It’s hard to tell what the wackiest component of Freedom Finger is – the fact it’s a hardcore shooter wrapped around the concept of a hand-shaped spaceship with a middle finger; the fact it has political themes featuring an all-star cast like Nolan North and John DiMaggio; or the fact it has one of the most unique soundtracks in history while you, ahem, finger away (?) at enemies. Whatever. It all wraps up into a unique experience that you just don’t see in shooters these days, and that’s why you should check it out.
Wide Right Games previously made the game available on PC and Nintendo Switch, but today it makes its debut on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, nicely expanding its audience even further. The plotline is a bit on the ridiculous side, but you’re basically fighting for Uncle Sam as you liberate against enemies in space, including pesky Russians and more. It’s a bit over the top, and some may find the dialogue a little ham-handed (like, um, real politicians, maybe), but there’s no denying that the game’s addictive shooting is what counts.
Freedom Finger definitely falls into the “bullet hell” category, as you’ll have to avoid incoming enemy attacks while shooting away with a variety of weapons. But Wide Right Games has a very unique concept here with your ship being shaped like a hand. Along with being able to basically “flip off” enemies with bullets, you can also grab them and use their firepower against their own teammates, including a spread gun, a shotgun and more. It just depends on what you grab. On top of that, you can also punch your way through objects and opponents, if they’re close enough.
What’s more, this is a more expansive experience with additional stages, new music tracks (we’ll get to the soundtrack in a sec), a new arcade mode that’s fun if you wish to avoid the story and an optional God mode – in case you’re feeling superior. You can also censor all the dirty words and gestures if you want, should a young one want to check the game out. It’s all tied into the main game quite beautifully, making it more worth playing.
The gameplay is challenging, especially in the later levels. But anyone who’s taken a novel approach to “shmups” will be right at home with what it has to offer. It’s definitely something special, and unique in a genre like this. Be prepared to die a few times, but also have a great deal of fun along the way.
As for presentation, the hand-drawn visuals are a nice touch, and it’s good to see some variety in the backdrops and scenarios that your hand gets dropped into. But the real treat here is the audio. Between top-notch voice work by North, DiMaggio, and company, you really get a kick out of the characters, even if they are a bit one-note. And that soundtrack. Wow. Packing tunes from METZ, Power Trip, Aesop Rock, and others, it provides a diverse set of music you just don’t hear in a game like this. It’s refreshing – and very damn good.
While Freedom Finger isn’t likely to appeal to everyone – its political overtones can be a bit much, along with its difficulty settings – it’s a blast for those that invest. The graphics and audio are really something, the gameplay has tremendous value, and the extra goodies are worth checking out. If anyone gives you any guff over adding this game to your digital library, don’t let it get you down. Just give them the bird.