Frantix E3 2005 Hands On

We get hands-on with this 3D puzzler for the PSP.

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Those who have played classic games and cell phone games are already familiar with Sokoban, or perhaps one of its more popular Western clones, Chip's Challenge. Frantix, for the Sony PSP, hearkens back to those block-pushing puzzles but does so in a fully 3D environment, with 3D characters pushing boxes around to make their ways through various levels. We had a chance to get hands-on with Frantix on the E3 show floor at the Sony Online Entertainment booth.

Frantix will include 150 different levels, with six different visual themes. You'll take the role of one of three different characters trying to make his or her way to the exit of each of these levels, along the way collecting gems and using aspects of the environment to both unlock doors and open pathways. The levels will become progressively more difficult as you make your way through the game, but since they're timed, no level will take you more than a couple of minutes to go through once you've figured out how to get past it.

You can push or pull boxes, and these will help you hold down switches, ford your way across rivers of water or lava, and protect you from other hazards, such as creatures. Sometimes you'll need to use the static behavior of the creatures in a level to solve a puzzle. For example, in one level, we encountered a beast called a catdragon, which made an orbit around a switch that opened a door elsewhere in the level. Since the catdragon always makes a 90 degree left turn whenever it encounters an obstacle, we were able to push boxes such that the catdragon would trigger the switch. This enabled us to continue on through the level.

Overall, Frantix looks like it's shaping up to be a quick and simple puzzler that would be ideal for passing away a few minutes in line or on your commute. The game is slated for release this fall on the PSP, so stay tuned to GameSpot for more coverage as the game gets closer to shipping.

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