Game: Frobisher Says
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Available on: PlayStation Vita Only
What up, Simon? Looks like your days of child glory are over. No longer will kids be forced to jump up and down on the spot and look like lunatic just because Simon told them to do so. Your reign of terror is over, taken instead by Frobisher, an interesting little creature that will make your children do far worse things than simultaneously pat their stomach and rub their belly.
Frobisher Says is a Vita title that is the latest in a series of light hearted games that follows the same mechanics as the WarioWare titles for Wii to the tee. By utilising what the PS Vita has to offer, you’ll be asked to complete a large variety of minigames to proceed through levels and complete in record time.
There are a large variety of minigames available too, no two games in Frobisher says feel the same. Whether you’re steering a vessel to their doom or scratching Frobisher’s back, you’ll be prodding the screen and swinging your Vita around like it’s got the plague, but you’ll never be doing the same thing twice.
Well, that’s a lie. Once you’ve completed all the tasks Frobisher has set for you in a certain round, the game will turn into a quickfire mode, where you’ll have to rush through all the tasks again, but with no count in. Frobisher will suddenly bark a command at you as you casually finish the last task, and it’s your own fault if you can’t keep up.
The gameplay isn’t the only charming thing about Frobisher Says. The style it’s presented in is, at first glance, incredibly crudely drawn pictures that not much effort has gone into, but after one or two games, you begin to realise that the game doesn’t take itself seriously in any number of ways. This is where the graphics work to an incredible level, the childish scrawls means nobody is going to be taken back by out of place HD. On top of that, they work intimately with the sound, which includes Frobisher’s manic laughs mixed among the ear wrenching plinks and clinks that make you grit your teeth, yet enjoy yourself at the same time.
Indeed, it seems like this is a game for anyone anywhere to pick up and play, yet I found myself withdrawn from the fact I was playing it. I instinctively tried to hide it when someone was looking over my shoulder without really knowing why, and it’s because underneath the childish charm that Frobisher holds is an incredibly odd underbelly.
I’m not saying it’s secretly a game with messages embedded within its interior, there’s just something about it that seems a bit manic. Whether it be Frobisher’s manic laugh along with having to scratch his back whilst only wearing his underwear, there’s parts that aren’t completely ‘okay’ about it. With its cheery, childlike exterior, I still wouldn’t be in a great rush to let my niece and nephew play it.
However, older friends and family were great, and if you’re a fan of the Bop It devices, Frobisher Says works in a similar way in that it asks you to complete a minigame and then pass it onto a friend in a circle of up to 12 until someone messes up. They are kicked out and it goes on until someone is left the winner. This mode is fantastic for a casual meet up with friends, allowing for casual conversation and a game thrown into the mix. It’s perfect for something that doesn’t require your full attention.
As crazy as Frobisher Says! is, you can almost guarantee that you’ll be laughing from the very moment you start the game to the moment you turn it off because you’ve just realised that you’ve been running around your humble abode for the last five minutes trying to find something blue just because “Frobisher Says!”. As repetitive as some of the games can become, when you’ve played through them a couple of times, you will hardly ever find yourself without a smile on your face while playing. There’s a lot to laugh about even watching somebody else playing the game, watching them run around doing what Frobisher tells them to do, screaming as they can see their time running away but they can’t find the right amount of light to play the ‘smile for the camera’ mini game. There’s no point in beating around the bush, Frobisher Says! is absolutely hilarious; perhaps because the voice of Frobisher is Kevin Eldon (of I’m Alan Partridge and even Hot Fuzz fame), or maybe just because it’s 110% mental.
If you want to take the game seriously though, there’s plenty of room for that too. Take to the leaderboards and try to beat the fastest time by racing through the challenges that are set.
VERDICT: It’s the fact Frobisher Says takes such an easy going casual approach that makes it the game it is. It doesn’t need your approval, because it’s simply a game to have fun on, and it knows that.
That being said, with 50 minigames sounding like a lot, Frobisher Says can get boring very quickly. Leaderboards are the only thing keeping you playing the single player mode for any extended period of time, so anyone not interested in it may find the game becomes tedious after only a few playthroughs. Once you’ve played the games once, there really isn’t much else to do.
Mixed with the weird vibe of steering vessels to the mouths of hungry sea creatures and poking otters in the face, I can see Frobisher Says actually turning some people away, but not enough to make a huge impact. Without really studying the minigames in depth, they just appear to be fun, tricky puzzles.
What keeps Frobisher fresh in my mind is the expertly executed use of such a crude style that really fits the mainframe of the genre. If you’re someone that doesn’t get bored easily, then you’ll find Frobisher giving you many hours of entertainment. If you like deeper games, then you’ll definitely need to look elsewhere.