Sony’s PlayLink service certainly offers up a diverse range of titles, such as Singstar, Knowledge is Power, Hidden Agenda and That’s You, all of which offer something a little different to play with your friends. Now we have Frantics, a more familiar party game, given that it groups together a bunch of mini-games for you to play through as a group. As with any compilation such as this, some games are fun, while others would most likely be given a hard pass should they not be thrown together as part of a random round.
The main way to play Frantics is in Party Mode, which is hosted by a charismatic creature known as Fox, most likely because he is one. Before the game starts you’ll connect your mobile phones via the downloaded companion app, be assigned a random animal which will represent you on screen and then take a selfie. Once everyone has connected it is time to jump into the game, which in the case of Party Mode sees you being granted a crown each time you win. When it comes to the final ‘King of the Hill’ round, crowns count as lives, therefore the more games you win leading up to this, the more chance you’ll have of being crowned the winner. To add a twist to the tale, you can also collect coins throughout each mini-game, which can then be spent on power-ups such as freeze rays, ninja speed and golden parachutes, each of which can give you advantages during the relevant mini-game.
While the main role of Fox is to host the action, he’ll occasionally get involved during the various games, throwing coins into play or even dynamite, the latter of which you have to pass on before it explodes, otherwise, it’ll be round over. Sometimes he’ll even call a player through their phone and give them a secret mission, which certainly adds a little mystery to proceedings, for instance, my daughter was told to help me win in return for a crown, she managed it too.
Mini-Games vary in style, such as Friendless Runner, which has you racing and jumping to avoid obstacles, while Jet Pack Nut Job has you racing using jetpacks to the finish line, with the winner in each game being the one who manages to keep as many as their three lives as possible. As you would expect, some games are better than others, Chair Riots is one of my favourites, where you drag and release to shoot your swivel chairs to get as close to the bullseye as possible (think curling). There’s also Hot Rod Heroes, where you race to the finish line, although you’ll need to try to stay upright and put up with cars being upgraded (downgraded) with all sorts of detrimental items during the race. Another favourite is Trappy Field, which sees you heading over a booby-trapped field to get a bowl of soup and return it to the start. You’ll need to avoid springs and mines, as well as other players who’ll do their best to knock you into them. As you can see, the random games I have mentioned are quite varied, but they are all a lot of fun.
Presentation-wise the game looks and runs as you would expect. It’s not glitchy that I can see, it’s bright, colourful and the sound is as good as can be expected. As for the controls, our phones seemed to connect without any issues, while the gameplay, while generally simple, seemed to work without any issues. Frantics really is a game where for once you are getting what you likely expected.
Frantics is a fun set of mini-games which are easy to pick up and play without worrying if you have enough controllers since anyone can play using their mobile phone. It really is a party style title, so don’t go expecting any depth here, but at such a low cost you can’t really go wrong, especially if you are looking for something to keep the family entertained for an hour or two now and again.