App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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Frog on Ice just got a lot friendlier for the holidays. The latest ver. 5 update ads a much-needed continue feature to the game, giving players more of a fighting chance to make it to the end in once piece as well as to take a break without penalty. Continues are finite, so losing that last life at the end with no continues left still means a total restart, but continuing in-between levels (i.e. taking a break and coming back, getting a call, etc) is a gimme. So if you reach level 3 and need to stop playing for whatever reason you can finally do so. Hurray!
Plenty of people have been ice-skating before, but how many can honestly say they’ve done it using a long, stretchy, adhesive tongue? No, this isn’t a proposition. It’s the core concept behind SpinFall’s newest game, Frog on Ice.
Plop is an unfortunately named frog that’s gotten himself trapped in a very cold and relatively unfriendly world. He’ll need to fight his way to, and eventually defeat, the Evil Ice Wizard in order to get home, naturally. Each of Frog on Ice’s five levels features a series of tough platforming challenges and a boss that must be bested before Plop can move on to the next, but luckily the little guy has a few tricks of his own that can help o even the odds. Gameplay centers on tapping the screen to use Plop’s tongue as a sort of grappling hook and occasionally jumping at the appropriate time. It’s all about using momentum to jump large gaps and pulling oneself out of the air in order to avoid overshooting the landing, and so on. Good thing the game’s store can be opened at any point to start loading up on goodies. Plop’s health can be restored, extra lives and continues can be stocked up, and several power-ups can be purchased to give him an edge.
Frog on Ice has a simple and cute, but still fairly unique, style to its visuals that are actually pretty charming. I was also surprised to find myself enjoying Plop’s simple and simultaneously complex method of locomotion. It’s hard to explain, but there’s just something incredibly pleasing about getting Plop through a level’s gauntlet and taking on the boss at the end. I’ve honestly never played anything quite like it.
At the same time Frog on Ice’s controls are very “different,” and as a result take quite a bit of time to adjust to. Even after practicing I still ended up making tons of mistakes with the simplest of obstacles. The lack of any item descriptions in the store also seems like a big oversight and leaves impatient players who skip the tutorial totally in the dark as to their function. I’m still not entirely sure what the cape does. But by far the biggest problem I have with the game is the total lack of a continue option. Getting a Game Over requires starting from the first level and working up to the fifth, which is fine, but exiting a game in progress for any reason has the same results. At the very least, why not allow players to pick up their game from the beginning of the last level they’ve reached?
Frog on Ice might be a bit rough, but it’s a good bit of fun. It’s just a real shame that progress of any sort (save coins) gets reset if the game is turned off.