PlayLink titles are all about the social aspect of gaming. They allow players to play and control a party game through their smartphones reducing the need for the PS4 controllers almost completely. Be it answering a set of multiple choice questions before cracking ice (digital ice) that was set on your mobile screen by another player, using your phone as a microphone in a game of SingStar to become the ultimate pop star or trying to solve a crime mystery and uncover a Hidden Agenda. Now Sony Interactive Entertainment brings to the library of PlayLink titles another fun, colourful and entertaining title known as Frantics.
Frantics puts players in the shoes or rather hooves and paws of the quirkiest looking animals you’ve ever seen. A cow, rhino, baboon and platypus are just a few animals that are offered from the character roster. Unlike the other PlayLink titles the character selection here is completely randomised which just adds to the game’s wackiness as you’ll also be able to change your animal’s appearance slightly by shaking the mobile smart device. After taking a selfie and having your character selected for you, you’ll be able to choose from three game options: single mini-game playthrough, a customised mini-game playthrough session where you’ll be able to select which mini-games you’d like to play or my favorite the Fox’s Party mini-game session, a set of mini-games which are a set of games selected by the host of the game, the sly Fox who sometimes has a tendency of favouring a few players. Be warned though as playing by his rules can be hazardous to your victory.
The game has a total of 15 zany mini-games that can be played with three other players or three AI players. Although it isn’t restricted to a full four-member party as I found myself competing against two other friends at times to make it a three-way battle. Each game makes players shake, swipe, tilt, flick and snap on their smart devices to make their way to victory. Everything is controlled by the mobile device’s touchscreen as well as the phone’s gyroscope. The goal is for players to acquire the most crowns however this doesn’t always guarantee total victory. Some of the mini-games have players tasked with collecting as many doughnuts as possible through a lance whilst spinning around knocking others out the way in an oval arena. Compete in a race styled like an endless runner whilst scrolling left or right and jumping to dodge obstacles and traps as well as sabotaging other players by jumping on their heads or knocking them out the way. Or play a game of chicken whilst parachuting, of course the last player to open their parachute will have the advantage of landing first since they’ll have gained more momentum in speed from the free fall but be sure not to pull too late as it may result in you becoming a pancake and not a very tasty looking one I might add.
Look out for Fox though as he’ll be encouraging players to backstab one another by bribing certain players, sending secret messages to a player of his choice.
The most intriguing bit of every mini-game is the items offered during the games that can give players an added advantage such as dynamite whilst falling through the air in ParaChuChu (free falling game of chicken) the key is to pass it to another player by bumping into them before it explodes. Or perhaps acquiring a freeze ray gun to freeze players in place allowing you to then take advantage of their immobility and knock them off an ice platform which keeps deteriorating and melting. Other items offered include a jester’s hat that double your points earned and an office chair that is supposed to grant the player more speed but on ice, it basically becomes your worst nightmare. Look out for Fox though as he’ll be encouraging players to backstab one another by bribing certain players, sending secret messages to a player of his choice which includes a secret mission (you’ll receive a message on your phone that only you’ll be able to view) as well as tell on players that have targeted you the most in a previous mini-game hence painting targets on everyone’s backs. And to add even more of a twist Fox tends to host auctions either during a mini-game or after to entice players to use their coins earned during games to purchase items that’ll assist them in battle. Each set of mini-games (in the case of the Fox’s Party) can last up to 30 minutes with a final round where players can actually turn the tide and come out on top even if they have been trailing behind the entire way, thus granting players a chance to win no matter how badly they did. I often found myself trailing behind my friends and then topping the points at the end with the help of an item from an auction.
Frantics is quite possibly the zaniest and wackiest PlayLink title to date. It’s easy to pick up, learn and play. The mini-games are short, fast paced and frantic. In other words, it’ll be the most fun you’ll have on the PS4 and your smartphone combined. Throw in three of your friends and the party won’t stop. Although the real question is, will you still have friends after a game of Frantics? Frantics is the sole embodiment of wacky in the sense of character design, level design and of course the sly host who you’ll soon love…love to hate. The only real gripes is that your mobile device will have to be on the same wifi network as your PS4 to play the game and if you lose signal or connection while free falling through the sky you’re unfortunately going to go SPLAT! Apart from that, however, this is an amazing party game to both play and watch.