A lot of games do the retro thing, but few really get it right. Freedom Planet is one of those games that manages it, nailing the look whilst also playing like an old game.
Freedom Planet takes its cue from Sonic 3, with huge sprawling levels, multiple characters with their own routes through. Even small details like how a wall will smash apart. That's not to say it's simply a reskin on Sonic, it's a mistake I think a few will make, but it's actually more of an action game than that. If we take Lilac as an example, while she does have a spin attack of sorts, and is clearly the Sonic of the game, she's also got low kicks and an uppercut, with her most useful move being a hovering whirlwind attack.
There's a plot to the game too, and while it does kind of boil down to 'bad guy has stolen the giant powerful emerald' it's actually much bigger, involving empires and politics. It's also fully voiced, and while that isn't always a good thing, it does mean some of the lines are delivered with a deadpan humour. The script occasionally throws up some cracking lines too. It's a bit of a shame then that there's moments where it felt like I'd missed something, that I was playing the sequel to a popular game that doesn't exist, or that there was a cut scene that had been skipped.
That slight rough edge is apparent in the gameplay too. I'm going to preface this next bit by saying the reason there's so much of it is because Freedom Planet gets so close to nailing it. If you compare Sonic, or Rocket Knight, or even Gunstar Heroes to Freedom Planet the thing that sticks out is how simple the combat is in those classic games. To kill an enemy in Sonic you bounce on his head or spin in to them. With Sparkster you hit them with your sword, and Gunstar you shoot them. There's a very definite solid feel, a line where you've definitely connected and bounce off. In Freedom Planet you almost pass through, with even basic enemies taking multiple hits. Maybe that's deliberate, but I'd take damage from it, and from the ever so slightly floaty controls, and it's something I don't think the best of the 16bit era would have done.
That all being said I've absolutely loved my time with Freedom Planet. The highest compliment I can pay it is that it feels like an old game, even down to the slightly too hard late game boss fights. It's also nice to see someone tap the Sega side of retro, something that doesn't happen enough for the tastes of the Bitparade writers. There are a few rough edges, like the mouse cursor staying on the screen, but it really is a fantastic game, pacey and packed. If you fall on to the Sega side of the great divide, I wholeheartedly recommend it