As a creative tool, Freakyforms is a triumph. An expansion of Nintendo’s Mii channel palette, it offers a healthy variety of ways to assemble, shape and rearrange the creatures, or Formees, you’re encouraged to design. The more you birth, the greater the catalogue of parts you can choose from – and as your menagerie expands, so too does the simplistic cartoon world they inhabit. Gradually, new visitors arrive – either provided in-game or via StreetPass – to offer an even wider selection of assets. Continue building and further options unlock, allowing you to take and send photos, scan or swap AR codes, and more besides.
Sadly, having mastered the ‘create’ and ‘share’ parts of the LittleBigPlanet template, developer Asobism Co. stumbles when it’s time to play. Once the amusement of seeing your creation lollop awkwardly around the environment has worn off, you’re left with little more than a series of fetch quests and races. A typically solid Nintendo localisation enlivens the otherwise sparse dialogue with other Formees, but it can’t do anything to make the objectives more interesting. Still, with a steady flow of new body parts, the rewards almost make the busywork worthwhile. Outside these optional activities, its rather shapeless approach is reminiscent of Keita Takahashi’s Noby Noby Boy, not least because the early game limits your activities to eating and excreting.
While rationing exploration seems sensible given the simplicity of its tasks, the time limit is far too strict, particularly in light of the stylus-only control setup, an unnecessarily idiosyncratic piece of design that prizes slapstick drag-and-release propulsion over effective lateral movement. The addition of wings, meanwhile, makes a mockery of platforming: why attempt tricky jumps when you can simply fly to your destination? A fleeting novelty, then, but given the paucity of quality on Nintendo’s online store, 3DS owners should find this a pleasant, if shallow, diversion from the more fulfilling fare recently provided by a certain plumber.