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January 15, 2006
Frantix - PSP Review
Release Date Distributor Publisher Developer
8/12/2005UbisoftSony Online Ent.KillerGame
Save Size Difficulty Players Rating
128KBMedium1G

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Getting some massive air!
The PSP has struggled a bit for original titles since its launch. Electronic Arts, one of the biggest publishers the world over, seems content to push out ports of their major sports franchises (hell, we've seen two versions of most sports within the 4 month launch window!) and little original content, while many other companies are offering ports of titles which have been out for considerable time. When an original title comes along such as Frantix it's time to sit up and take notice.

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It's the Bonus Game Playground.
The idea behind this game is simple. You are placed inside a game world where you must reach the exit. To do so you may have to collect all the crystals, move some blocks to make a path, turn on or off some switches, avoid enemies, or make paths over water or lava. There's plenty more but that's the gist of it. It's rather simplistic, but the 150 levels will take some time to complete with bonuses awarded due to the amount of time taken to complete the levels, and many levels only accessible by completing these bonus times.

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The tracks curve and bend - sharply!
I guess in terms of problems the biggest one this game has is that it fails to live up to the potential. I mean how many times can you run around a level dodging some enemies, pushing some switches, collecting crystals and reaching the exit. Most f the puzzles are far too simple, even well into the game with only a bit of thought required, but occasionally you'll hit one that will have you completely stumped. Fortunately the way in which the game allows you to progress means you can skip most of the difficult levels.

While many would also cite this games release price at $49.95 as good value we have some reservations. Even before Christmas we saw one of the greatest puzzle games of all time in Lumines reduced below that price, and that is an infinitely superior title overall.

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The Penguin Bowling looks hilarious.
Graphics in Frantix are accomplished, but never jaw dropping. The game isn't pushing millions of polygons around and isn't filled with stunningly detailed characters, but it does the job. The cameras move smoothly and the frame rate is fairly solid. Unfortunately while some levels look wonderful, others can be quite bland, and soon enough the game starts to look a little too familiar. The game includes some bonus content including a wonderful port of the 2002 Academy Award winning short film called The Chubbchubbs.

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Some visuals are simply gorgeous.
Audio in this title is largely forgettable. Sure there's some background music, the odd ambient noise and some special effects, but there's not much here that leaps out at you and says 'hey, listen to me'.

Frantix is another title released just prior to Christmas for only $49.95, but unlike Sidhe's brilliant Gripshift this game can't come strongly recommended. If you're after a puzzle game for your PSP you still can't go past Q Entertainment's stunningly brilliant Lumines which is often discounted below $50 these days and much better value then this game. Frantix can really only be recommended for puzzle fanatics, and those on a tight budget.

Review By: Dave Warner

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GRAPHICSFrantix is good technically, some levels just don't look too exciting.
71%
SOUNDPretty average music and effects heard throughout the game.
63%
GAMEPLAYFrantix is fun for a while but slowly becomes quite repetitive.
51%
VALUEAt $49.95 it's good value, but you much better off buying Lumines.
66%
OVERALLFrantix is an original game for the PSP, granted, but that doesn't mean it's worth picking up - even at a bargain price. Sadly the game lacks spark and at times becomes infuriating. Probably one only for puzzle fans.
60%

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