts. Unfortunately, even on the PS4 Pro, the game’s frame rate appears to be capped at 30, which is a shame because things would look so much better at a higher frame rate. It’s not a dealbreaker, but considering there is hardly any slow down when the screen is full of bullets, it could have looked smoother.
Gameplay consists of a typical side-scrolling bullet hell game, apart from the spaceship. Pressing or holding the cross button will fire a basic weapon, and there are no traditional powerups besides an occasional shield or health pickup. Players can, however, grab nearly any enemy by pressing L2. This captures the enemy and allows the player to fire whatever weapon that enemy possesses. Once they’re bored of this enemy, or a better one comes along, the captured enemy can be thrown at others to inflict a decent chunk of damage. This is a great tactic to use when many enemies are coming in both high and low, as anything hit by a thrown enemy will continue to fall backwards, adding to a possible cascade of increasing damage. Alternatively, players can also punch and even uppercut for a more direct approach to surviving. The spaceship is a hand, after all.
Freedom Finger PS4 Review - Middle Finger Salute (PS4) | PSLS
Freedom Finger Review – Tweak Your Knobs
As far as side-scrollers go, Freedom Finger presents plenty of challenge at its default difficulty level. A lot of players may have issues completing it at the “Normie” level. If that’s the case, there are options to ratchet the difficulty up or down, which even includes unlimited health. There are no trophies related to completing the campaign on a certain difficulty level, either. Instead, the various options and sliders modify the points you can earn. Infinite health will include an 80% points penalty, for instance, while playing on one-hit death will add an extra points multiplier. This is a great compromise, especially for trophy hunters who might not be the best at bullet hell games, while still rewarding those who can master the challenge. An arcade mode is available for anyone who wishes to replay a level until they perfect its rhythm, as they aim to achieve the top spot in the leaderboard. There is also something called a “Blizzard” mode, which converts the game into… Well, this level of trolling is best reserved for people to experience directly, so we won’t spoil it here.
Freedom Finger is an amusing side-scrolling shooter with a challenge available for those who want it, and gameplay accessibility for those who’d rather not get frustrated with some of the later levels’ difficulty. The story is ridiculous, but that’s part of the appeal. The stellar voice cast helps to elevate the jokes to another level, and while the timing given certain world events mean having the enemy as the Chinese might upset some, the whole thing is ultimately a ribbing at the military-industrial complex that the United States finds itself in control of. Enough of that though. Time to blast some space terrorists for the low, low price of $14.95!
Freedom Finger review code provided by publisher. Version 1.02 reviewed on a PS4 Pro. For more information on scoring please see our Review Policy.