Published by Ubisoft
Developed by Killer Game
Release Date: Out Now
Frantix, an introduction.
Puzzle games seem to be a key genre on both the Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP and Frantix is one of the latest additions to the genre for the PSP. Compared to some of the puzzle games out there Frantix is a fairly simplistic game and unlike a lot of puzzle games on the market, the game doesn’t ever really get fiendishly difficult. This isn't necessarily a bad thing though and the game could appeal to those who usually give puzzle games a wide berth.
What's the game about?
Frantix is essentially a single-player only gem collecting 3D puzzle game. Basically you have to move your character through a variety of 3D mazes collecting all of the gems in the level. Of course that's not all there is to it and you'll have to push blocks, avoid enemies, deal with various hazards such as quicksand, use portals, doors and special walls and collect gems of course. There are also various power-ups in the game that you can make use of. The game contains almost 200 levels, which seems like a ridiculously high amount until you realise some of these levels are really short.
What's good about the game?
The best thing you can say about Frantix is that it's very accessible and it will only take a few minutes before you're completely comfortable with the game. The game includes an impressive number of levels which are spread out over 6 differently themed worlds. Each level is time limited so you'll have to try and collect the gems as quickly as possible. Complete a level in a really quick time and you'll earn a gold gem. There's several unlockable items here too, such as extra levels and other playable characters (there's only one character to choose from initially). Disappointingly there's no discernible difference between the characters in terms of how they play. Another positive is the price tag. Most PSP games tend to be £34.99 so the comparatively low price of £19.99 definitely adds appeal to the game. Bearing in mind the game's fairly basic nature though the price is probably about right.
What's not so good about the game?
Whilst Frantix doesn't necessarily do anything wrong as such, it's not exactly a game that has much appeal to it. The main problem is that the game offers almost 200 levels for you to work your way through and there's not a great deal of variation between them. This doesn't seem too bad but when you experience the same things over and over again it all gets a bit dull. The difficulty of the levels feels a little uneven at times. Some of the levels are really short and require hardly any thought at all, in fact sometimes you're waiting longer for the level to load than you'll spend solving the level (and the load times aren't bad) which seems a little silly.
How does it look?
Graphically Frantix looks OK and the visuals get the job done without any fuss. The camera angle is almost a top-down one and you can rotate the angle through 90 degrees (sometimes this is necessary to give yourself a clear view). You can also press the triangle button to switch the view to completely top-down and this negates the need to change the camera angles to see what you're doing. In fact this should have probably been the default camera angle. The character, enemy creatures and levels you'll play in all look good, if maybe a little basic for the PSP, but there's no real complaints. The load times are acceptable too, which is always good news.
How deaf gamer friendly is the game?
Deaf gamers will have no problems with Frantix. All the important information is shown in text. The tutorial messages and clues (that you trigger by placing your character on the question marks) are all shown in text. There aren't any captions in the game but this is hardly a problem. The game manual only has a few pages of English instructions but to be fair it covers all you really need to know to fully appreciate the game.
Frantix isn't the best puzzle game to appear on the PSP and despite it's wealth of content there's not a generous amount of variation here and you'll need to be dedicated to keep yourself interested throughout the almost 200 levels. That said though the game has an asking price of £19.99 and can be found online for less which does put the game in a more favourable light. If you like your puzzle games and aren't expecting a game to the standard of Lumines (which is a full price game) you may just enjoy what Frantix has to offer.
Overall Game Rating: 6.0/10
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Whilst there's nothing bad about Frantix, it's mundane in places. Some levels are over too quickly and whilst there are different themes for the levels the challenges that you face are all too similar throughout the game.