That’s the premise of Frizkey, a mobile game built by indie game development studio Finologic for Android.
This endless runner surfer game features almost stop-motion visual technique, solid graphics, cool audio and a couple of game elements that turn it into a product with great potential.
Interactive comic book
The first thing you’ll see when you start the game is the introductory cinematic, or in this particular case, more like a comic book-ish slide show, introducing you to the basics of the story. I expected it to also explain the basics of gameplay, but instead the mechanisms are explained as you progress.
Once the introductory story line is complete, you’re thrown into the game, where you will see yellow skies, red mountains and trees, and a number of (living) obstacles that you must avoid in order to achieve a high score.
As with any endless runner game, the goal is to survive as long as possible, while the game throws various obstacles your way. In this game, considering that you’re on a distant planet, the obstacles come in the form of different animals a person could stumble upon.
Not all obstacles are game-breaking, though. Some will end the game for you, some will make things more difficult by slowing you down, and some will even buff you up. All the usual stuff.
The gameplay is followed by well-fitted audio. A loop track in the style of surf rock (think The Beach Boys or Royale Monarchs) follows the cyborg monkey along his way, and it really does add to the overall ambience in a proper way.
The game monetizes through an in-game currency which can be acquired by both playing and paying. It offers the player cosmetic changes, as well as temporary buffs to keep him/her interested in the game. Players can choose to buy the monkey different surfboards for cooler looks, or buffs such as shields to protect them from obstacles, or magnets to acquire gold coins faster. Those coins can then be re-invested into buffs and upgrades.
As with any endless runner game, there’s not much to say about the gameplay, as it’s pretty straightforward. However, when it comes to improvement, visuals offer a lot of room. The game is built in a technique very similar to stop-motion, which can be cool to watch, but not as cool to interact with, as it lacks smoothness which is particularly necessary when playing a game that relies on reflexes.
Frizkey requires more smoothness in its transitions, otherwise I fear the low framerate could push people away from the game. Other than that, it is a fairly solid product, especially for an indie studio. It has a good premise, nice drawings, a likeable protagonist and a foreign planet, which leaves a lot of room for the developer’s imagination to run wild.
In future versions I can see different planets, different backgrounds, various animals and obstacles, and tons of power-ups that play with a certain planet’s gravity, speed and coins.