Ever since the first Mirror’s Edge game, I have been waiting for the next amazing first-person platformer. The Free Ones here does manage to do a few things right and in a way scratches that first-person platforming itch. However, the whole thing feels like it needed a few more months of work to be something truly special.
How to Download The Free Ones
You can download the game from Steam. To do that, click on the Download button that is located below this review.
The Game Review
My first big issue with The Free Ones is the story. The story has an interesting premise, you are a prisoner called Theo who is forced to work in this mine, one day you meet up with a girl called Lana and you decide that you are going to escape. As a premise, I can get behind that and it certainly piqued my interest.
The thing is, the story never gets beyond that. Who are these people that imprisoned you? What is this island you are trapped on? Those are two pretty basic questions that never get answered during the story’s roughly 3-hour runtime. As a result, it made it very hard for me to actually care about what was going on.
Of course, if the gameplay is great then this can more than make up for a story that is lacking. This is a first-person platformer with a really cool gimmick and that gimmick is that you can use a grappling hook! This grappling hook can be attached to any wooden object in the game world and you use it to drag yourself along and make big jumps.
This feels fantastic and it works very well. To stop it from being too easy, you are limited to how many times you can use it before you need to land. There are no enemies in the game and the only way you die is by falling into the abyss. Each level has its own theme and you will be tasked with doing things like turning on the power or riding along the roof of a train.
As well as completing each level if you want to really test your skills, you can collect the flags in each area which are the collectibles. These often require much more skill and precision with the grappling hook and your platforming and can be really exciting when you manage to finally grab one.
I liked the art style of the game; it takes place at night which is explained as a reason for there being no one else around. The island is a pretty cool playground and you move at a quick pace and I never once encountered any kind of performance issue. The sound design is also pretty solid with Theo and Lana having decent voice acting.
While The Free Ones may not be the new Mirror’s Edge-style game that I was hoping it would be. I think for a rather low-budget indie title, it has a lot of good things going for it. The gameplay is fun and exciting, but I just wish the story was more fleshed out to get me more attached to what it is I am doing.
- The platforming feels good
- Using the grappling hook is a ton of fun
- The premise of the game is very interesting
- I liked the island setting
- The game is quite generous with the checkpoints
- The story is very, very lacking
- Getting some of the flags can be very frustrating