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Frogger Returns Review


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On 03/08/2010 at 05:55 PM by Lukasz Balicki

After being plagued by numerous horrible sequels, Frogger finally returns to its arcade roots.
RECOMMENDATION:

For fans of the classic Frogger arcade game only.

One of the most addictive and beloved arcade games made in the 80s was Frogger. It featured addictive gameplay based on a simple concept: guide frogs to their home at the end of the stage while avoiding numerous hazards. Recently, the Frogger series has seen numerous lackluster sequels, where Konami has experimented with the gameplay. Unsurprisingly, this ultimately ended with poor results. Thankfully, the newest addition to the Frogger franchise, Frogger Returns, is a return to the classic gameplay that everyone once cherished, along with a few extras.

There are two main components to Frogger Returns: single player and local multiplayer. The main single player mode consists of four levels, which are inspired by the original Frogger. The other single player modes include Time Attack, Score Attack, and Free Play. The Free Play mode offers players unlimited lives, no time limit, and no scoring. I see little worth in Free Play mode, as it contradicts what I believe is the main premise of Frogger: achieving the highest score possible.

When compared to the original arcade version, there are only two differences in the single player mode of Frogger Returns. The first is the camera angle, which is now slightly isometric, positioned behind your character rather than overhead. The second difference is the inclusion of power-ups, which include reversing and freezing traffic and obstacles, and invincibility. While some of the power-ups seem odd for the single player mode, they actually make sense in the multiplayer mode.

While I found a good level of enjoyment in the single player component, I have mixed feelings about the multiplayer modes. In Classic Race, you and another player fill three different goals at the end of the level with your frog. In Territories, each player tries to fill as many goals with their frogs within a time limit; however, opposing players can take over each goal with their frogs. In Collector, players try to collect as many flies as possible, then get to a goal without dying. Finally, there’s my least favorite mode: Fly Feast, where you essentially try to collect the most flies within a time limit.

To keep track of your high scores, all modes, with the exception of Free Play, feature a leaderboard. While it doesn't make a big difference to me, I think a lot of people will be disappointed that both the WiiWare and PSN version do not offer online leaderboards.

For a game that seeks to revitalize and reinvigorate a series, the game’s presentation is both outdated and underwhelming. All of the menus are very sparse and basic and rather than featuring colorful 2D sprites, all of the environments are in 3D, and poor 3D at that. At times the graphics seem reminiscent of the PSone and N64 era. While the PSN version features better graphics, the difference isn't staggering when compared to the Wii version. Colorful 2D sprites would have been a much better choice rather than the subpar 3D graphics.

While Frogger Returns is a better game than most of the recent entries in the series, it's far from mind-blowing. The real enjoyment comes from the classic Frogger gameplay, which still holds to this day. Unfortunately, there are several glaring flaws that truly hold it back from being a better game. However, given its value price on both PSN and WiiWare it may be a worthwhile purchase for some.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:


All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.


These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.


This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.


Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.


Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.


A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.


 

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