Created by Chibi-Robo co-director Hiroshi Moriyama, Freakyforms shares two similarities. One, character voices have that same distinct style that sounds like human speech distorted and garbled up. Two, a randomly generated steel pan will occasionally fall on your head for no reason whatsoever. Neither of those details is important, but they do offer an idea of the intended tone. This is a game where lots of things happen, but rarely with much of a point.
More specifically, Freakyforms is a game of user-generated content. You design your own creatures, called Formees, in what has to be one of the most simple yet flexible editors we’ve seen. You just drag and drop shapes together and can make a functioning character in about 30 seconds. They might not look that great but that’s half the fun, as you take them out into the world and watch their stupid spindly legs struggle with the environment or their googly eyes bounce around as you stretch and flick them through the air like an elastic band. Like all good games, it’s fun to move them around the world even before you concentrate on a goal.
Which is probably for the best, as the goals themselves are pretty flimsy. You get about 300 seconds to explore the world at any one time, looking for coins, helping out previously made Formees or searching for new body parts to use. The more you play the more you unlock, and the world expands before you, widening its horizons and populating itself with houses, trees, clouds… All of which can be customised in the editor. Yet with no real end in sight, players are expected to either try to collect as many body parts as possible so they can create and share ever sillier Formees or just live in the moment, enjoying the daft things that happen in the world. Randomly falling steel pans, or the eggs you collect and crack open, or the way your character will occasionally do a golden poo for no reason… They all contribute to the whimsy.
New to this Deluxe incarnation is the addition of light RPG elements; dungeons which players can venture into to bring back more content for the editor. Sadly, all battles are automatic but character stats are based on the design of your Formee, giving further impetus to experiment with designs. While the addition of equippable special powers (some useful, some just silly) enhance both dungeon crawling and creature design.
There’s no denying the dungeons are a minor addition, however, so anyone who owns the original 3DSWare release may not see the value in upgrading. Everyone else, you’ll need to still have that childlike sense of play and a certain ability to make your own fun – or at least some children of your own – to get the most out of this.
As a special treat, here’s a QR code for the Chibi-Robo Formee we made. Alternatively, if you’d like some insanely professional Formees then check out these QR Codes from the best Freakyforms players in Japan.