Frenzic: Overtime, is the newest Apple Arcade title released this week, and after having reviewed three puzzle games earlier, I felt I was more than ready for this week’s title. It is quite rare to review multiple titles from the same genre, so I was eager to add another puzzler to my growing list of games. Upon launching the title, I was instantly met by an affable little robot named ZAPBOT, who happened to work in a factory crafting Powercores (that strangely begin to resemble Trivia Pursuit pieces). I played the first level and felt I fully grasped the concept, and would fly through a myriad of the levels.
I don’t think I have ever played a game, let alone a mobile release, that was this hard. The second level of Frenzic: Overtime was difficult to complete. Fair warning, I generally play these on my iPad with a PS5 controller, and although this is compatible, I would advise against it. There are no in-game directions on how to properly use the controller, and there was quite a delay (a half a second per button press). I definitely recommend playing this on a device you feel most comfortable pressing on the screen to maximize accuracy and efficiency.
Frenzic: Overtime, follows the exploits of a cubed robot, who has to complete timed tasks while the sentient overlord named BossBot, watches with a discerning eye. The puzzles start off very simple; the premise is you are given shapes called cores, that must be filled with pieces. You may flip those pieces to complete each core, and that counts towards your progress on the level. The controls are simple and exact on a touch device, but using the controller proves problematic.
When using the controller, there is a legitimate delay both while flipping the pieces and when placing them in the correct cores. This delay caused the timed levels to be unbearable, and I was unable to complete the second level while using the controller (regardless of the inherent difficulty, the controller made it unplayable). I switched back to the touchscreen on my iPhone and focused on completing level five, A Day in the Life, the first three-star offering in the game. The puzzles themselves were challenging, as in level five, which gave us three distinct challenges to complete; Complete 3 Orange Powercores, Reach x3 multiplier, and Complete 4 Green Power cores.
Herein lies the beauty of this complex puzzle game; not having to complete all the challenges in one go. The first time through, I completed the Orange Powercore and the multiplier objectives but was unable to properly complete the Green Powercore challenge. I still got credit for the two stars and was able to come back on my own terms, and fully complete the challenge. I appreciated that due to its difficulty, it didn’t force us to get all the objectives in the first go-round, which I think would have been too difficult to complete. While playing Spire Blast, this sometimes was detrimental to my enjoyment and completion of the game, because if I failed one of the three objectives, I had to replay the level.
While other puzzle games that we have reviewed were relaxing, and only capped us on the number of moves, the timer in Frenzic: Overtime is quite unforgiving, and wasn’t an easy thing to accomplish on a level-to-level basis. It did, however, make the reward that much sweeter, but it was stressful trying to complete the levels on time. Once I reached level six, I felt the best way to complete the level was to tap as fast as I could to place the piece in the core, and then if it didn’t fit, switch the direction of the piece.
With some of the more challenging objectives, we have to spend Squarks (the in-game currency), to purchase items, in order to pass. For instance, level nine has the third objective as finishing two Powercores of the same color. The level only has one Powercore to fill, which makes either clicking very fast and getting lucky, or using the items to complete the objective. I am not sure if that would have been the mission outside of the Apple Arcade because it would have forced players to spend money.
Frenzic: Overtime is a fast-paced puzzler, which forces you to quickly think on your feet to be successful. With the other games offered to serve as more of a casual experience, I think I prefer not to be so stressed playing puzzle games on my phone. In later levels, you are matched up against an A.I. where each side is fighting to hack the other side’s captured pieces. It is like a more aggressive game of Risk and forces you to be incredibly decisive and quick. It is a colorful, well-conceived game, and definitely worth your attention, so long as you know this is not for the faint of heart.