The list of PlayLink games for the PS4 is growing and Frantics is here to give you a party-style game for you and your friends to challenge, co-operate and sabotage with each other. It is time to put down the controller, pull out your phone and play Frantics.
Frantics is a PlayLink title meaning you play this game with mobile phones instead of a controller. Not only is this a new way to play, it also is a perfect way to get others to join in the fun without having to purchase extra peripherals for your console. Ultimately it is a couch co-op game system and so it is no surprise to see Frantics added to the growing PlayLink games list.
Frantics is a game for 1 to 4 players to compete in a selection of 15 mini-games. Each player gets to choose from a number of strange looking animals, who appear to have been made with playdough, as their playable character prior to starting play the first time.
The mini-games included and my comments on each are as follows:
Chair Riots – A tactical turn-based office chair shuffle game. Players take turns to get their chairs as close to the goal as possible. Think mini golf obstacles mixed with lawn bowls.
Hot Rod Heroes – Build interesting cars and try to race in them. A bit of a twist on this one, the gameplay is a very short track, but each player chooses a part for their opponents which may assist or hinder their ability to compete fairly. For example, you may get a turbo engine or square wheels amongst many others.
Friendless Runner – Can you handle the obstacle ninja course? Can you handle the other players? This is a mode where each player runs a straight race and must swipe the screen to move between lanes and jump to collect coins and avoid obstacles. You can land on top of opponents or bump them into obstacles to impede on their race.
Trappy Fields – Rush across the field of hidden mines to deliver soup to Fox. Pretty much as the description says, make your way to the top, grab the soup and get back to the bottom without touching the mines or traps on the field. Players can bump each other into these obstacles to sabotage your progress and steal the win.
Parachuchu – A chicken race with parachutes and dynamite. This was quite good passing around dynamite and waiting until the last minute before pulling my parachute before I hit the ground.
Jetpack Nut Job – Block, Push and Trap the other players on your way to the finish line. Flappy Bird style game where you jetpack your way through the course getting coins and aiming to cross the finish line first.
Heavy Metal – A three to four-way ball game on roller skates. This is an arena style soccer mode where each player moves their character around and stomps to push the ball into the other players’ goals to reduce their life hearts.
Thrust Issues – Help your friends build the best or worst rocket powered aircraft. Similar to Hot Rod Heroes but with rocket ships.
Bomb Slingers – Try to survive the bomb throwing madness. Players run around a small area and throw dynamite bombs at each other. The winner is the last one standing who avoided all the explosions.
Dough Knights – Collect the most doughnuts but avoid ending up with the explosive one. Players ride unicycles with lances around a small arena collecting doughnuts. You can attack each other with a spin move which will dislodge any collected doughnuts. The goal is to end up with the most doughnuts.
Tour De Frantics – Grab your tricycle and leave your friends in the dust. Simple race game where you push the accelerator and let it go for the corners. Beat your opponents to win.
Big-Top Hoppity Hop – Avoid the spikes, pass the dynamite and be the last ball hopping. Bouncing on balls, each player must bounce on their opponents or knock them into the spikes, last one standing wins.
Icicle Pickle – A battle to the death on an icy mountain top. Again, the description says it all, each player must try to knock their opponents off the peak to win.
Kings of the Hill – Cannon-blasting game where only two players can win. Two players have to last long enough on a platform to win the round. Each player can bash each other off as needed.
Fox’s Party – A combination of some of the previous mini-games hosted by Fox.
Frantics is very much a party game, and it makes that very well known if you happen to be playing alone. In this case, generally 2 AI characters will be added to give you some competition.
The assortment of mini-games offer plenty of variety for players to enjoy together. It also allows players to drop in and out when required. If this occurs during a game, the player is replaced with an AI character, so the other players can still proceed.
Something I really liked in Fox’s Party mode is the added feature of Fox interfering with the results. During some modes, you get an option to bet some of your collected coins in an auction for an object that can give you an advantage over your opponents. Of course, everyone gets to vote and a number of items are on offer. Also, Fox can randomly “call” or “message” players’ phones with secret missions that can lead to players intentionally aiming to sabotage their opponents instead of trying to win in order to be rewarded in some way if the sabotage is successful. This is a great mechanic that is done perfectly considering each player is already holding and using their phones to play.
During the time I had to play this game, I didn’t have extra players to fully experience the multiplayer aspect of the game. However, I was able to play each mode and get a grasp of what the game was intended to offer. The single player experience can get monotonous at times and the AI characters didn’t often offer any great competition, I was able to win most games without too much effort.
Audio & Visuals
The characters in Frantics are all normal animals but they all have wacky features, this added to the made-with-Playdough texture and appearance gives the game a more fun aesthetic. Each of the game mode locations are well detailed and give the players an easily identifiable arena to play. The sounds in the game add to the tone of the party game. The integration of the phones as controllers also includes sounds and options for extra immersion in the game on top of the presentation from the TV.
Frantics is a great assortment of mini-games for a party situation or with your family and friends enjoying a night on the couch. As a single player experience, it’s not much of a challenge and I lost interest after a short time, but I do understand this is intended to be played with others. I loved the use of phones as controllers, especially the secret missions. If you regularly have friends over or play games with family, this is a good choice for you.