Frogger Returns – The PS3 Attitude Review
Frogger is a classic franchise developed by Konami that started out in the arcades in 1981. Instead of just re-releasing the original game, Konami decided that Hijinx Studios should do an updated version of Frogger with 3D visuals and multiplayer gameplay modes. This doesn’t sound that bad right? Don’t get too excited.
There are four levels featured in Frogger Returns (The Big City, Subway, Sewers, and Swamp). There are five goals at the opposite end of each level and you are given 60 seconds to reach one of those points. In order to beat the level all five goals must be claimed. Obviously this is easier said than done, and that’s because there are several obstacles that can kill Frogger, such as rats, water, and cars.
The controls in Frogger Returns are quite simple. In order to move the seemingly sick frog to where you want to go, just press the d-pad in that direction. The only other button that is used is the Start button and that’s to pause and quit the game. You will be quitting very frequently due to the frustrations that will inevitably arise while playing the game.
The Sewers level is easily the worst in the game. Not only does the green sewer water look ugly, it’s distracting and it might even make you dizzy. The stage also has a random boundary at both ends of the level which will automatically kill the frog. It’s incredibly annoying because there is actually no visible reason to why the frog should even die. There is no immediate danger and there is still plenty of room before the stage actually ends. The only warning sign is a white line and you die immediately upon reaching this point. Seriously, it makes absolutely no sense.
The sewer level isn’t the only stage with this problem, but it’s the one that is just blatantly broken. Considering how two of the five goals are at the opposite sides of each other, there is almost no way to not die randomly just due to how horrible the level designs are. What’s even worse is that sometimes you just will die for no apparent reason. You could be standing on a log at the center of the stage with tons of time left and no enemies in sight, and the frog will just float towards the heavens and you lose a life. This happens much too frequently and it is incredibly frustrating.
There are actually power-ups that appear randomly in a level that will either reverse the direction an obstacle is going in, freeze enemy movements, add time to the counter, or make Frogger invincible. Even power-ups fail for the most part. Sometimes you can go a whole game without getting what you need, and then sometimes you can get four invincibility power-ups in a row.
The single player modes for Frogger Returns include Arcade, Time Trial, Score Attack, and Free Play. The modes are almost exactly the same but Time Trial and Score Attack have a level select option and Free Play has infinite lives. Frogger is built around the idea of getting high scores and there is a leaderboard in the game. There’s a catch though, they aren’t online enabled. Yes, that’s right, the scores are only local which renders them absolutely meaningless.
The multiplayer modes in Frogger Returns are fun but they aren’t playable online. In Classic Race mode, the first player to capture three of the five goals wins the game. Territories has you and your buddy battle to the death in order capture the most goals before the time runs out. The catch in Territories is that you can steal a goal from your opponent, so unlike Classic Race, the game will not end after three goals have been claimed. Collector is similar but now there are flies all over the level that will boost your score as you eat them. Fly Feast is like Collector but without the goals. All the modes are only playable in a variation of the Big City level.
One of the biggest problems with Frogger Returns is the angled camera view. When near the edge of a platform it’s sometimes difficult to tell if you need to make one more jump, and this can cause for pointless deaths. This issue is completely gone in the multiplayer mode though because the view is completely overhead like in the classic Frogger. An option to switch the camera angle would have made the single player experience a lot better, but it doesn’t exist.
The music in Frogger Returns is unmemorable and annoying. For whatever reason, the music will always start from the beginning again when you un-pause the game. The music is also horribly looped and once the theme is finished, there is a brief and noticeable pause before it abruptly repeats itself. The sound effects have the old school bloops to them, which is nice, but it only makes you wish you were actually playing the classic game instead of this unremarkable Return.
There really isn’t anything good to say about Frogger Returns. The graphics are horrible, the gameplay is broken, and not only are there no online multiplayer modes, but even the leaderboard is offline only. The local muliplayer is fun, but there are only slight variations to the modes and only one level to play in. The game features three gold trophies and one silver trophy and all you have to do is beat each level to obtain them. You don’t even have to beat them all in a single playthrough, you can just choose a level individually and still get the trophy.
Perhaps the game only being $4.99 should have been a sign that this was an extremely low budget title, but this is really inexcusable. Considering how there are similarly priced games on the PSN that are easily better, save your money and buy something else. If you’re a hardcore fan of Frogger, this game might entertain you for an hour at most. Do not support this game, it’s just not worth it.