So I just played the demo to this little indie game called Freedom Planet. The thing is, it’s so Sonic the Hedgehog that it hurts just. The character designs, the level designs, and the mechanics are all pretty much lifted straight from the genesis days of Sonic. Heck, I think Planet Freedom was the name of the planet in the Sonic the Hedgehog movie.
So I’ll say this about the demo that you can check out right here, it’s fun. I had a blast and they really have shown that they understand old-school game design. I guess that’s where the problem lies to. This game isn’t very original. It makes some tweaks here and there but it otherwise strictly follows a “How to make a Sonic the Hedghehog” book. The playable character in the demo does have a unique ability that is charged up by running, and it’s kind of like Sonic’s homing attack on steroids since it propels you through the air and lets you ricochet off surfaces. So if there is one tweak that is noticeably different.
I wouldn’t have problem with this game ethically if their FAQ didn’t have this:
“Q: Isn’t this just Sonic the Hedgehog with different graphics?
A: Because Freedom Planet is a high-speed platformer, it will inevitably have many things in common with Sonic the Hedgehog, but they are not the same thing. While both games share similar physics and character designs, we take it in a completely new direction.
As a matter of fact, Freedom Planet is not the first commercial game to be inspired by Sonic! During the 1990′s, many other games tried to put their own spin on the concept, such as Bubsy, Aero the Acrobat, Socket: Time Dominator, Jazz Jackrabbit, and more.
If you are still skeptical about the game being little more than a Sonic clone, then I encourage you to play the demo for yourself and see how the differences outshine the similarities.”
Sorry, you can’t hide this kind of plagiarism from me. Even if the game mechanics pass the “inspired by” test, the character designs do not. They are pretty much Sonic fan art and after playing the demo, yeah, I was pretty much saying that this is a Sonic clone that has such minor, minor differences (like how health is dealt with) that they don’t make a difference.
But don’t get me wrong. This isn’t a cheap-knock off. This is professional level plagiarism, the kind where as long as they don’t sell it you could still have a blast.