Whiskey Mafia: Frank’s Story – Review
Follow Genre: Action game
Developer: FastGame
Publisher: Chili Dog Interactive
Platform: PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One
Tested on: Switch

Whiskey Mafia: Frank’s Story – Review

Site Score
Good: Appealing pixel art graphics
Bad: Nothing about the game feels like it matters
User Score
(1 votes)
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 3.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Hands up if you’ve never heard of the Whiskey Mafia series before. To our surprise, Whiskey Mafia: Frank’s Story is actually the second game in developer FastGame’s budding Whiskey Mafia franchise, following last year’s Whiskey Mafia: Leo’s Family. We hadn’t heard of these games either, but given that mafia games are a mainstay and that we do enjoy the occasional glass of whiskey, we didn’t mind checking out what Frank’s Story has to offer. Is this game an offer you can’t refuse or should there be an omertà on it?


As the subtitle indicates, Whiskey Mafia: Frank’s Story tells the story of Frank, a down-on-his-luck postman who ditches his job with the postal services to pursue a life as a criminal. Frank’s boss is holding back the paychecks of the postal workers, which interferes with Frank’s love life as he is unable to buy a new coat to impress his beloved. Not to mention he can’t take her out on dates either. A chance encounter with an old friend provides Frank with the means to rob the post office, stealing back not just the money that his boss owes him but also the paychecks of his coworkers. With these ill-gotten gains, Frank purchases a bar, which soon becomes the center of his mafia operation, all in the name of love. In all honesty, it’s a ham-fisted story that requires the player to abandon real-world logic. It also doesn’t help that the writing was clearly not done by a native speaker. While Frank’s Story isn’t riddled with spelling and grammar errors, the dialogue feels unnatural and stilted.


The pixel art visuals are probably the most appealing element of Frank’s Story. The game manages to pull off the simplistic visuals. The detailed environments -especially the outside environments- are filled with small details that make for an immersive world. Character sprites fill the streets going about their daily lives as a variety of classic cars drive by. Most of the townsfolk can’t be interacted with, and are just there to fill the world and make it feel more alive, and this works like a charm. Although the aesthetic employed here is pleasing to look at, the graphics don’t really push the boundaries of what the Switch can handle, so everything runs smooth as butter. Admittedly, this feels like a game that’s not perfectly suited for the Switch’s handheld mode, as the font is really small and can be illegible when you’re playing on a tiny screen. This isn’t an issue when playing docked or on a large screen of course, but Switch Lite owners beware.


There isn’t a whole lot we can say about Frank’s Story’s soundscape. The background music is jazzy and period-appropriate but never takes front stage. It’s utterly forgettable and is simply there to break the silence. With no voice acting and sound effects that are seemingly imported from a generic database, you have a soundscape that is functional but unremarkable.


After having spent a few hours with Frank’s Story, we’re still not quite sure what this game is supposed to be, or even what genre it belongs to. It’s a narrative-driven experience for sure, but the gameplay that is interspersed between the story segments is all over the place… and in all honesty, it isn’t all that fun either. The aim of the game is of course to build a successful crime empire from your bar but before you get to that point, you’ll be confronted with a frustrating amount of tedious tasks. These take on the form of mini-”games”, for lack of a better term, although they are overly simplistic and left us wondering what the point was. Adding insult to injury is that despite the seeming simplicity, there appears to be more to the gameplay at the bar but the game doesn’t offer any form of tutorial or explanation here, leaving you to your own devices. Either we were missing a significant chunk of gameplay -in which case the developer failed to communicate it to the players- or there simply wasn’t anything to that specific gameplay element, neither of which is a good outcome.

During the opening stages of the game, Frank is still working as a postman and your first few tasks involve delivering letters. There’s no real challenge or anything innovative about this part of the game. You simply get a list of house numbers and then you simply walk down the street and put a letter in each mailbox that you’ve been assigned. Doing this usually triggers a conversation with the inhabitant of the house that the mailbox belongs to. That’s it. There is no minigame, nothing to incentivize you to keep playing. If the point of this part of the game was to make the player realize how bad Frank’s job is, then developer FastGame got the point across, but at this point, you’re too early in the game to care about the protagonist (and unfortunately, the game never succeeds in making you start to do so).

After a few rounds of mail delivery, things move on to the “mafia” part of the game, which introduces gameplay that is more exciting by comparison, but still pretty bad overall. The focus here is mostly on managing the bar, which is equally confusing and boring. This part of the game takes on the form of a minigame. Patrons will walk into the bar and order one of three drinks. Your task is to ensure that they get their drink, which is done by simply clicking on the speech bubble and ensuring that you have the right drink in stock. Once again, there is no challenge here -you don’t have to select the drink when you want to serve it to them, and there seems to be no penalty for not serving a patron.

All you need to do is make sure you have a steady supply of either whiskey, beer, or wine. You start out with $100 and a small supply of drinks and you’ll make money for each drink served. The money you earn can then be spent on restocking your supply. When the clock reaches midnight, the day will end and your starting money and drink supply resets. We were confused as to why we’d have to put in an effort here as maximizing profit had seemingly no effect on the outcome for the next day. We should also point out that this part of the game suffers from awkward and clunky controls, although given how poorly everything was designed here, the poor control scheme might simply be part of the challenge.

Rounding things out on the gameplay front are combat sections that see Frank take on hordes of enemy mobsters for a variety of reasons, whether it’s protecting his barber Luigi or while stealing a supply of booze. Fights are incredibly simplistic: Frank can either deliver a fast punch or a more powerful uppercut. We found that simply spamming the fast punch was enough to take down most enemies. If you feel like we went into way too much detail in how the various gameplay elements work, then be aware that what we just described is everything there is to this game. The gameplay feels pointless and inconsequential, and serves only as a break between serving up story elements. It’s probably Frank’s Story‘s biggest issue: everything about it feels empty, pointless, and inconsequential.


The gorgeous pixel art got up our hopes but they were rapidly crushed once we actually got to grips with the gameplay. Whiskey Mafia: Frank’s Story is functional but there is no sense of progress or satisfaction in playing through what the game throws at you. The only incentive one might have is to see how the story plays out, but given how mediocre it turned out to be, and how poor the writing is, there is very little point in doing so. If you’re desperate to play a mafia-themed game, there are far better alternatives out there, so you can simply skip this one. You’re n21ot missing out on much by skipping Whiskey Mafia: Frank’s Story.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 3.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
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Whiskey Mafia: Frank's Story - Review, 3.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

1 Comment

  1. […] This entry in the Whiskey Mafia series serves as a prequel to Whiskey Mafia: Frank’s Story –which we’ve reviewed recently– and brings back the familiar blend of whiskey, mafia, and jazz. In Leo’s Family, we meet a […]

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