Frobisher Says!

Yeesh. You pick on one free-yet-crappy PlayStation Vita game and suddenly people talk to you like you like you just put a seal puppy inside a microwave. I kind of see their point. I’ve always vehemently disagreed with the assertion that games should get a break because they only cost $1. Frobisher Says! is free, so for the first time ever, I have to admit that I really shouldn’t be able to complain too much about it. But this review isn’t really about the value of a game. It’s more like a “I called WarioWare the best game ever and now I have to explain why WarioWare-like games suck” type of deal. Probably not exciting for the rest of you.

Frobisher Says! is a free PSN title for Vita that plays like that platform’s version of WarioWare: Touched! Remember how that one made use exclusively of the touch screen and microphone for its games? Yea, well Frobisher Says is mostly about showing off the random bells and whistles of the Vita. Sure, unlike Touched! it uses the face and shoulder buttons as well, but it can’t shake the feeling of being a glorified tech-demo. Those have a place in gaming, but the Vita already has a pretty decent one (Little Deviants, which has experienced multiple price-drops since it launched). So while my description of it as “putridly awful” wasn’t fully accurate, its not very good. Or good at all.

I do admire the artwork, which reminded me of Sesame Street. But the gameplay is devoid of sunny days.

One of the biggest reasons for that is the game is driven by scoring, yet it seems to be based too much on luck. In one stage, you’re a dude who has to swim to an island with a beach, using the triggers. Sounds like a perfectly acceptable minigame, and it would be if it wasn’t just totally random. But sometimes the island will be right by the starting position, and sometimes it will be somewhere off-screen. Maybe up, maybe down. You score based on how fast you complete a game, yet you have 15 seconds to finish the game whether the island is right next to you or whether it’s on the other side of the world. It’s totally up to the whims of fate whether or not you can get a high score, and that’s the one thing a game based on high scores should never do.

Or how about games that use the camera? There’s a few, and they range from harmless to horrid. The best one is a game where you have to follow a bird around your room with the camera, like a dumbed-down version of UFO on Tape for iPhone. At least that one works. Not so workable is one that asks you to find an object of a specific color. “Find something green!” Oh well that’s easy, my table-cloth is green. I said my table-cloth is green. HELLO FUCKING CAMERA!! IS THIS NOT GREEN? Fine. I have an empty lime-flavored energy drink bottle that is bright green. Here you go. Yo! Vita camera? You awake? I know you’re a cheap piece of shit and it’s shocking Sony would have included something so outdated in their new technology-pushing handheld, but you should be able to tell this is green! You can’t? Seriously? Fine. Here’s an Xbox 360 case. Oh, that got it, huh? But time is up and I score no points. Why you prick.

Come to think of it, it’s actually kind of funny that a game like this, designed to showcase the bells and whistles of the Vita, actually proves that’s its kind of a piece of shit in many ways. Back down, Sony fanboys. I still love my Vita, but that doesn’t mean I give it a treat when it pisses on the carpet. The rear-touch panel seemed like a good idea, but I’ve been cross with it since it ruined Touch My Katamari on launch day and we haven’t been on speaking terms since. I’m actually curious who at Sony thought this would work. When I play a handheld (especially a bulky one with a ginormous screen like the Vita), I rest my fingers on the back of the unit. I honestly don’t know who wouldn’t, except maybe people missing the top knuckles on their fingers, the poor bastards. It’s caused me annoyance in a few games, and I don’t seem to have the dexterity to use it properly when a game wants me to do something on both the front and rear touch panels. In Frobisher Says! it wants you to squash people wearing hats by pinching them on the Vita. I had trouble lining them up right. But that one might just be on me, so instead I’ll complain about how the back scratching minigame felt really fickle and unresponsive.

This game uses the rear-touch panel for no reason, and the whole “sneak stealthily past the alligator-man bit” didn’t work all that well because it seemed to look back at you in random intervals.

Again, I kind of feel like the school bully, picking on the cross-eyed freckled kid with the coke-bottle glasses and the bad lisp here. Frobisher Says! is free, and according to most gamers, that entitles it to a free pass. Never mind that they actually do try to sell you on an expansion pack for the game. It’s art and it’s free, so it should be given a break. No. If someone knocks on my door and offers me a free cup of malaria-laced cola, I’m not going to drink it. Frobisher Says! is a bad game. Yea, it’s quirky and has a neat graphics style, but that’s not what made WarioWare work. The games were playable and logical. The stuff in Frobisher either suffer from handling problems, mechanic problems, or just aren’t any fun. There’s not one piece of this game that is worth playing. It’s free for a reason: because it sucks and they knew it. There could have been a good game in here if some of the games were fair, but even if you get past all the technical issues, the scoring style and randomness kill it dead. Cathy Says: this game is junk.

Frobisher Says was developed by Honeyslug

No Money was spent in the making of this review. This is why I don’t play too many free games. Because otherwise I would be able to use this line to talk about the minigame that required you to say the character’s name, only it doesn’t matter if you actually say its name or not. Any words or noise will do. That why I called Frobisher “Ace Yumberfuck.” When it asked me to say his name in Spanish, it was “El-Ace Yumberfuck.” Classy!

About Indie Gamer Chick
Indie game reviews and editorials.

4 Responses to Frobisher Says!

  1. “Malaria-laced cola.” I love it.

  2. Pingback: Indie Links Round-Up: What Big Teeth You Have | The Indie Game Magazine - Indie Game Reviews, Previews, News & Downloads

  3. Lamony says:

    Hey my girlfriend likes it. It’s fun.

  4. Pingback: Dude, Stop | Indie Gamer Chick

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