PlayStation’s Playlink experiment continues into 2018, with its new release, Frantics. With other games regularly being compared to superior versions, the question remains, is this one worth checking out?
Frantics is a collection of mini-games, that are surprisingly varied. Because of this, the games use your phone in different ways. For some of them, you need to use the phone’s gyroscope to move around, and other games use digital buttons to control your character. Gyroscope controls can be a pain to control, but thanks to the short nature of the matches, they don’t last long enough to get annoying.
Each game is based around four players, but you don’t need to fret if you don’t have more than 1 friend because it will fill out the lobby with AI characters to make each game playable. The AI comes in a varying level of competencies, sometimes they got thumped comfortably, but other games they blitzed me and another player.
Each player picks an animal as their character before getting started. The animals are designed in weird and twisted ways, almost in a Claymation style, but the creator was a little bit twisted. This gives the game an interesting aesthetic, but the giraffe looks like it’s about to be sick, thanks to a section of purple in the middle of its face.
Because there are 15 individual mini-games, I won’t list the lot but will explain some to give a gist of how it works. Heavy Metal is a small Hungry Hungry Hippos meets football game, where you need to get the ball in the other people’s nets. You all start with three points and can lose points when you concede goals. Instead of shooting you run into the ball, or stomp, which makes it chaotic and surprisingly fun, but the gyroscope controls can be frustrating at times.
Mix in Hot Rod Heroes, which is basically a physics game, where all you do is control the acceleration on your car and need to make it to the bottom of a bumpy hill first. Accelerating too fast can launch you off a jump and tip you over, but too slow and you’ll lose. Between rounds it lets you attach disadvantageous upgrades to your opponent’s cars.
Chari Riots is a mix of mini-golf and curling, where you need to fire your animal around a course and try to land as close to the centre of the rings at the end. Before starting you place traps to try to fling your opponent’s off the board. Using the touch screen to aim and deem power, it’s another easy to control game that mixes the pace of the game up.
Doughnut knights show they can’t all be hits, where you run around an arena collecting doughnuts jousting, which tends to be too chaotic, and less fun. Icicle pickle has you running around on a shrinking ice block as it breaks away, trying to stay on it. It is awkward but entertaining. So, it can be a mixed bag at times.
The game lets you either choose a playlist, let the fox host choose, or you can play individual levels on their own. The fox host accompanies every game, and gets repetitive, so choosing individual levels gets painful as he tells you how he will give you extra animals to fill out the game each and every time.
8.5/10 – Frantics shows how much fun Playlink can be. With a lot of variety, and short games, it works well for a family wanting a silly way to spend a Sunday, or good for some beersies and mischief.