Review: Frantics (PS4)

Review: Frantics (PS4)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • PlayLink Mobile or Tablet Required
  • DualShock 4 None
  • Move None
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Title: Frantics
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (2.5 GB)
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: NapNok Games
Original MSRP: $19.99 (US), €19.99 (EU), £15.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: E
PEGI: 7
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
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Out of the PlayLink games announced during E3 2017, Frantics is the last to be released. But, did they save the best for last?

Gameplay:
Frantics needs the PlayLink app, available on Android and iOS devices, to control the crazy anthropomorphic creatures in a series of quick and crazy mini-games set up by the sneaky Fox.

A total of fifteen wacky games await our hapless contestants. There’s everything from a pig to a crocodile with each one being fully customizable with, according to NapNok Games, an intuitive shake-‘n’-make™ functionality. This involves tilting, twisting, and shaking the player’s device making their character morph into different shapes and unlocked accessories.

Each accessory is awarded by the Fox to the champion of his dastardly games. It might be some cool shades or a giant mustache but once unlocked it’s available to everyone, which is nice.

Crowns are awarded to the winners of each game and everyone has the opportunity to collect coins during play. The Fox might even be generous after a minigame and give someone a few for some inane reason, usually to even out the game and help out a player who didn’t do so well.

Controlling the animals always involves the PlayLink app and it might be a simple swipe on the screen or tilting the device. Each game features a quick and easy to understand tutorial for any new players and a quick practice round.

Everyone with me who played the game understood what to do and never got into any control issues, even my mother-in-law who never plays games. A neat feature in the app is the random secret mission from the Fox. This sends a message to one of the players and requires them to either disrupt or help another player for an extra crown.

My daughter had the difficult task of ending in third place for a tricky minigame, an almost impossible feat for her. Another mission had my other daughter tasked with helping me to win a little game of last-animal-standing, which she almost succeeded with had I not slipped off the edge of the small play area.

Should a player lose in some games they might get the ability to help or hinder their opponents using their PlayLink app to dispense an assortment of random goodies. These are on a cool-down so people can’t be too unfair.

The coins earned during earlier games can be spent on a secret bidding round in the hope of getting something to help in the next part of that game or during the final round on more crowns. Each crown turns into lives for the final and so the more the better. It still doesn’t mean a victory, especially if you’re playing my family, a bunch of backstabbers.

Most of the minigames are hilarious and might require some skill, a dash of luck, and a heap of trickery to survive. Every game is as crazy as they sound with names like ParaChuChu, Dough Knights, and Friendless Runner. Each of them generally results in plenty of laughter and fun.

I did have one problem connecting to the game after a PS4 firmware update and the only way I managed to fix it was to go into the manual Custom Setup on my Android phone Frantics app and simply press the Connect button. After that, it didn’t have any problems finding the game.

Visuals:
The world and the characters of Frantics are all made out of clay. This results in some comical splats and whacks as the animals dive off cliffs and see who can be the last to open their parachute or who wins a mad dash to the finish line while trying to avoid slamming into spiked walls.

I love the distinctive visuals. This game has such a fresh and vibrant style that people of any age can enjoy. My daughter wants to make a few characters from the game, she likes it that much. So now I have to get some more modeling clay. Thanks, NapNok.

Audio:
The suave and sophisticated witty Fox is a great and amusing host. I wish he had more lines as I have already heard some repetition. The music and sound effects in Frantics perfectly compliment the zany escapades and help to increase the laughter that is so often heard while playing. The PlayLink app also makes a few sounds and so it needs to have the volume up, especially if you want to know when a secret mission appears.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game has no online component but it has some excellent competitive local gameplay for up to four players using the PlayLink app. It works well and everyone who gave it a go found the control method easy to understand.

I was both happy and sad to see a lack of leaderboards. Happy because it meant there was no lasting sign of who won what, the game just became about having fun in a friendly competition. Sad because I would like some sign of the progress.

Conclusion:
Frantics has catapulted to the top of our family gaming nights. It’s such good fun with a full complement of players. The laughter builds with each oddball game until a crescendo of hilarity ensues in the nail-biting finale.

The fifteen minigames are varied and fun for the whole family. It doesn’t matter if you are great at games, some of the family still managed to beat me and we had a blast in the process.

For the price, this game is an excellent value and I sincerely hope it does well as I want to see more of this, from DLC and expansions to other titles like it. The PlayLink app works much better than I expected and it’s great for a fun party game like this.

Score:
8.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4 and Android Xperia XZ Premium phone.

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Written by Chazz Harrington

Chazz Harrington

You can find me on everything: PSN, Twitter, Wii U, Origin, Steam, etc using my universal ID: ChazzH69

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