A Hop, Skip, and a Jump
Perhaps not quite as popular as arcade greats like Pac-Man or Donkey Kong, Frogger has definitely secured its place in gaming history. Build for a more modern audience, this 3DS sequel of course borrows the main gameplay elements from its classic arcade ancestor but introduces new twists at an attempt to update nostalgia.
Just like the original game, the player controls a frog along an invisible tile based grid with the goal of traveling from Point A to Point B. Along the way are numerous hazards to prevent the frog from reaching the final destination. Pits, traffic, snakes, and other perils constantly threaten the amphibian’s journey.
New to Frogger 3D, each stage basically must be completed a few times with each successful run opening up a new and more difficult path to take. Along the way, coins can be collected and froggie buddies, like the big frog that allows for bigger jumps, are scattered throughout each stage. But even with these additions, Frogger 3D is still Frogger. That being said, the game isn’t exactly the most exciting game you will play this year. Sure, playing as a frog and avoiding obstacles was unique for an arcade game a couple decades ago but doesn’t hold up as well as one might hope thanks to some cheap deaths and occasionally spot hit detection. And if you die, yup, it is right back to the beginning for you.
The introduction of boss battles and even the addition of the 3D effect are fun and entertaining ideas but ultimately still result in boredom. Objectives like pushing spikes to pop the tires of traffic, using a tomato eating frog to open new paths, or jumping off higher tiered structures are typical gameplay enhancers used to help eliminate monotony or spice up gameplay. Although not all of them, many of these tasks feel more like a chore than fun. Fighting against a constant time limit can also be annoying.
There are also times when the 3D effect and the isometric view angle makes gameplay unnecessarily more difficult. In a way, this might have been by design as it usually makes each stage longer, which is an artificial way to increase gameplay. The graphics are colorful and are ok even through most of the game is quite boxy, but I am sure Frogger players are not expecting mind-blowing visuals anyway.
Even though there is local only multiplayer mode that requires a cart for each player, the most enjoyable and probably most played feature will be the Forever Mode. This is essentially the classic Frogger gameplay that scrolls through the same screen infinitely. So it isn’t hard to see that there is a problem when the original mode is more desirable than the new stuff…
At the very least, Frogger 3D is proof of how greatly mobile game design has changed over the last few years.
Is Frogger 3D necessarily a bad game? Eh, it is just that a game like this could have just as easily been made for any mobile market, sold for a fraction of the price, and could have potentially seen a more entertaining end result. With the lack of 3DS games on the market, I can’t help but feel that this game was a rushed opportunity to release a well-known name into a market that doesn’t have a whole lot currently going for it. Instead of a full retail $30 title, I would have preferred a $5-$7 DSiWare title that makes basic use of the 3D effect, has more emphasis on classic Frogger, and supports some type of Leaderboard or multiplayer mode… (hint*, take a look at Frogger Returns).
Not As Good As: you remember
Also Try: Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions
Wait For It: other classic games to receive the 3DS treatment
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