In the same trend of work-as-fun games spawned by the Diner Dash series, we have what could be the least fun of all – working in a hospital during a weird virus outbreak. Come on! Think about it! Sure, we’ve done our share of hospital work with Carrie the Caregiver, but she only has to deal with little cute babies who aren’t sick! Fever Frenzy throws us into the fray of people inflicted with such diseases as bipolarbear-disorder, shrunken-head, and mothergoose-bumps. Thankfully, the basic formula that makes time management games addictive are all here, plus some extras. Namely, the crazy monkey.

Fever Frenzy starts out as a complete Diner Dash Clone. If you switch out the beds for tables and prescriptions for orders, it’s Diner Dash. Patients will show up and start sitting at the bench, and you have to have to diagnose them by putting them in the blood pressure chair. Once that is done, you have to place the patients in their beds – hopefully, you can match their pajamas to the colors of the beds. Then after a few moments of snoozing, they will start ringing the bell – you have to diagnose and write a prescription, then drop it off at the nurses’ station to have them prep it, then pick it up and drop it off at the numbered patient. When the patient is better, you click on them to “ring them out.” The bed needs to be cleaned before another patient can use it. Diner Dash. See?

What makes it different is the apparent humor in this game. All the diseases have funny names, and every patient says something different that matches their symptoms. Dislocated-pElvis will go “uh huh help me…uh huh help me” when he asks for help, the paranoid patient will say “I’ll trust you…just this once” when you hand her her medicine, and the animalized patients will make an animal sound.

There are also lots of little differences between each of the four hospitals you will work in. For example, the children’s hospital will have visitors, and while most of the hospitals have viruses that float around that you have to spray, the last one (in the Rainforest) features an annoying little crazy monkey who dances on patients’ heads. This ensures that you will be sucked into this game early, then differences introduced slowly so you don’t feel like you’re playing the same game over and over again.

Speaking of differences, Fever Frenzy features a randomized customers system. When you start a level, both the colors of the beds as well as the patients that walk into the door are randomized. So you’re guaranteed to never play the same game twice. This is both a good and a bad thing – sometimes the combination of colors makes it much easier to match colors and get a bonus that way, and sometimes it makes it pretty well impossible to get the expert score. The positions of the beds are also different in every hospital, and the game purposefully place numbered bed in weird places so you have to plan ahead – beds 4 and 5, for example, are at opposite ends of the screens in the Rainforest levels. It also intentionally creates detours for you as the game goes on to make it more difficult for you to get to patients.

There is a skill-buying system in place, so you can use whatever money you saved at the end of each level to buy upgrades for your character. This is both a good and bad thing. Well, it’s mostly a bad thing. Sure, you can buy upgrades for your character, but this doesn’t really affect the difficulty scaling in a good way. If you’re good at the game and you constantly hit expert, you get more money, and can buy more upgrades to make the game easier. If you’re not good at it, and consistently barely make goal, you won’t have enough money to buy upgrades, and the game gets harder. In a game like this, it’s much more efficient to upgrade your character automatically while using all that “extra” money for decorative purposes.

There is also a “perks” system where you are allowed to use your power-ups once during each level. These either stops all the viruses (or monkeys) or lets you heal with your hands, etc, that are really “super” power-ups. Fever Frenzy does get frantic enough that you will find yourself wishing that you could use a perk again in a given level.

There is a mini-game in Fever Frenzy, although you only really get to play it 3 times. It involves picking out DNA strands from a petri dish that matches the DNA strands shown on the left side. It’s a lot of fun, and really should’ve been used more often – I find myself missing the game a bit, since it’s not replayable via the map screen either.

Fever Frenzy does not save mid-level, but demands that you restart a day if you want to continue. Strangely enough, when you click continue, it doesn’t send you back into the map screen. It seems a small thing, but that means that if you went back to an older level to try for expert, but you change your mind, you can’t just quit it and do a later level. You’re stuck there until it’s over I also wish there was more interaction between the patients, but there was already enough “extras” in the game to keep me playing.

The graphics are lively enough, but they are hand-drawn sprites, and the animations doesn’t seem as smooth as other games in this genre. The environments that you’d be working in, however, are quite lovely – they have little details to them that really adds to the frantic quality of the game. The music is pretty good too – each hospital has its own theme, and it was nice to not have to listen to the same tune for 40 levels. Sound effects are stellar; the voice-acting really did a whole lot to enrich this game.

Fever Frenzy is definitely an asset in the time management genre – it has variety, good power-ups, humor, and most of all, it is awfully addictive, and unlike some games of this genre where you wish it was over by level 20, this one keeps you playing to the end, and the randomized levels ensure that no two levels are the same. Even though it’s not a Minute Game, it can be played when you can take a 10 minute break. Recommended for those of us who has good reflexes – it’s hard!

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