Superfrog HD Review
Posted by Daan Koopman
Princely or wince-worthy?
Superfrog HD is the remake of an Amiga classic from 1993 and was made by the trusted people at Team 17, who are famous for the Worms series. The narrative is not really groundbreaking, but it tells the sweet love story of a prince and a princess. As with all magical kingdoms, though, fate has something else in mind for the romantic twosome, and a witch enters the scene. She takes off with the princess and turns the prince into a frog, who has to pursue the two in a somewhat revamped world.
The game can best be described as a 2D platformer, but it is a different beast from the standard norm these days. Superfrog HD puts its main focus on collecting many objects along the way like fruit, coins, and other trinkets. It gives the landscapes colour as you try to explore the levels to the best of your ability. It's fun to search for the many secret passageways, which open up alternative routes, and make replaying each stage an instant joy. The best part is that you get rewarded for looking at every nook and cranny, as it will all contribute to your final score.
Beyond the uniqueness of collecting, there are many tropes that appear here. The platforming requires the usual array of jumping, through which you can stomp on the heads of enemies and reach higher places. The physics are a bit floaty, however, and it requires a lot of patience to get everything on the right track. The prince is also sometimes difficult to get a good grasp of, as he becomes slippery at the most unpleasant of moments. This usually ends with you bumping into an enemy or performing an action that ends with death. Furthermore, when duking it out against foes, it's not always clear which enemies can be defeated by stomping on them. The game leaves this down to trial-and-error, which can be frustrating.
The prince also has a few power-ups to acquire, which can aid him on his quest. You can let Superfrog glide with his cape, which not only proves to be a worthwhile asset but also gives a better sense of control. Another example is Spud, a sidekick which you can throw at enemies in order to clear a path. This is useful for when you don't feel like taking an antagonist head on and leaves the struggle of timing your jumps behind. These powers combined with the level design make for the highlights of the adventure. The game isn't particularly difficult, but it is quite enjoyable while it lasts and when you can forgive its flaws.
The game offers a package of 48 levels in total, with a 50/50 split of new and old content. The original levels can be unlocked through an entertaining fruit machine, which you get to see at the end of every stage. Next to this, there are also special time trial arenas and these are way more straightforward than anything found in the main game. Along the way, you'll have to collect time bonuses to keep yourself alive and make it towards the end goal. If that isn't enough, you can also toy around with a level editor, with which you can create your own adventures. There's not really a way of sharing them and you have just a few slots at your disposal, but it's a novel feature and the possibilities are endless.
Graphically, the game has a whimsical look to it as it reminds you of old school cartoons. Superfrog HD boosts a colourful aesthetic, which looks quite sharp on the big screen and will certainly keep you engaged. The music is chirpy and helps to bring the vibrant visuals to life, but sadly it is all a bit forgettable in the end.
Superfrog HD tries really hard to be a warm and entertaining re-imagining of the Amiga classic, but there are a few bumps along the road. From a gameplay perspective, jumping is quite floaty and requires a lot of patience to wrap your head around. There is also a lot of room for confusion, which results in the ride being less enjoyable than it potentially could have been. That said, though, there is a lot of content for you to go through and the visual style is quite charming. The difficult may leave some feeling short-changed, but if you can forgive the missteps, this is certainly not a bad platforming fix.