Developer: Konami Digital
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
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So Konami's golden age arcade classic Frogger is now 30 years old, a fact some may find to be kind of crazy. In fact, the premise of Frogger Decades is that Frogger has to track down his presents for his 30th birthday which have been stolen by Doc Croc, one of the several supporting characters the Frogger franchise apparently has. The core mechanics of the series work as well as they always have but the game's attempt to mix things up is ultimately its undoing.
In the various Frogger games there have been throughout the years, one thing usually remains constant. Players control a frog that must safely hop his way across busy streets, dangerous waters, or anything else filled with hazards looking to take him down. Frogger Decades capitalizes on that last part by having its ten or so levels take place in a variety of locales like the forest, the city and even a pirate ship. Most of the fun comes from appreciating the varied designs of these long stages. The iPad's portrait orientation is a perfect match for a game as vertical as Frogger.
Menus and story sequences are presented in a colorful, storybook style and the characters and environments are rendered in vibrant 3D. Plus, the game can use the iPod's or iPad's music library, which is always appreciated.
As for controls, the touch controls work fine for basic movement, but they aren't precise or responsive for the extra tasks the game requires players to do. Frogger has to solve box puzzles with tongue attacks, determine which type of jump is needed for which scenario and too many times inputs are misread. Not to mention, the game slowly scrolls up, creating a time limit that can only be extended by eating flies. The virtual d-pad option fares slightly better but again there is a slight precision issue. At least when everything works though, it's actually quite fun.
True to its arcade roots, in Frogger Decades death is frequent and annoying. Luckily, there are numerous checkpoints and there is little penalty for death besides a slight drop in score. However, whenever players reach a checkpoint, something random will happen like Frogger becoming his pixelated self, which is cute, or the controls being reversed, which is horrible.
There are extra modes like time attack and the sort of social networking features one would expect, but the meat of the game is the fairly lengthy and mostly fun campaign. Too bad much of that length comes from a slight bit of feature creep. Frogger Decades is a valiant and somewhat successful attempt to make Frogger work today, but not all games are meant to last 30 years.