One of five first-party launch titles for Microsoft’s Xbox, Fuzion Frenzy is a party game, similar to Mario Party of Sonic Shuffle. It’s a fast-paced action game designed primarily for multiplayer gaming. Of all Microsoft’s launch titles, Fuzion Frenzy received the least amount of hype, but don’t be fooled, it’s all about marketing strategy. In fact, with the holidays just around the corner, Fuzion Frenzy could potentially be the perfect diversion when your friends and family come over to visit. So without further ado, let’s get this party started.
Developed by Blitz Games (Frogger 2), Fuzion Frenzy is a party game that assembles 45 mini-games into a futuristic competition. The game supports up to four players and if you can’t occupy one or more seats with a human player, the AI will fill any empty spots. When the game begins, players pick one of six characters, entering a tournament with the goal of accumulating the most points by winning mini-games staged all across a futuristic city.
The metropolis comprises six zones, including a downtown and harbour front area, and the duration of the tournament is determined by the number of those zones you’d like to compete in (2, 4 or all 6 of them). Each zone consists of 4 mini-games followed by a final round, aptly titled Fuzion Frenzy, in which players can gamble orbs they’ve accumulated in previous mini-games, or deposit and convert them into points. When all the zones have been completed, the player with the most points is declared the winner of the tournament.
The mini-games offer a variety of activities related to their respective zones; from racing bumper boats and mixing beats as a DJ, to squishing insects and playing a variation on air hockey. Some mini-games have a team play option, which is activated randomly, while others are every man, woman or child for themselves. In either case, the object is to finish first, or at least place second or third, thereby acquiring orbs. With a few exceptions, the mini-games are simple to pick up, rarely using more than a couple of buttons during play, and most are extremely fast-paced, lasting a minute or two on average before a winner is determined.
Visually, Fuzion Frenzy doesn’t exactly showcase the power of the Xbox, which is likely the reason it wasn’t at the forefront of the Xbox advertising campaign. The game features an urban-future design, similar to Jet Set Radio, overflowing with coloured lighting and metallic textures. The level of detail is only average, but the result is a smooth framerate, which is always an important factor in multiplayer games. Audio wise, the announcer is an exuberant fellow and the soundtrack is loaded with techno beats, as one might expect.
The only downside in the sound department is the one-liner that each character blurts out when they win a mini-game. A little variety would have been nice.
Fuzion Frenzy, being the party game that it is, is intended for multiplayer gaming. While competing against three computer opponents is a viable option, it quickly wears thin due to the lack of a reward system, such as hidden characters or arenas. If you’re not one to invite your friends over for a little multiplayer action, you’re better off leaving Fuzion Frenzy on the shelf, perhaps renting it when the occasion arises.
When all is said and done, Fuzion Frenzy is a solid party game. The mini-games are all fast-paced and, for the most part, simple to learn, creating an excellent environment for some multiplayer mayhem. Unfortunately, if you don’t often host gaming sessions with your buddies, you won’t get the same satisfaction competing against AI bots, especially with the lack of a reward system. But as long as an Xbox party is in your future, be sure to include Fuzion Frenzy in the mix, whether as a rental or a purchase.