This week, a very excited Lyall and Richard received a parcel... A copy of PS4 game Frantics. It's a smart device controlled party game for the PlayStation 4.
Here's a video clip of some Frantics game play featuring Rich and Lyall... (please excuse my amateur production values and the"I really need the toilet" moment. Tut!)
Our family LOVE a party game so naturally we've been full of beans and excitement in anticipation of playing this!
At first glance, Frantics took us right back to our old EyeToy days with our beloved PS2 and its EyeToy accessory. So, Tom and I were very interested to see how this new use of technology will work.
Title: Frantics Publisher: Sony PlayStation Platform: PlayStation 4 (with iOS and Android apps) Purchase here: Frantics on Amazon.co.uk
Frantics is a PS4 'Playlink' game, in which players use their smart devices to (and these are PS' words) 'swipe, tilt, shake, flick and snap your way to glory'. I hope there's no physical snapping, otherwise the PS4 will be confiscated for ever!
In our family, Lyall (9) has an iPhone but Richard hasn't quite reached the grand old age of 9 yet, so for Frantics purposes Richard borrowed my (usually completely out-of-bounds) expensive Huawei Media Pad.
The game is installed via the PS Store and the Frantics free app is downloaded on each smart device.
We had a false start to begin with because Lyall's iPhone's battery was flat (where's the rolling eyes emoji when I need it) but after an hour's impatient wait we were all ready to begin.
How does it work?
It's very clever, really. To get started, each player opens the app on their phone or tablet and is instructed to take a selfie. Cue silly faces from everybody. Then, a big button appears on each phone screen and your silly selfies appear up on the telly, along with a wooden crate each.
The app on the phones tell you what to do as you go along - the first instruction is to shake the phone to smash the crate. Inside each crate is your player's randomly selected character (mine's was a baboon, causing an enormous roar of laughter from the boys who pointed and squealed at the telly).
Under the instruction of a menacing looking fox character on the telly, players compete in several daft mini-games (I'll reveal a couple of them in a sec), swiping, shaking and prodding their phones and tablets to try to beat the other players to the grand prize, which after each game is a lovely gold crown.
We counted six mini-games during our first battle, but there are fourteen altogether, in addition to some surprising secret missions.
Here's a magnificent illustration of the Fox by Lyall.
The controls are surprisingly effective and responsive - each mini-game utilises a different movement.
When a player is defeated within a mini-game, they're able to sabotage the remaining players by selecting silly weapons like freeze-rays and dynamite.
It's fantastically fun, very easy to control and surprisingly immersive.
Our favourite mini-game by far is office chair bowling. With controls a little like Angry Birds, each player's character is flung across the screen on an office chair on wheels to get as close as possible to the target. The boys squealed with delight during futile attempts to barge the other players on their office chairs out of the way. To add to the fun, using a little map on the phone screen players can plant hidden springboards which fling other players out of the way.
Another notable mini-game was parachuting, in which players compete to be the first person to land from a parachute jump. On the way down, you swoop around, collecting bonuses and barging other players around. The trick is to open your parachute right at the last moment, without splatting on the ground. Brilliant fun.
I mentioned secret missions earlier on. I don't want to spoil the surprise element of this game completely but there was a genius moment where the fox from the telly actually phoned me with a secret mission to sabotage Lyall. I'm sure there are many more exciting, surprising elements that we'll enjoy as we continue to play Frantics more.
Frantics is a very clever, immersive family game. I'm not sure that it's complex enough for a group of adults but for the kids it's brilliant; not to mention that the boys didn't squabble for a full 30 minutes while they were playing this! WINNER!
Also, it's worth mentioning that Frantics is only £15 from Amazon at the moment! An absolute bargain.
Anyway, that's enough from me... here's Lyall's review!
FRANTICS IS AMAZING
Frantics is a PS4 game that you controll from your phone. It can only be played by four or less people at once. There are a few games on there are about teamwork some games aren't.
The best things about Frantics are that you can barge people out of the way and into things. Also you can pass dynamite to people and blow them out of the game. But when your out you can saratage people.
I would recommend it to people who like action games. I would recommend it because as I said you can barge people use dynamite. I think if you love doing that on action games then you'd love Frantics.
I would give Frantics 10/10