Saturday, 7 August 2010
Frogatto & friends Is a freeware platform game that was publicly released in July this year, and is the story of a frog in search of work (sort of…). At the encouragement of his housemate, Frogatto heads out to find a job in the local town, only to find that it’s been over run by the goons of a local henchman called Milgram and the majority of the town folk are all locked up in cages. Frogatto is called upon to set the the town free and dispense with Milgram once and for all.
F&F is a game that incorporates excellent pixel art and addictive retro console game play. There are over 30 levels to beat and a variety of different environments to conquer. F&F has a familiar feel to some of the 2D games that where released on the Super Nintendo and the Amiga platforms back in the 1990’s. There is a considerable amount of detail packed into each level with highly textured backgrounds, parallax scrolling, gorgeous sprites and numerous power ups which can be bought from collecting coins that are scattered through out the different levels. F&F has many different types of level designs ranging from tropical themes, town settings, caves and forests. The quality of the pixel art is undeniable and the style does bear many artistic resemblances to some of the commercial titles of the 90’s era. Two examples of similar styles could be the Adams Family for the way that some of the levels are set out and the cartoon-ish character designs or even Metal Slug for it’s garish use of colour and attention to character detail. Certainly F&F could be compared to a number of retro titles (Mario in some cases), but fortunately isn’t a replica of any particular one.
Sound effects for the game are excellent with crisp, detailed noises for every interaction and a not so subtle “Ribbit” noise every time the character jumps. The soundtrack which supports the games is very nicely done and is very reminiscent of some of the Super Nintendo chip tunes but a bit more hammed up for effect.
Frogatto when up against some of the games bad guys has the ability to attack enemies with his tongue (he’s a frog after all), he then draws them in and stores them in his stomach (Yoshi?), from which he can then use the collected enemy as a weapon by firing them at any opponent. If he doesn’t actually manage to hit anything, the enemy fired out will remain unconscious on the ground for a while and will need to be dispatched, this can usually be achieved with a quick jump to the head (ouch). You can also collect and store items (such as keys) in Frogatto stomach until you need to use them, but you will only be able to hold one item at at time. There are a number of level bosses through out the game, that you will encounter towards the end of various stages, each boss is completely different and will require the use of a different strategy in order for you to advance. The difficulty of the game is set at a medium level, so it won’t be too hard for the average gamer, but will provide at least a solid 8-10 hours of gaming due to the variety of stages and the games overall length.
The only area I could really fault Frogatto & Friends in, was the ability under Windows to change the in game resolution (you can’t) and the ability to expand the window to full screen. The moment you try to expand the window of play, you will immediately find the graphics will become corrupted. Apparently this is a well know problem under Windows and the developers are working on a solution at present. To remedy this you could try to change your desktop screen resolution to 800 x 600 which is the in game default resolution, otherwise be prepared to play the game in a window! (Note a recent update has been released, fixing the full screen problem.)
Frogatto and Friends is an exceedingly fun game full of 2D platforming goodness, it has well designed levels and a playful story that will keep you involved with the character. It’s a game that will get it’s hooks in to you, leaving addicted until you manage to get right to the very end!
Frogatto and Friends is available under Windows, Apple Mac and Linux for free and can be found here