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Frenzic - DSiWare Review

Game Info
Frenzic

DSiWare | Two Tribes / The Icon Factory | 1 Player | Out Now | 200 Nintendo Points
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Review
24th December 2010; By KnucklesSonic8

In line with their new indie-focused company objectives, Two Tribes recently brought Frenzic over to the DSiWare service. With the iPhone release achieving a fair amount of popularity amongst critics, Two Tribes took notice of this and felt it was a suitable fit for the Nintendo DSi. Were they correct? Oh yes, but that doesn't mean you should rush out and get it right away. Although the game is a good fit for the platform, it may not necessarily appeal to everyone. 

    The idea of the game is to survive as long as possible without losing all your lives. The playing area is set up as a total of seven different circles, with one main circle in the middle, and six others situated around it. Players will receive an endless supply of coloured pie-shaped pieces from the central area which can then be sent out to one of the surrounding containment units. But don't think you can just take your time and plan what you're going to do. There's an imposed timer that forces you to act quickly, with the speed increasing constantly as you begin to make progress. Failing to act before time runs out will cause you to lose a life.

    There are three different coloured pieces: Orange, Purple and Green. If you so choose, though, you can change the default colour scheme under the Options menu to something more suitable to your personal tastes. Filling in a whole unit with pieces of the same colour will earn you more points than clearing one with a range of colours, along with an extra life. 

    
Essentially, the game forces you to create some sort of a system to organize the different pieces the game spits out at you. Just when you start getting a hang of things, the game will throw you off, forcing you to compromise whatever system you were trying to establish. Because this happens constantly, it will take you repeated plays to try to get into the mindset of developing some sort of strategy to counter the luck factor. 

    Further, on the top screen, you'll see a display of what piece is coming next, giving you an opportunity to take note of its orientation. This affords a certain amount of preparation in how you approach the next few moves. The top screen also features a Hold container which can save a troublesome piece for a later point in time. This is activated simply by tapping the double arrow button along the top of the touch screen. It's important to note that the timer will still keep going even after you activate it, so if you're going to do something, you'll need to act decisively. The Hold function is clearly Tetris-inspired; nevertheless it does serve a meaningful purpose in the long run. 

    On the note of meaningful additions, three of the containment units feature special power-ups. These are unlocked once you clear a circle where the pies are of the same colour. These power-ups can clear all units in one sweep, slow down the timer, or temporarily allow for double points. It's crucial that you consider these, because these can act as a huge lifeline when the pace becomes too fast to handle. Having said that, I admit it's easier said than done, but the more you play, the more cognizant you become of these important features. 

    
Visually-speaking, the structure is good, and although there are only two music tracks that feel highly similar, they do work for the most part. What you see is what you get with this game, in terms of content and value. Frenzic is strictly a one-mode, one-person affair with no additional options of play or alternative gimmicks to switch things up. Gameplay can become almost engrossing after you spend a considerable amount of time with it, and I think the real-time leaderboard helps with that. The presence of this element in particular encourages you to improve and set your sights towards beating the ultimate score of 10,000 Points. 

    Admittedly, I didn't think a whole lot about the game at first. But it definitely grew on me as time went on, and I became better at managing the placement of the pies. True to its name, Frenzic does become more of a test of a person's reflexes later on in the game, and that's when the game is at its best.

    Frenzic is a game that will take multiple sessions to appreciate, but even then, some will quickly long for something else to play. It does have a moderate level of addiction attached to it that puzzle fans will love, provided they stick with it. Overall, Frenzic is a good "quick play" game that you may want to pick up only after trying some of the other $2 titles on the service.


20/30 - Good

Gameplay 8/10 - One of those "simple to learn, hard to master" games, items along with the Hold function add an element of strategy to counter the luck
Presentation 7/10 - Good structure, system encourages players to manifest their own system of organization, decent music
Enjoyment 4/5 - After multiple plays the game can be moderately addicting, a nice challenge for your brain, some may long for something else after a while
Extra Content 1/5 - Leaderboard motivates players to aim for the highest score, no secondary modes or gimmicks, not as strong as other $2 titles

Equivalent to a score of 67% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)

Review by KnucklesSonic8
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