Party games. There is always time for party games. Gather a group of your friends and pit them against each other in a digital coliseum. That’s when you find out exactly who your friends are, and that Barbara never forgave Carol for that time she said her cupcakes were dry. PlayStation are very aware of this, and that is how we ended up with so many party games from PS Link. Now a few months into its life we have the brand new title, Frantics.
For those not familiar with PlayLink it is a really simple concept. Do away with controllers and use the thing that most of your friends will have on them at any time, their smart phone. Using motion controls and simple screen gestures Frantics will pit you against three friends as comically deranged characters from a busy menagerie. You’ll play a variety of mini games in four rounds. However your scheming host, Fox, can sometimes throw a curveball. Whether that be making the players bid on buffs with their hard-earned coins or offering the game winning crowns for secret missions sent to your phone.
Frantics has a lot going for it, the character design and art direction are original and fun with a total claymation vibe. You’ll start by taking a selfie and getting a wonky looking anthropomorphic animal picked for you based on it; great when you’re like me and get the adorable platypus, but my friend that got the pig wasn’t so impressed. Some of the games can have a similar vibe but for the most part there was just enough difference between them that they each felt unique. From building an impossible car to get across the finish line to getting the most doughnuts on your jousting pole they all get the blood pumping as you try to act shocked when you “accidentally” sabotage your significant other to win the crown.
Frantics however is as much the name as it is the nature of this game and I can’t tell how deliberate that is. Unfortunately, as your controller will be your phone and you will be processing input from 4 of you through the wifi to your PS4 it can feel like there is a slight delay into your input. This however feels like it has been taken into account as none of the games ask for the most precise timing or finesse in movement. In fact, perhaps it is deliberate as you all manically tilt your phone left or right to avoid running your wobbly chicken avatar face first into a piece of wood.
The Bottom Line
Frantics is a lot of fun, but as with a few of the PlayLink titles that have come out so far they are all situational and you most certainly would only play them socially. This was the first time though with a PlayLink title that I kind of wish I had the option to play with a controller instead. Especially since this is the first PlayLink title to limit you to 4 players instead of the normal 6. That would however defeat some of the fiendish back-stabbing the game begs you to partake in. Even with all this thought, at the end of the day I had a blast playing this with my friends and I couldn’t wait to go through all the different mini games with my tiny, thick as a brick, purple platypus.