Fuzion Frenzy 2 is the successor to Fuzion Frenzy, one of the launch titles for the original Xbox. Whilst the original Fuzion Frenzy was overshadowed at launch by a little known FPS title, the game was still a lot of fun in multiplayer. For the sequel, the series has a new developer, (Hudson of Mario Party) fame), and online play has been added. However, with only a few basic additions, Fuzion Frenzy 2 takes one step forward and ten steps back. Fuzion Frenzy 2 may be one of the Xbox 360's only party games, but even with the lack of competition the game isn't worth picking up.
The first thing you'll notice about the game is that the storyline is weak, but it just about manages to plausibly string together the idea that contestants have come together to engage in battle. Fuzion Frenzy is the galaxy's most watched (and thus, most exciting) game show. Four contestants roam from planet to planet, playing through mini-games in a bid for fame and fortune. The competition is set up like a tournament. There are seven different planets which each have a unique theme and planet specific minigames. This means you'll play in a fire planet, water planet, machine planet and more. Each planet has four minigames and the objective is to try and score the most points from the games and thus "claim" the planet. You'll need to claim a certain number of planets to win overall. Before each game begins you can choose how many planets a player has to reclaim, the lowest being two and the highest being five.
It all seems like a good setup but the scoring literally destroys the single player game. You'll get ten points for coming first, six for second etc.. This would be fine if the scores stayed the same after a battle. For some bizarre reason Hudson introduced specialty cards, throughout the tournament you'll win cards that have special effects, such as multipliers (2X 4X and 6X), minus cards and reversals. This means that even if you win a minigame convincingly you can still end up last, which is extremely frustrating. You can't tell what cards your opponent has chosen so winning the tournaments may not be hard; but getting the points will be. For one of the tournaments I was in I won all of the events and came third, that one element alone destroys the single player mode, you'll only play through the tournaments a few times before you'll just give up. Thankfully, If you don't want to play through the predesigned tournament mode then you can create your own, with up to 45 minigames.
Which brings us to the minigames. There are over forty minigames and some of the games have even returned from the original Fuzion Frenzy. Some of the minigames are good whereas others are just plain dull, boring and repetitive. There are a few melee games where you'll need to "attack" your opponent on foot but aside from a few basic rule changes the melee minigames feel awfully similar. Otherwise Fuzion Frenzy 2 has the same minigames we've seen before in other compilations, yes you'll need to hit the right button at the right time and you'll need to jump and dodge various obstacles. Pleasingly though, most of the minigames are quite easy to pick up and you can practice them before launching straight into the tournament, which is appreciated.
With the single player campaign only barely tolerable, it's the multiplayer where you'll derive the most enjoyment from Fuzion Frenzy 2. You can play against friends at home, or even jump online and play in a few tournaments. If you play at home and don't have four players, then the game will fill the spaces with AI, which is a little disappointing. We had a pleasurable experience online, the games are quite small so we didn't have any lag issues. A few achievements are devoted solely to the online component of the game, so we never had any issues finding anybody online to play. Without question Fuzion Frenzy 2 is far more enjoyable online and with quite a few customisation options you can choose which minigames you play.
Just when you think this game can't get anymore irritating you'll have the opportunity to meet the DJ for the tournament. The DJ will commentate for each of the minigames, which is ridiculous as he only has about ten lines. The lines become repetitive the very first time you even play a minigame, so after about ten minutes you'll be reaching for the mute button. If you want to endure audio pain then prepare for lines like "we can practically see our energy crackling in the air" and "I've never seen a battle like that" (which he did, last game). For some reason Hudson can't even lip sync the character which just looks cheap, the bad news is you'll have to see him in between every minigame; thankfully you can skip the cutscenes though. The DJ is so keen he'll even interrupt himself to make comments at times. Graphically the game is colourful, but the minigames aren't exactly pushing the Xbox 360.
For achievement junkies the game only takes a few hours to unlock the full 1000 points. The game gives you 100 points for winning a custom tournament game and 50 points for completing the tournament. You'll never have to come back to the single player campaign after about three hours, although the multiplayer could draw you back after you've unlocked all 1000 points.
Fuzion Frenzy 2 is a hard title to recommend even if you're a big fan of minigame titles. The Xbox 360 doesn't have any other minigame compilations, so Fuzion Frenzy 2 wins by default. Even though Fuzion Frenzy 2 is available at a budget price point you're still best off playing the original game or waiting for Rayman: Raving Rabbids to arrive on the Xbox 360. It may be worth a rent if you've got some mates around or just want to extract the achievement points, but it's not a game you want in your collection.