Frantics Review

March 20, 2018

There’s nothing quite like getting a group of friends together in the same room and playing some video games. There’s an atmosphere that is simply unmatched in any other form of gaming, but it feels like this has been lost in recent years. PlayStation’s Playlink series of games are all built to encourage and rekindle this magic experience of gathering your friends around a single big screen to play together. Frantics is the latest game in the series, providing a fun, competitive experience hampered by clumsy controls and repetitious content.

Mini-game collections such as Frantics are at the mercy of certain, specific concepts and designs to be truly engaging and enjoyable experience. One of these is their ease of access, chiefly how easily you can get a group of people into the game. This is one area where Frantics both excels and utterly fails. Using mobile phones as controllers generally means everyone already has the requisite device to play, unless the player is a young child, allowing for a super low barrier to entry. Unfortunately, this barrier is then pushed right back up by the requirement of downloading a specific app to play makes the game less accessible than say Jackbox Party Pack. Where the game’s accessibility truly falls over, however, is in the clumsy way you must access the game from that same app. For you and your friends to play together, you all have to be connected to the same Wi-Fi network as the PlayStation 4. This wouldn’t really be an issue, unless you’re like myself and have a router which utilises multiple frequency bands, resulting in questions of ‘was it the one with 2G or 5G that I needed to connect to?’. You can avoid this pain by using the PlayStation 4’s in-built Wi-Fi emitter, but be ready for a 20 digit auto-generated password that everybody needs to key in. It’s an all-round clumsy implementation that actively pushes you away before you even begin playing the actual game.

The other truly defining concept for a mini-game collection is if the games contained within it are fun to play. This is another area where Frantics invitingly pulls you in with one hand, while occasionally forcing you back away with a poorly timed punch to the chin. Frantics’ mini-games are relatively short, almost bite-sized, competitive games designed to drive a wedge between you and your nearest and dearest. Proving you’re the best isn’t good enough, with every mini-game including some element of sabotage or direct action designed to destroy your friends at the same time. This ranges from forcing terrible ‘upgrades’ onto your friend’s race-cars to deliberately dive-bombing friends into thumbtacks. Games can quickly become heated, but they also create an exciting experience and exhilarating atmosphere that are exactly what I want from this style of game. The fact that the content in the game is well-designed and fun, just makes its small size all the more frustrating. The low number of mini-games means that you’ll can begin repeating content within only a few sessions with the game, resulting in some quickly diminishing returns.

Unfortunately, the small size of the game is the least of its problems, with the real frustration of Frantics coming from the same thing that makes it so accessible – mobile phones. Frantics relies on mobile phones for everything you do within the game, which obviously means that you play all of these mini-games utilising your mobile phone. Of course, when every mini-game is based around some form of movement, this mean you’ll be utilising gestures and gyros to control your on-screen counterpart. While mobile controls aren’t themselves a death knell, many of Frantics mini-games require a certain precision that is actively hampered by inherently imprecise phone screens and gyros. Think about trying to quickly dodge holes opening up in the floor in front of you using motion controls or changing direction quickly with gestures on your phone screen. While phones lower the barrier of entry to the game, their requirement actually hampers the overall experience with Frantics in a way that a controller wouldn’t.

In reality, despite the game’s faults, Frantics is a fun game to play with up to 4 players. The mini-games themselves are well-designed, actively promoting engagement and a competitive atmosphere. It’s just unfortunate that a clumsy integration of mobile phones into the games core design frustrates and detracts from the experience. At $24.95 RRP, Frantics is good value for some fun with friends, just be aware of its shortcomings before jumping in.


- Fun and competitive mini-games
- Low barrier of entry


- Clumsy mobile phone controls
- Unfriendly design decisions
- Lack of content means results in oft-repeated mini-games

Overall Score: