Mini-game collections aren't as common as they once were but they can definitely be a barrel of fun when done right. Frantics is an animal-themed party game that you can enjoy with up to four players so let's head to the zoo and have a blast.
Before we get started, Frantics is a PlayLink game which means that you play it using an application on your mobile device. On the plus side, this means that you don't need four controllers. However, you do need to download a completely new app even if you already have the apps for games such as That's You, Knowledge is Power, Hidden Agenda, and SingStar Celebration. Why there couldn't be just one PlayLink app with selectable modes for the different games is beyond me. The mini-games are controlled by tilting your device and tapping or swiping on the screen and everything handles surprisingly well as it's very intuitive to learn each game.
Anyway, on to the game at hand! Frantics is basically a collection of 14 mini-games. Although that doesn't sound like much, each one feels like a fleshed out and fully-featured game. Many share similar mechanics but they're all distinct enough to offer a variety of fun-filled games. You can play these games within a game show style mode, individually, or via your own playlists.
Allow me to describe some of the mini-games in more detail so you can have an idea of what to expect. Hot-Rod Heroes plays similarly to the Trials games where you have to balance while accelerating through a short track. Meanwhile, the contestants sabotage each other with car parts like square wheels and springs. Trappy Fields has competitors navigate through a grid with scattered landmines that the players set in order to retrieve soup. More simple games include Big-Top Hoppity Hop which has you and your opponents bounce around 2D stages on balls while trying not to land on spikes, Parachuchu which is a game of chicken with parachutes, Icicle Pickle where you try not to fall off a sheet of suspended ice, Chair Riots which is basically curling with office chairs, and Dough Knights that tasks you with collecting doughnuts on a lance. Overall, playing these wacky games is a ton of fun, especially with a few chums.
The graphics and sound of Frantics are fantastic for a twisted party game. The host is a fox who's sarcastic, sly, and clearly has some devious intentions. The only couple of voices that you hear throughout are the fox and a voiceover who thoroughly explains the games. They're both very well done and provide a much livelier atmosphere than if there was no voice acting. Visually, there's a mix of clay-like environments and characters that are colourful and animated in a goofy way. You play as randomly assigned animals and they're all intentionally stupid-looking which contrasts perfectly with the fox. There's a great sense of humour that ties all this insanity together while not being forced and over the top like in a lot of similar games. In the end, playing Frantics is simply a joy.
My main complaint with Frantics is that I wish there was more to it. Playing through the game show is great fun but if it took place on a board like Mario Party then that would have added a whole new dimension to its gameplay. Also, there are no unlockables or any sort of progress to be made besides earning trophies which is kind of disappointing. Sure, playing with friends is a ton of fun but it would be even better if you could unlock neat features, custom items, and such while playing.
Frantics is a fantastic party game that controls impressively well using a mobile device. When you factor in the collection of 14 fully-realised mini-games, you're looking at a must-buy for those who love gaming with their chums.
- + Solid selection of fantastic fleshed-out mini-games to play with friends
- + Great humour, graphics, and sound
- + No need for extra controllers
- - Could use something to tie the games together better (like boards)
- - No unlockables or progress of any kind
- - Requires separate mobile app download