In my opinion, Sony could have done a much better job of showing off software for their still-new PlayStation Vita at this year’s E3. Such a statement may seem more appropriate in an editorial piece rather than a preview but I find it hard to otherwise describe the bewilderment I felt when perusing the Vita section of their booth and finding so many interesting games I had not heard of before. One such title was Frobisher Says, which was apparently offered as a Vita pre-order incentive in some parts of Europe and will finally make its debut stateside this summer.
Frobisher Says is a microgame collection, similar to Nintendo’s Warioware franchise, that tasks players with completing a string of challenges that take advantage of the Vita’s many unique control inputs. The various game types require you to play by moving the analog sticks, mashing buttons in the correct order, making noise into the microphone, and manipulating objects using the front and rear touchscreens.
The very first game I encountered ordered me to “Squash the Toffs” and presented a screen full of gentlemen, seemingly made out of clay, wearing fine hats. I squashed them by pinching the Vita on the front and rear touch areas with my fingers which produced a sound similar to that of passing gas. The proceedings only grew more irreverent from there. One game wanted me to deliver Frobisher his pudding by moving it along atop a toy train. When his pudding was in front of him he immediately smashed his face into it. The next game asked me to locate a collection of stars in the sky that resembled a witch’s hat. This required me to move the Vita all around the room until I found an area of the ceiling that corresponded to the in-game representation of said constellation. It only took me a few seconds to grasp how inventive and physically demanding some of these challenges could be.
By far the most memorable and ingenious game I played during my brief hands-on with Frobisher Says was one where the goal was to make a half-naked man dance. As far as videogames go, controlling a half-naked dancing man is nothing special, but in this case you controlled the game by blinking your eyes repeatedly. The game took a moment out at the beginning to take a snapshot of my face. Then, while holding the Vita up to my face, it commanded me to keep blinking as fast as I could, which felt both alien and refreshingly original. More than anything the responsiveness to the movement of my eyelids impressed. Also it is great to know that if an unfortunate accident should befall me and render all my limbs useless there will still be at least one game I can play with my eyes.
Frobisher acts as the game’s host and introduces each new game with the phrase “Frobisher Says” in a high-pitched cartoony voice. The character seems to be an upscale brat (he’d have to be with a name like Frobisher) used to being the center of attention and having others do what he says. He wears a mischievous grin at all times and his face seems to change color from game to game. There were many different visual styles on display in the various minigames, as is to be expected with collections such as this, and the sound design is likewise incongruous and exciting.
In total there are around 50 unique games available in the full version of Frobisher Says. The best part is that the game will be available completely free of charge. So consider this an early PSA giving you a heads up that a quirky and addicting new minigame collection is heading to the PlayStation Vita digital marketplace. If you’re in a part of the world where the game is already available, Frobisher says “go download it now!”