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JadeDragon's game reviews and playing tips: Sony PSP games
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Frantix

Reviewed November 2005 by Marc Morgan

Publisher: Sony Online Entertainment
Developer: Killer Game
Release Date: September, 2005
ESRB Rating: "E" for Everyone
Genre: Puzzle/Action
Price: $39.99

Since the PSP was first released, there have been a couple puzzle games that have come out, such as Lumines and Mercury. What you will notice about these games is that they are not simply clones of other games, but games with completely new concepts. Now, Sony Online Entertainment has released Frantix, a new game that combines puzzle solving with action gameplay.

Gameplay

The gameplay in Frantix is very simple and very easy to get used to. There are different colored gems scattered through many levels in different worlds. You have to collect all the gems in each level and go into the exit portal within the time limit to beat the level. If you can make your way through the level in a short enough time, you will also get a gold gem. The game starts off as simple as this, and gradually becomes harder. As you progress, you will encounter pickups, hazards, creatures, objects, and portals and doors. The pickups can be both good and bad for your character. Pickups such as time boost, which increases the time limit, and haste boost, which makes you faster, are good for your character. However, pickups such as haste minus, which slows your character down, are bad for your character. Hazards include water, lava, and quicksand. You need a bridge to cross lava and water, but with quicksand you can walk across it, so long as you don't stop or turn around. These hazards will also have the same rules for creatures, which can come in handy in some levels. Creatures always try to mess you up. If you run into most of them, you will fail the level. However, some will only block your way. Each type of creature has a predictable movement pattern, so use that to your advantage. There are many different objects in the game that you can use to help your character if they are used properly. Boxes, for example can be pushed into lava or water to make a bridge. However, in lava they will be burned up by the heat and sink after a few seconds. Bombs can be used to kill creatures, but if you are in the way of the blast, they can also kill you. Lastly, portals will transport you to a different part of the level, and doors will let you through depending on what kind they are. Some doors will only let you through one way, and others require you to have a certain number of gems in particular colors. The game keeps track of how many gems you have in total, and worlds and levels will be unlocked as you collect the gems.

Graphics

In many puzzle games, the only way to judge graphics is by how colorful everything is, and how the parts of the puzzle look. However, all the levels in Frantix are completely 3D, as well as all the items and creatures. The levels are designed to reflect the world that they are in, such as levels in the Desert Oasis world having a desert theme. The gems are all easy to see, as are all the creatures and objects. The graphics work well with the rest of the game.

Sound

Frantix offers both music and sound effects. The music tracks create a nice background and mood for the gameplay. Expect the standard music affair found in puzzle games, nothing to stand out but interesting enough to keep it in the background. The sound effects however add a nice element to the gameplay. There are sound effects for basically every part of the game, from pushing objects, blowing stuff up to going through the menus and more. Overall, the sound effects are about average for a PSP game.

Conclusion

Frantix is a great addition to the PSP's puzzle game selection where is still starving for more titles. The gameplay starts easy, but progressively gets more challenging. It's simple enough for anyone to pick up and play, and proves to be quite addictive. The 3-D graphics are excellent for a puzzle game, and the sound compliments the game nicely. Above all, it is unique among other puzzle games for the PSP.

Playing Hints and Tips

- Keep an eye out for hazards and avoid them.
- Look around for objects that you can put to use.
- Watch the movement pattern of creatures and try to avoid them.
- Mind the time limit.

 

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Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics

The graphics in the game are above the standard for puzzle games as the entire game is in 3D, including all of the objects in the puzzles.

Sound

There is music and sound effects, which are about standard for PSP puzzle games. The sound effects enhance the gameplay as expected, and the music makes sure that there is sound to fill in the background.

Fun Meter

Simply put, Frantix is a unique puzzle game on the PSP, and is a must-have game for puzzle lovers. It offers over 180 levels to play, it will provide hours of entertainment and mind twists.

Addictivity

The gameplay is simple at first, and progressively gets more difficult, making the game very addictive. A child can easily play the game, and an adult can still enjoy the challenge when reach the later levels.

Total Score= 4 Dragons, 80%



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