SuperFrog was Team17’s 1993 platformer developed for the Amiga in hopes of competing with the likes of Sonic and Mario. While the title failed to give the other console giants a run for their money, it did find a place in the hearts of gamers and has become somewhat of a cult-classic. Now 20 years on, the caped frog is back, and he’s looking better than ever.
The game tells the classic story of a prince who has just witnessed the kidnapping of his one true love, and then before he knows what hit him, is turned into a frog. Luckily, our hero happens across a magical potion in the nearby stream, which grants the prince the power to become not just a frog, but a Superfrog!
Featuring the same dated…err, classic platforming action as the original, the levels have you jumping, bouncing, and gliding over and obstacles and enemies. The levels are littered with collectibles and secret areas with more collectibles, with your only real objective for each level being to find the exit before time runs out.
The game has received a full visual overhaul. With vibrant colors, sharp edges, and an overall crisp appearance, the game is a wonderful re-imagining of the 1993 original. The music also stays true to the original. The remastered score is sure to bring back memories of those who played the original and even stick in the heads of those who are playing for the first time.
The title does well to add new features without seeming out of place or half-hearted. The addition of a slot machine mini-game at the end of each level provides the player with a chance to win points, lives, and even more levels. They have also included a challenge mode or ‘Frog Trials’ and of course leaderboards, great for those high-score junkies. Even an all-new level editor has been included.
For PS Vita owners, this game is a cross-buy title, so one purchase will score you a PlayStation 3 and Vita version. The Vita itself can even be used in conjunction with the PS3 version as a controller. While this has been done before, this time around they included a little ‘secret finder’ feature that when you touch the Vita’s screen when prompted, it will unlock hidden things around the level. While it’s not the most practical use, it is nice to see developers using the Vita in interesting ways.
Anytime you bring back a twenty year old game you run the risk of it falling short with today’s standards, and SuperFrog unfortunately does. The controls feel clunky and arthritic. Jumping feels delayed and the overall movement feels loose and slippery. Perhaps they tried to stay true to the original release’s controls; I’ve never played the ’93 version, but the controls do not hold up well to today’s standards. Had they only tightened the controls a tad more, it would have made the game drastically more enjoyable.
The level designs, new and old, feel empty and heartless, with levels consisting of a seemingly endless collect-a-thon of fruit and coins, which holds no real reward other than a higher score. Each level’s timer also is basically worthless after I found myself reaching the exit with five to six minutes left to spare. If the levels had been made a bit more linear and contained more challenging enemies, then I could see myself re-playing a level, rather than thanking the frog gods that I had finished it. The later worlds do add some freshness with enemies and other obstacles, but they seem jumbled and out of place. One enemy that comes to mind is a sort of fur ball with yellow, human-like legs. What is this creature? Beats me. Will it haunt my dreams? More than likely!
Overall SuperFrog HD is a love letter to Team17’s classic platformer that during its initial release fell short of beating the Sonic and Mario titles. This time around, the old boy still has some rust around the edges and seems to fall short of most basic platformers. Feeling more like a title suited for mobile devices and tablets rather than a home console, the game provides a bit of fun that is best played in short sessions to avoid the levels and gameplay growing old.
If you’re a fan of the original release and are looking to reignite those nostalgic flames, look no further. SuperFrog stays painfully authentic to the original, while giving it a new coat of paint and teaching this old dog a few new tricks.