Also On: PC, Wii U
Publisher: Rainy Night Creations
Developer: Rainy Night Creations
I'm not going to say that FreezeMe is the worst game of the year, because that's simply not true. By any measure, Energy Hook has that title sewn up pretty easily, and nothing is going to touch it.
FreezeMe shouldn't get too cocky, though, because it's not all that far behind. In literally every respect imaginable, it's horrible.
The problems are pretty evident right from the get-go, too. Turn on FreezeMe, and you're immediately assaulted by a hideously oversaturated landscape. I don't have a problem with vivid colours — after all, one of the first things I do when playing any game is go to the settings menu and crank up the brightness levels — but everything here just looks unnaturally loud. It's an affront to anyone with working eyes…which is appropriate, because everything else about this game is an affront in one way or another.
Once your eyes stop feeling like they're about to bleed, you'll quickly discover the second sign that FreezeMe may not have had the best quality control: it has a weird Tendency to randomly Capitalize words in the Middle of sentences for No apparent Reason. Whether we're talking about the plot, which is conveyed via little captions, or instructions, which you stumble across as you begin the game, everything reads as if it was pushed through an earlier, crappier version of Google Translate, and then rewritten by someone who just really loved capital letters.
I'd say this isn't the worst thing in the world, seeing as weird translations have been with video games almost from their inception, but here it's a sign of a deeper problem: the text often doesn't make any sense. I'm not sure if Rainy Night Creations were going for Alice in Wonderland-style whimsy, but time after time, I'd stop to read signs and come away feeling like I knew even less than before. The game is full of incomprehensible explanations, which means that, frequently, FreezeMe will tell you to do something even though it hasn't explained how it's possible to do it. An optimist may look at that and say something about the joy of discovery and learning by doing, but there's nothing here that should make you give this game that kind of benefit of the doubt.
Of course, lousy visuals and incomprehensible text are just a precursor to uncovering FreezeMe's deeper problems: literally everything else about it.
I know that's a pretty massive generalization, but there's so much awfulness going on here, it's hard to know where to begin. You'll constantly find yourself fighting with the camera and the controls. For the former, you have to deal with random, jerky movements that have no relation to what you're trying to do; coincidentally, that's the gist of my complaint for the latter, too. I lost track of the number of times the camera would reset itself in some absolutely useless position, and I have no idea why a default camera spot would be the top of the main character's head, or from behind her knees.
That said, no matter how annoying moving the camera may be, it has nothing on how annoying it is to move your character. There's absolutely zero fluidity to how she walks, runs or jumps. There doesn't seem to be any universal set of rules dictating when she can run or jump or climb in a straight line, and when she can't. It was pretty much a given that if I jumped on or towards someplace the game didn't want me going, I'd immediately freeze in midair, and then glide, frozen, to the ground in a different direction. I got stuck in spots multiple times, forcing me to reset the levels I was in, and once I turned a corner and suddenly found myself falling through nothingness. And it should go without saying that swimming levels here are basically impossible.
I really wish that I could say something positive about FreezeMe. I think it was created with the best of intentions by a studio with fond memories of the first generation of 3D platformers like Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie. Unfortunately, at best, it replicates some of the more disastrous early attempts at 3D platformers. It's a broken, terrible, incomprehensible mess of a game, and under no circumstances should anyone buy it.