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Sunday, June 9, 2024

Wow, one of the PS2’s great puzzle games just came out on Steam

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Of all the remakes, remasters, and revivals we’ve been showered with recently, from the sublime polish of Resident Evil 4 to the more uneven ports of various ancient arcade games, I don’t think anyone ever expected to see everyone’s—or at least my—favourite launch day PlayStation 2 firework ’em up, Fantavision, to pop up on Steam today. It’s a delightful deep cut.

Titled Fantavision 202X, this updated version of the previously Sony-published classic has been developed by Cosmo Machia, most recently responsible for Castle of Shikigami 1 and 2’s Steam ports. Going straight from porting old arcade 2D shmups to this particle-drenched puzzler may not sound like the most natural leap in the world. But the teaser video on Steam, showing fireworks lighting up city skylines and outer space to pleasantly jaunty tunes, does make it look like the team working on it have accurately captured the essence of the original.

Fantavision came out in the year 2000, a time when Sega was still a hardware company and Valve was juuust working on a Half-Life sequel we’d actually get to play one day. It’s a puzzle game where you need to react quickly to mark and then detonate the coloured flares that appear on screen, the aim being to chain them together in various ways to create high scoring combos.

Like Tetris Effect, the simple nature of the gameplay combines with the mesmerising graphics to create an almost hypnotic experience. Fantavision technically only lasts a short while but still you somehow spend all day playing it until your hands ache and you can almost see the game running even when you close your eyes. 

According to the Steam page this new take on the colour matching puzzle formula is compatible with VR headsets in addition to standard monitors, and 4K resolution support is also confirmed, ensuring those fireworks are going to be as crisp and vibrant as possible. It’s also now possible to view replays of your games, either to bask in the afterglow of your point-scoring glory or just to enjoy the fireworks display you created from a whole new angle.

Fantavision 202X is out today with a firecracker of a launch sale, too—it’s 40% off for its first week.

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