Frantix for Sony PSP by Platform Publishing, a division of Sony Online Entertainment, puts you in the shoes of four different adventurers as you try to complete over 180 levels by solving the puzzles within. One of the characters is Meeper from the animated short film, The ChubbChubbs, which is also included with the game. To solve the puzzles in the levels you will have to collect gems to be allowed to pass through gates as you dodge monsters, move crates and other objects and avoid traps.
Frantix at first reminded me a little of ChuChu Rocket for the Sega Dreamcast and it has a similar puzzle flavor to it. It is not exactly the same, but if you like a game like ChuChu Rocket you should enjoy Frantix. The levels in Frantix cover multiple screens and you will be rushing to solve the puzzles before the time runs out. There are also monsters roaming around some of the levels and traps that will lead to your doom if you touch them. With over 180 puzzles over multiple worlds to solve, Frantix for PSP should keep you busy for awhile and you can also go back and try to finish levels you have already completed under a certain time limit to win a gold gem.
The graphics in Frantix are decent but I have seen better on the PSP. They seem a little blocky and stiff to me, but maybe that fits with the puzzle theme of the game. They are detailed enough and not ugly to look at, but none of the levels really jumped out at you. I guess there is really only so much you can do when you are trying to lock people down into a puzzle environment where things have to move on a grid layout. The levels’ themes include ruins, a Zen garden, desert, snowy area, and the ChubbChubbs world and they feature lava, water, explosions and more. Like I said, nothing is horrible looking but nothing really stands out graphically in the game either.
On the music and sound effects front you get more of the same. The music has a digital synthesized techno and dance feel to it. It seems to fit well with the game, but none of it you will remember after you have turned Frantix off. The sound effects are also what you would expect in a fantasy world, but nothing that will blow you away. You may get sick of hearing your character grunt as they run into walls or crates that they need to move. The grunts and the sound of you dying are what you will hear the most in the game and they get a little old. The ChubbChubb movie sound effects and music are featured in the ChubbChubb levels and the graphics also match what you see in the animated short include with the game, which is cool.
Controlling your character in Frantix for Sony PlayStation Portable doesn’t involve much button pressing, but that doesn’t mean you won’t die multiple times because of the touchy controls. To move your character you can use the digital pad or analog stick and the shoulder buttons rotate the camera to the left and right 90 degrees at a time. The only other button used is the triangle for adjusting the camera perspective from close and far behind you to overtop. The game’s controls are simple, but you will probably find yourself pressing one too many times in certain directions causing you to die. Also, one level comes to mind where there are snowmen with rockets on their backs and you have to move back and forth quickly to dodge them. I died a bunch of times before completing this level because the controls either didn’t respond quick enough or I ended up pressing too many times forward. The controls are not horrible and you will get used to them, but don’t be surprised if you die sometimes because you thought you pushed forward but the game doesn’t respond or responds too well.
The modes of play in Frantix are very limited, actually there is only one. The puzzle solving adventure mode that I mentioned above is the only mode of play and once you beat all the levels in the game I don’t see there being any real replay value. You can go back and replay the levels and try to earn a gold gem by completing them fast enough, but that is about it. There are no multiplayer or mini-games to play or unlock, so don’t expect anything more than the standard story mode. A level editor would’ve been cool like GripShift for PSP includes, but that is not available here which is unfortunate.
If you like puzzle games then you might enjoy Frantix for PSP, but don’t expect there to be anything to do after you beat the 180+ levels. That is a lot of levels to solve, but unlike Super Monkey Ball and GripShift that include mini-games to unlock, Frantix has nothing. You do get The ChubbChubbs animated short film on the disc, which is cool, but you could also go out and buy the Men In Black II: Special Edition DVD for probably $10 or less used and watch The ChubbChubbs on that or convert it to play on your PSP. The Sony PSP has a limited library of games and it is nice to see Frantix or any game released, but it would’ve been better if Frantix had a little more to offer.
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