Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: Frogger

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            The premiere title for the newly launched ‘Deal of the Week’ promotion on Windows Phone 7, Konami’s Frogger will surely be a familiar concept to any gamer worth their salt. Now enjoying its thirtieth year as one of videogaming’s greatest success stories, Frogger has been resigned to budget game status, but given the simplistic nature of its gameplay and its prolific distribution on gaming formats throughout the years, that can hardly be said to be a bad thing.

            On Windows Phone 7, Frogger is almost exactly as would be expected. Beginning at the bottom of the screen the player must make their way across the road to the riverbank whilst avoiding the traffic. Once there, they must jump onto turtle’s backs and logs which move at an increasingly quickening pace to get across the river to one of the available squares at the other side. Once all five squares are filled the level is complete, and the players moves on to a more difficult stage.

            Bonuses are available in the form of pink female frogs, which mount your green on-screen avatar when touched and must be carried to safety, and flies which offer extra lives when landing in the square in which they appear. Electronic Theatre ImageThese add to the score for your game, for which Frogger offers an Xbox LIVE leaderboard for comparison with friends. This solitary leaderboard and the host of Achievements are realistically the only things new Frogger on Windows Phone 7 brings to the table, though the Phantom mode will be a welcome addition for some.

            Phantom mode is essentially the same basic gameplay mode, with an overlay of your best attempt. The actions of the game in which you achieved your highest score are saved, and appear in your new game as a ghost frog. As the vehicles, turtles and logs etc. move in a set pattern, the ghost can help the player learn form their mistakes, but it would take a very ardent fan of Frogger to take on board the lessons it can teach; most will simply use it as their barometer for success.

            Two control schemes are available in Frogger, Tap and Slide. Tap sees the player touching the screen in the location that equates to the direction they wash to move, i.e. tapping the left of the screen will move your on-screen avatar left. Simple, it may seem, but there are issues that present themselves at the moments in which the time pressure is looming while cars are racing towards you: to jump forward, you must press directly ahead of the screen’s centre point. A little too far to the left or right, and you frog may not move as intended. Instead it’s best to stick with the Slide control scheme, in which a just slide of your thumb or finger across the screen in the direction you wish to move is all that is needed.

            Frogger is a pleasant looking game, brightly coloured and presented as charmingly as any 16-bit variant of the game, though clearly here it a choice of style rather than a technical limitation. The ghost frog in Phantom mode may not be differentiated enough from that of the standard frog, which can lead to confusion at times, but this is really the only irritation that can be leveled at the game.

            Despite the thirty years of significant progress for the videogames industry, it appears that Frogger is here as Frogger always was. A lick of paint and an added gameplay mode hardly revolutionise the game, but while Frogger on Windows Phone 7 may not be anything more than what you would expect from a basic modern rendition of the classic title, the Achievements, Xbox LIVE leaderboard and budget price make it a worthwhile addition to any mobile gaming collection.

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