A new addition comes to the increasingly important catalog of PlayLink. Francis becomes a party game based on the mini-games, but it is played by plasticine dolls and controlled with your mobile. We analyze the result.
The PlayLink social games line is very important for Sony. This company, as happens for example with games intended for PSVR, is trying by all means to edit as many titles linked to this category, works mainly aimed at the more casual sector of PS4 users, although they can also be enjoyed by any other type of players.
To the recent Knowledge is Power, Hidden Intentions and other productions associated with the PlayLink label, now Francis joins. A title that clearly positions itself as a follower of the Mario Party saga, that is, that bases its proposal on the inclusion of different mini-games that, in this case, can be tested by four players at the same time. A multiplayer mode that, in fact, becomes the reason for this work by NapNok Games, given that it is a title that lowers integers proportionally to the number of players that moves away from that number.
Being a PlayLink title, you already know what that means: we must use our mobiles (or tablets) as controls. For this, it is necessary to go through the corresponding online store (iTunes in iOS format, or Google Play in Android) and download the application of the same name of the game to play. An App that, of course, is completely free and that is installed in a matter of seconds. Then it only remains to connect each device to the same network to which the PS4 is connected and everything is ready to start playing.
A party game for 4 controlled with the mobile
The game mechanics proposed by this production is very simple to explain. In its only available game mode, which can accommodate four players as I have already explained, we must face a group consisting of four main minigames , trying to obtain the greatest number of victories (which translate into crowns) to start with advantage in the final test, which is always the same, which determines the absolute winner.
What are these tests? Well as it happens in this type of proposal, it depends a lot on each event, in this case, there are 15 different minigames … a figure that although at first seems sufficient, when we play several competitions in a row we realize that it is not like that. In fact, this small number of mini-games that puts Francis in the limelight becomes one of the weak points that the title presents, thus limiting the possibilities it offers.
To parachute ourselves, to prevent a bomb from exploding in our noses, to fight on the ice trying to get our rivals out of the ring or to score goals in some very special mini soccer fields are some of the tasks we have to face. A collection of relatively original events that, as I have mentioned before, offer irregular levels of fun depending on each other.
That the protagonists are animals and plasticine brings personality
In terms of handling, the precision offered by the control system is directly linked to each of the tests. Although there are some exceptions, in general, the handling gains in precision in minigames that have a 2D development, because when we have to move through (small) 3D scenarios, this precision is resented.
On the other hand, calls the attention the absence of certain options (that seem to us basic in this type of titles) when the number of players does not reach the figure of four. In this way, it is not possible to adjust the level of difficulty of the bots controlled by the CPU as well as their quantity, something that is missed. And in the same way, it is not a game that offers different game modes more or less common in this genre, deficiencies that affect the durability of the game in extended sessions.
All this makes Francis an undoubtedly funny title … but it loses steam as we play. The surprise factor of the first games plays in your favor, but as the hour’s pass, the small amount of content offered is noticeable.
Regarding its visual section, Francis is a videogame that has been endowed with a lot of personalities and well resolved. It stands out above all its striking aesthetic line, which many veteran users will remember insight in classic titles such as ClayFighters, games that used claymation technique to imitate plasticine. Obviously, it is not a title that exploits even half the potential of the PS4 hardware, but neither needs nor tries.
The sound is not bad either, highlighting the dubbing of our language (although some lines repeat more than necessary), while the melodies and the effects fulfill correctly.
NapNok has had the great idea of creating a party game to Mario Party for PS4 with the particularity of being part of the PlayLink line. And the fact of being able to control the minigames with the mobile has its grace, although the design of some of the tests does not adapt too well to such handling, which lacks precision in certain occasions. But its biggest weakness lies in the tight amount of mini-games and options it includes, limiting its possibilities.
- Some of the mini-games he presents have a lot of fun
- Four-player mode and the App work very well
- Zorro’s personality adds spice to the games
- The 15 mini-games fall short
- The control is somewhat imprecise on more than one occasion
- Missing options such as choosing the difficulty and number of bots, etc.