It seems that while most console gamers don’t normally go for straight-up puzzle games played out on the television, publishers are keen to make the PSP a puzzle board. Has Frantix got what it takes?
Ubisoft has already had the successful and popular Lumines (it won Best Game for 2005 in our very own Pocket-lint awards - The Fluffies) for those looking for a Tetris like experience.
Rather than having to stack blocks, Frantix is based around a number of mini-levels where you have to collect gems and avoid traps and monsters.
The game is at its core very simplistic and this means you’ll either love it or hate it when it comes to a gaming session of any length.
Each level revolves around you having to collect a set amount of gems in a set time. With only one life on each level you’ve got to make sure you get it right, although luckily the developers have made sure that playing the same level over and over again doesn’t revolve around lengthy load screens.
As the levels progress the puzzles get more involved, until you have levels that involve you having to solve a series of puzzles to get to the gems rather than simply collecting them in as in the first level.
Get past the 18 tutorial levels and you’ll soon realise that Frantix has plenty of substance, even if it lacks depth. In fact you’ll have to collect 1600 gems across the game.
There might be substance, but as for depth, the game lacks any real diversity. There is no multiplayer action, and no variation in game modes. In fact, the only real choice you get is playing either Kaz or Bear (i.e., boy or girl) but then even that doesn’t actually make any difference to the gameplay.
Graphics are fairly simple, with a top down approach found in games like Head over Heels on the Spectrum and controls are frustrating at times.
The puzzles are great fun and as they progress will certainly challenge, however gamers may feel that there isn’t any real variation to Frantix.
We do however, especially like the pick up and play element of this game and the fact that the levels won’t take you longer than 5 minutes to complete - most of them are timed to less than this anyway.
Good, but it won’t be to everyone’s taste.