While most of the Playstation 2 launch games were lackluster and many will probably be forgotten by Christmas, there are a few titles among the crowd that showed that spark of ingenuity and deserve at least a little recognition. Fantavision is one such title, it's simplistic puzzle premise, eye catching lighting and impressive particle effects make for a pleasant and addictive game. Thanks to poor marketing and an awkward release schedule (puzzle games and niche titles are never successful during a systems launch), Fantavision will most likely fall into obscurity, which is a real shame because underneath all of those visual effects lies a rather unique concept.
The object of the game is to link three or more flares of the same color together using an on screen cursor and then to ignite them into fireworks. Exploded fireworks will ignite flares of the same color setting off a chain reaction and different colored flares can be linked together using a special wild card type flare. If it sounds simple...well that's because it is, at least in the beginning. As the game progresses the combinations of flares and the speed at which they come grows increasingly difficult.
This may not be the pinnacle of the PS2's graphic abilities but the game sure is pretty and in a strange way somewhat hypnotic. There is even a neat replay option that allows you to view your performance after a round and change the angle and weather conditions. The fireworks themselves use PS2's particle engine to great effect with convincing sparks of light. Even the backgrounds are well rendered and fully animated with sweeping city scapes and deep space vistas.
Music is a mixed bag of dance and techno blended with some new age styles. However in keeping with the hypnotic and psychedelic nature of fireworks themselves the music fits rather well. Control with the Dualshock is a little tricky at first until you get the hang of how the onscreen cursor works, once you learn the basics though you'll be daisy chaining fireworks with the best of them. There is even a respectable two player mode that has many of the standard options but is still a treat to play.
Fantavision was a pleasant surprise for me and a nice distraction from all those substandard games that have been trying far too hard to impress with graphics but have been missing the boat when it came to gameplay. Do yourself a favor and give the game a look, with Fantavision everyday is like the Fourth of July.
- Import staff review
|"Do yourself a favor and give the game a look, with Fantavision everyday is like the Fourth of July."