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Game Review: Freeblade

Developed By: PixelToys

Platform(s): Microsoft Windows, iOS, Android

Genre: On Rails Shooter



Image result for freeblade game

Freeblade is an on-rails shooter game, where you experience the awesome power of an Imperial Knight first hand! Carve and blast your way through hordes of Orks and Chaos Space Marines, taking on troops ranging from lowly Ork Boyz, all the way up to terrifying Khornate Lords of Skulls! Add in weapon customisation options, and the ability tailor your armoured behemoth’s appearance, and you’ve got quite a neat gateway into the world of Warhammer 40,000!


Before I go into any details here, I played this game on Android, so if your experience differs from mine that may be why!

So what does stepping into the cockpit of one of the most feared engines of destruction in the 41st millennium fell like? Satisfying as hell! For those initiated to the tabletop game, it’s probably accurate to say that your Freeblade (which you can name anything you want) is a Knight Warden? It is entirely possible that this is definitively specified in the game, but if it is I never came across it. He always has one melee weapon equipped, a knight ranged weapon (this is based on the knights that will have appeared in 7th edition, so no Preceptors here), a chest weapon, and a top carapace weapon.

Each weapon type has its own method of firing, which is actually a clever use of the device touch screen. You can single tap for the chest gun, double tap for the arm mounted weapon, and swipe two fingers (i’m not explaining that well, but the in game tutorial does) to activate the carapace weapon. These weapons all have various “management” methods. Your main gun (meltagun or heavy stubber) will almost always be “on”. You can mostly spray away with firepower, but if you use it too long consecutively, it will overheat and you’ll need to wait a brief period before using it again. Your arm mounted weapon has a limited number of “charges”, but these replenish over time, and are more destructive than your normal weapon. Finally (and it has to be said very unlike the tabletop game!), the carapace weapon can only be activated “every so often”, but when it does, it can quite literally clear the screen of enemies!

Combat works in a twofold manner in this game. Firstly, you shoot the imperial snot out of anything that moves. While that sounds simplistic, there is a small amount of resource management involved. Your basic gun is more and adequate to kill enemy infantry (and truth be told it can put the pain on other units too), but if your back is against the wall and a bunch of tanks roll around the corner, you might need to use something with more teeth, like your thermal cannon or ironstorm missile launcher. Its important to try and make sure that you don’t run out of ammo for the “big guns” at the crucial moment, because if you do that can quickly lead to your destruction. Additionally, some infantry units carry massive anti tank weapons that you’ll need to defend yourself against. A blue prompt will appear next to these units before they fire, and you’ll have a brief window to tap this prompt and rotate your ion shields to prevent the damage.

The other aspect of combat is when something suitably “menacing” approaches your imperial knight. The game does a great job of diversifying the “big bad” pool of enemies. This list is not completely exhaustive, but to name a few:

  • Gargantuan Squiggoth
  • Lord of Skulls
  • Gorkanauts
  • Deff Dreads

When such a creature pops up, you’ll see a red prompt, which you should press to engage it. Your knight will then charge into combat with the for, and you’ll enter a mini game of sorts.

A small bar will appear on the screen, with the cursor rapidly approaching the centre. You need to tap the screen, as close to the centre area as possible. If you hit, or get bang on the centre, you’ll deal damage to your adversary – but they will counter attack on you if you miss, so beware! The combat is really good fun, and when you defeat an enemy in melee, you can be assured that their demise will be suitably brutal, and in keeping with the grim dark themes of the 40k universe!

The missions in the game are broken down into Campaign missions and Patrols. Campaign missions progress the story, and completing these will take you deeper into the game. As you complete missions, you can earn completion medals. These are earned for getting a higher score. Higher scores can be eared by maintaining killstreaks, which build scoring multipliers. The missions have some variance, but mostly involve combat or destroying a specific enemy. You will occasionally be tasked with defending a key structure or unit.

At a certain point in the game, you will also need to acquire Patrol medals to continue. These are missions which take a few hours to replenish every time you complete them, and they reuse the same maps upon which you fought your campaign missions.  Replaying these missions isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because you gain Ore (used for crafting new weapons), and experience, which is important for improving your Knights health, and also unlocking new paint schemes and acquiring gold.

The last major aspect of the game is the forge, and the associated weapon load-outs that can be constructed with it. As you progress through the game you will undoubtedly pick up equipment rewards, but the best way to get the best gear is to use the forge.

In the forge, you can put unused equipment into slots, and combine this with ore in order to get a new piece of wargear. This becomes an important process later in the game, as each item of wargear has a rating, which adds up to give your knight an overall power rating. Certain missions can only be accessed once your knight has reached a sufficient level of power. Weapons all function the same way in the game, but their presentation is very cool – seeing an avenger gatling cannon rip through a horde is a different experience to watching a thermal cannon reduce a tank to molten slag.

One final note that I would add – this game is a little heavy handed on micro-transactions. You will be prompted often to get upgrades that speed along your forging processes (or even recover your freeblade’s energy, and allow you to play more missions more quickly). You can get by without this though. If you are patient, and aren’t in a hurry to beat the game, you can definitely do so without running into the pay wall. Always keep an eye out for freebies and deals. You can also send a daily patrol down to the planet, which will bring you random rewards for free.


For an on-rails shooter with micro-transactions, the story here is actually fairly good (if a little predictable for a 40k themed game). You play a newly risen Imperial Knight, who’s homeworld of Tarnis suffers a huge invasion by Chaos forces immediately after the Ritual of Becoming. Waking up to find the planet in Chaos, the Freeblade helps repel the attack, before being overwhelmed by Chaos forces. In the aftermath, the freeblade finds itself aboard the Fist of Caliban, a Dark Angels cruiser, with the chapter in tow. I will of course, refrain from making jokes about finding the Dark Angels so close to a chaos invasion!

The freeblade joins with the Dark Angels in leading missions into the planet. Firstly encountering orks by the drove, and coming across many of their gargantuan war machines. As is often the case though, our heroes soon determine that the greenskins are not the true foe, and that there is altogether something more sinister going on.

I won’t go into the full story, but it definitely works well in bringing together the entire theme of the game. Other little touches are so great too – the array of enemies on display is very impressive. I’d be fairly confident in saying that at the time of the game’s creation, that both Chaos and Ork forces are almost on display in completion in this game. And of course, they are all looking sharp and easily identifiable with their model counterparts.

The dialogue also works well, with the commanding Dark Angels providing an authoritative presence guiding the player. The orks as well are always good value for a laugh, coming up with some choice insults for the player to enjoy too. Overall the characterisation of the game is strong, and the immersion inside the world of 40k is highly impressive.

The last thing that I want to touch on in this review is the very impressive paint and customisation system. Again, this is based on time of creation, but you can essentially use the wide array of Games Workshop paints to design and develop your Freeblade in any way that you see fit.

Many paints and colours need to be unlocked, but you can achieve a great amount of detail with what is available. There is also a really good range of heraldry available too, which can be applied to shields, armour and shoulders. This is also a great tool for those players who maybe want to use this game as a sort of colour designer for their actual Imperial Knights. Certainly at least in my case, I found this to be a fun experience, and certainly helped me when I went to start painting my own imperial knights.


Freeblade is a great game to pick up and put down for mobile gamers. The action is intense, fun, and the feeling of laying waste to your enemies with a powerful walking engine of destruction is insanely cool. Customising your Knight to the way you want it is fun, and wading through hordes of heretics and xenos has never been so effortless.

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