Frantix ReviewCain Dornan
If you want to make a success puzzle game in todays world, you need to ensure that it is addictive in order to succeed. Tetris is a perfect example of this, as is Lumines and even the classic Minesweeper. The developer needs to offer a form of Gameplay that will cause gamers to want more; to be still playing several attempts after they promised themselves that they would only give it one last go.
While Frantix does offer a slight hint of this type of captivating Gameplay, it quickly wears off. The games premise is certainly an addictive form to begin with, however, after spending several hours with the game, you begin to get to grow tired. It begins to feel too repetitive, too much like a level that you completed some twenty minutes beforehand. If youre looking for a short, quick puzzle fix, then youll likely find it with Frantix. If you plan on spending several hours on the game, however, youll soon come to realise that the overly repetitive nature of the game isnt quite as enjoyable as you first found during the first parts of the game.
Frantix involves controlling a character through mazes collecting items, pushing blocks, avoiding enemies and unlocking doors in the aim to reach the exit door at the end. While the solution to each puzzle is usually quickly realised in the first portion of the game, the games difficulty really begins to ramp-up during the latter sections.
Frantix heavily relies on the trial and error procedure, as the time-limited levels and unclear answer to each problem is rarely apparent upon first attempt. During the last half of the game in particular, youll spend most of your time visiting the pause menu and hitting the restart option, which is often followed by a head-scratching thinking period as you attempt to solve some of the tricky puzzles on hand. Many of the levels involve only about five to forty seconds in length, with only a small number lasting any longer once you know how to solve them. Considering that youll attempt many levels five, six, ten times or more, Frantix is the type of game that you wont complete overnight, nor is it a game that will last you several months. It really depends on your interest in the puzzle genre and the level of patience that you have.
A majority of the levels focus on collecting gems in order to open the appropriate doors that eventually lead to the exit. There is the occasional level, however, where your main aim is to evade enemies, such as one particular level that involves using environment traps to prevent a large bear-like creature from catching you. This level can prove to be rather tricky, as youll need to lock the creature away at the correct intervals in order to gather the small number of gems to unlock the exit door. One slight untimely mistake will end with the game ending.
The different characters that youll play as, which are gradually unlocked as you proceed through the game, are essentially a pointless addition, as each character offers identical abilities as each before them. That said, the character that you play as has no worthwhile role in the game, as the only difference between each player is the visual appearance and the grunt that is given when you run into a wall or object.
The game offers some 185 different levels to compete in, which are all divided into six different worlds that generally determine the type of environment that each level is based on. In order to unlock additional levels, you need to obtain enough Gems to do so, with many of the worlds containing levels that require a high Gem-count in order to unlock. As a result, youll be regularly making your way from world to world and back again as you retrieve more gems that unlock additional levels.
Frantixs presentation is appropriately simple, offering simplistic level designs that are generally pleasing. There is, however, a handful of levels that contain far too many environmental objects that can restrict your view of the Gameplay, regardless of which camera angle that you choose using the PSPs shoulder buttons. The sound also takes on a simple yet catchy tune, offering a large number of different tracks to fill your ears as you attempt to unravel the solution to the puzzles. Although the presentation of Frantix is certainly not impressive or unique, it does manage to convey the gameplay successfully.
Frantix is a game that puzzle fans will likely enjoy, although, wether fans are able to keep their interest high enough in the game to fully complete it remains to be seen. If you have little interest in the genre, youre likely better off looking elsewhere for a suitable handheld fix.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.