Hop little froggy! Hop, hop, hop!

First Impressions

Our first impressions of Frogger happened back when we were young and full of life. We had this awesome, state-of-the-art system called ColecoVision (your grandparents might have told you stories about it) where you shoved in a cartridge and hey-ho the game would come up on your sparkling 19-inch tube television screen.

It was so exciting to be able to play Frogger at home, as we had first encountered it at arcades where we would play until our thumbs began to suffer from early-onset arthritis. Now we could have all the experience with none of the horrible kids one would inevitably encounter at the arcade den of iniquity, thanks to this revolutionary home invention.

We, like George from Seinfeld, had wasted many a happy hour trying to get our protagonist across roads that began to resemble the Autobahn a few levels in, followed by water hazards and speedy logs. There was just something so addictive about Frogger. Once it became available as an app, we couldn’t resist buying it so we could relive our youth.

How it works

The app is no different from ye olde Frogger of ancient times. You have three froggy lives, and with skill and your wits about you, you have to try and get multiple frogs into their little slots without running out of lives. First you have to cross a busy road with trucks and cars in constant motion.

In the early levels they move like it’s five o’clock on a Friday, but as you progress they start to motor. The middle lane magically turns into a racetrack populated by cars that have obviously paid the government some bananas optional fee to turn a blind eye to the speed limit. It’s at this stage that you really need to look after your froggy. Luckily, you can move backward, forward and side-to-side to avoid being squashed, but some players begin to feel invincible and that’s usually when tragedy strikes. They send the frog flying forward, and although it manages to miss all the vehicles, it ends up in the drink, as straight after the road is the river.

The river has a number of logs going along merrily that you have to jump upon to cross, and then you need to get yourself slotted into one of the safe havens at the top of the screen. There your frog will sit with a big smile on its face as another magically appears below the road, and you have to make the journey again until all slots are filled. The logs, like the cars, move lazily along in the first couple of levels, but then they start to move at a clip like there’s an invisible waterfall just beyond the screen. Some of them transform to alligators that will eat froggy if you’re not careful. Later there are rows of turtles you can use, but be careful that they don’t submerge before you jump off or you’re going down with them. You can also get bonus points if you jump into a slot that has a fly in it, but you cannot jump into an occupied slot so bear that in mind.

When we played

It alarmed us to find that all our training (grasshopper) from years ago had completely deserted us. Even on the second level the frog met an untimely death under the wheels of a truck or by bashing into the bush between the slots at the top. We will say that unlike the joysticks of old, we didn’t find the touchscreen on our iPad as adept at allowing us to move froggy with swiftness, and so therefore we blamed it on the iPad, not our gnarled slow fingers when he croaked.

After a while we got better with it, although the alligators should have been fatter by the time we were on our 20th attempt considering the number of frogs we were feeding them.

We let the 7-year-old son of a friend of ours give it a try, and we were delighted to find that it took him a while to get the hang of things.

Our eyes glazed over as we began to recall with pride our days of 972,213,846 high Frogger scores. The child quickly got bored of hearing about our glory days and went back to playing Temple Run: Brave. Kids today …

Final thoughts

Whether this will appeal to young children when you look at the advances graphics have made in other games over the years is up for debate. It’s still a great game, and the thrill of keeping the frog out of danger hasn’t changed, but it’s hard to compete with The Simpsons when you look at Frogger’s old-style design, not to mention the ancient soundtrack. Adults may not admit it, but any of them who have memories of spending all their quarters at the arcade will definitely want to revisit their childhood by downloading and playing the inexpensive Frogger app.

Do not need to be connected to the Internet to play. Easy to understand. Fountain of youth in an app. Cheap.

May not appeal to tweens or teenagers because it doesn’t have the “cool” factor. Didn’t find the touchscreen as responsive as it could have been sometimes.

Frogger

Cost: Free (or $0.99 at worst)

Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android

Seller: Konami Digital Entertainment

Rating: E for Everyone

Three stars

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