Frantics (PlayLink)

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Have you ever thought, “Man, I wish I could invite my friends over to play a game,” but then realised all your friends have little-to-no skill with a controller? Well, stay tuned, because I bring tidings of great joy.

A new age of party games is dawning, and it comes in the form of PlayLink – a new approach to gaming by Playstation! Remember the good old days of Singstar and Buzz? Remember how much it cost to buy all the mics and special controllers to play them? 

Now you can forget all that because I have some good news for you! With PlayLink, all you need is your PS4 and a smart device. ISN’T THAT ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC?! No more buying $60 accessories for a single game, no more explaining how to use a twin stick, and no more friends saying “Aah, I’m not good at games, you’re just going to beat me.”

But everyone knows how to use their cellphone! And if you’d rather use a tablet, that’s absolutely fine as well! You can use any device so long as it has access to an app store.

Now your friends will have no excuse not to play with you! And they’ll even have fun too, I guarantee it!

One of Playstation’s newest PlayLink games is Frantics. It’s a cross between Gang Beasts and Buzz Junior, where you control plasticine animal avatars and compete against each other in a series of mini-games! Frantics allows two to four players, but it’s made for four. I really recommend scrambling together a quartet to bring out the full potential of what this game has to offer.

The game will drop in AI to take the place of any non-human player so you will always have four in a game

Once you start Frantics up, the first thing you notice is that this game is seriously cute! In the character select menu, you break open your avatar’s crate and then randomise their shape by shaking your phone around. And then in the mini-games they make the sweetest sounds as they whizz around and bump into each other. They sort of remind me of Sid from Ice Age, except they’re actually endearing.

Despite losing very badly in this round, I couldn’t get mad because these guys are so fricken adorable. And you come to realise, that’s all that really matters

We had a lot of fun playing in a tournament-style game mode where you win rounds to get crowns. At the end of the tournament is a grand finale, where all the crowns you’ve won are converted into lives as you tussle in a classic Last Man Standing battle to the death. If you happen to die early in a game round, keep paying attention! Because you may just have the chance to sabotage the remaining players with freeze rays, random rocket boosts and other unexpected mishaps.

One of our favourite mini-games was Chair Riots (heh, punny), which is sort of like bowls or petanque. Except instead of throwing heavy balls, you’re pushing your animal in a wheelie chair toward the bullseye. One of the cool things about this mini-game is that everyone can set a secret trap, which springs your opponents (or you, if you’re clumsy) up into the air and most likely off the map.

If you manage to avoid them all, you might be rewarded with a spectacular gymnastics show

If you, like us, discover you have a few games that you really, really like, instead of going through the randomised Fox’s Party game mode, you can choose to either play a certain mini-game or create your own tournament! You can even choose how the tournament ends, by Last Man Standing rules, or an auction to buy more crowns and hopefully kick first place out of their seat.

What’s more fun than taking away a win from someone when they were so close?!

We had a blast playing Frantics, but we only played for about an hour and a half before moving onto That’s You! (another fantastic PlayLink game). Despite Frantics drawing me in very easily and producing many laughs, it wasn’t quite able to hold my attention for as long as I wanted it to. After a couple of playthroughs of Fox’s Party, you feel pretty done with the game for the evening.

While I’ve given Frantics a good seven, I give PlayLink in general a 10. The fact that I can convince my controller-phobic friends over for a game night is one of the best gifts the universe can give me.

Thank you, universe!

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