by Ryan D Lowe
reviewed on NDS
Games that follow a system of shape matching and color recognition are a dime a dozen. With so many of them, you can imagine that I was a little rebellious when the task of reviewing Frenzic fell on me. I was intrigued though. Before becoming available as a download on DSi-Ware, Frenzic was already available on both the Mac and the iPhone and a port from phone to Nintendo DS is a rare enough occurrence to take notice. Typically these arcade puzzlers aren’t my type of game but the more I played the title the more I could see it clicking well with your puzzle game enthusiasts out there.
Frenzic is truly a title that offers a quick diversion while you are out and about and need that quick game fix. The idea is to match pie shaped pieces within a pie shaped arrangement. A single piece appears in the center of the screen and surrounding that are six separate pie bases that need to be filled in with a piece at the proper angle.
It may sound a bit like Tetris – and in some ways it is similar – but the game does not ask you to busy yourself with rotating the shapes. In fact, ‘piece control’ is not part of your tasks at all: you rely on the game to produce a block that is the correct orientation for the piece you need. As blocks are generated randomly there is some strategy involved mixing and matching pies with slices, especially on the more difficult levels.
To up the difficulty level, a timer tells you exactly how much time you have left to fill the pies. It is no surprise that beating the clock quickly becomes the predominant challenge in the game. Fortunately the controls aren’t very complex. All you need to do to drop a slice into position is tapping the pie you want to fill up; it is as simple as that. Or is it?
To add gasoline to this colorful fire, you can match slices not just by orientation but also by color for additional bonus points and the occasional power-up. The effect of your puzzling efforts can quickly be seen on the high-score table that is placed on the top screen. Not only does it keep you informed of your own scores in real-time, it also shows you the scores of other players.
Fill the void
The game is unique in that it attempts to utilize the best mechanics from the most popular fare, but doesn’t quite fire on all cylinders on any particular aspect. The difficulty curve is too sharp for my tastes, and I found I really didn’t appreciate the true nature of Frenzic until a couple hours in. If you have a couple of hours to waste Frenzic will fill that void just fine, but with so many fantastic offerings from Nintendo’s DSi-Ware this may not be your piece of pie.
Difficulty curve too sharp.