There are bells, whistles, and even a Daft Punk song...
Frogger turns 30 this year, which means it’s time to cash in on the license by repainting it and reselling it to the masses. In Frogger, you control a frog who is trying to make his way from the bottom of the screen to the top of the screen, where his lily pad awaits. Along the way you must dodge traffic, avoid snakes and seals, and hop along moving turtle shells and logs. If you’re feeling especially froggy, you can leap for lady frogs and flys, both of which boost your score. In the end, that’s what Frogger is all about: achieving a high score. You complete a level by filling all seven lily pad spots, and subsequent levels are harder and faster, requiring you to be better… and stronger. Like a few games to come out on the PlayStation Network before it, Frogger: Hyper Arcade Edition is a jazzed up version of an old arcade game that you weren’t sure you’d ever play again. There are bells, whistles, and even a Daft Punk song, but don’t expect anything near the quality of the Namco Generations games (Pac-Man CE DX, Galaga Legions DX). What you get is a reskinned and reorchestrated Frogger; nothing too offensive but nothing worth ogling over.
When you start up Frogger HAE, you’re greeted by a three-dimensional frog dancing to a remixed version of Harder Better Faster Stronger. This introduction sets the bar at a height that the rest of the game doesn’t quite meet. There are many new play options including Tile Capture, Battle Royale, Lady Frog Rescue, Paint, Twin Frogger, Classic, Frogger Freak Out (a ‘randomized game mode mash-up’), and Challenges. All but Twin Frogger, Classic, and Paint are multiplayer battle modes. In Tile Capture you gain points for each tile you step on en route to the top of the screen. If you land on a lily pad, your tiles become locked for 15 seconds, preventing other colored frogs from thieving them. At the end of the time limit, the frog with the most points wins. Most of the multiplayer games have powerups that you gain by grabbing specially colored flies. The powerups include reversing opponents’ controls and freezing opponents. Battle Royale places all frogs in play at once, jumping about and grabbing powerups. Each frog has a set number of lives, and certain powerups allow you to take out other frogs. Lady Frog Rescue is fairly self-explanatory. Twin Frogger has you controlling two frogs at once. It’s rather difficult; an interesting twist on the game. Paint is probably the most entertaining new game mode.
Paint is a single player game mode wherein you’re tasked to step on specific tiles set in a picture pattern. There are 25 different patterns and a time limit for each stage. The patterns get more difficult over time, but since the given time limits are so generous, a bit of patience will allow you to clear the entire game mode in due time. I probably spent about an hour in Paint, mostly due to the deaths caused by my impatience. I then took to the Challenges. There are twenty challenges split up into five different themes (Paint, Twin Frog, and a few in the Classic mode of play). Each theme has four levels of difficulty. So for one challenge, you may be asked to score a certain number of points in Classic Frogger. The next three challenges set the score limit higher and take place on more difficult stages. There’s a trophy for completing all of the challenges, and you also unlock a series of videos that chronicle Froggy’s desperate relationship with Lady Frog. They’re very reminiscent of those old Pac-Man intermissions. It’s a nice touch, even if it doesn’t add much to the game as a whole.
Where Frogger HAE succeeds the most is in its aesthetic offerings. There are plenty of different graphical styles including 8-bit, hyper, Contra, DDR, and Castlevania. (The Contra skin is unlocked by inputting a specific sequence of buttons.) There are eleven different songs to choose from each time you play. Each has a different style ranging from chiptune to jazz to dubstep and, my favorite, the 80s powerballad-themed Froggy’s Lament.
So there you have it. Frogger: Hyper Arcade Edition offers a handful of new game modes, new graphical skins, and new songs. The biggest problems I had with the game are that many of the new modes aren’t particularly fun and when you strip away the extras, all you’re left with is a pretty looking Frogger. Leaderboards are in place for Classic Frogger, Paint, and Frogger Freak Out, but I’m not sure this game will provide the score-chasing mania that Pac-Man CE DX did. This shouldn’t be a problem for Frogger fans, but if you’re looking for something beyond the pond, you may have to wait for the 40th anniversary, where I’m sure a Frogger Hyper Ultra Arcade Championship Special Edition will release for the Ouya.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
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Developer:Konami, Zombie Studios
Release Date:July 2012
Price:$9.99, HK$78, £7.99/€9.99