Frogger is one of gaming most famous daredevils. He doesn’t want to cross the road to get to the other side, oh no he is in it for the rush he gets from weaving in and out of traffic and defying death. For proof of Frogger’s insatiable urge to defy death, just look at all the new places he is hopping about in his latest adventure Frogger 3D on the Nintendo 3DS. Stages include but are not limited to: city rooftops, a moving sushi bar, a warzone filled with tanks, and the wings of an in-air jet fighter.
The game plays just like past Frogger titles. You have a top down view of the action and use only the directional buttons to move. The bottom screen displays a grid that shows Frogger’s position and the end goal of the stage. The screen is useless and not at all pleasant to look at so all your focus will be on the top screen. The 3D visuals are rather crude and look more in line for a DS game rather than a 3DS title. Playing the game 3D provides a better sense of depth but does not make the game look any better; in fact it makes the already drab color palette appear dimmer.
Frogger 3D is not a complex game. The demo I played had three rounds per level with the difficultly escalating after each round. Your objective is to reach the goal before the time limit runs out and without croaking. The controls are tight and there is real tension as you weave in and out of obstacles, sometimes escaping death by a hair. The stages remain the same throughout each round but the location of the goal moves around. There is a real challenge as everything from rats to tractor trailers threaten to turn our amphibious hero into road kill.
Each level introduces a subtle change to the gameplay. A level based on a casino card table is filled with moving cards that could potentially slice straight through Frogger or carry him back to the beginning of the stage. During the stage on the jet fighter, Frogger has to make huge specially timed jumps to make it onto another plane participating in the dog fight or risk falling from the sky. In certain levels, Frogger can jump on the back of a larger amphibian called a “friend”. These friends come with their own unique abilities such as eating obstacles before they have a chance to hurt Frogger or absorbing one hit, allowing Frogger to continue his mission.
Frogger 3D left a mixed impression. On the one hand it feels like a genuine Frogger experience with some inventive ideas for levels. On the other hand it does not look good and I was able to breeze through most of the stages in a matter of minutes. The full game will have 60 levels to navigate as well as an “Endless Mode”-- a version of the original Frogger that challenges you to see how many times you can successfully cross the road to reach the river on the other side. Frogger 3D would make for a good downloadable title but alas the game is scheduled for release at retail this September.