Does anyone remember Superfrog? I know I had never heard of it, but after doing some research, I found out it was an Amiga game released in 1993 made by Worms developers, Team 17. Well, the team is back for round two with their new rendition of the game, appropriately titled Superfrog HD.
Superfrog HD is a 2D side-scrolling platformer in the same vein as Super Mario or Sonic the Hedgehog. The story has a prince cursed by an evil witch who then kidnaps his princess bride. The prince, now turned into a frog, must travel the land, find the witch, and save his bride.
Superfrog tasks players with reaching the exit of a level while collecting as many coins, fruits and other random bobbles as possible. Players can find special power-ups that can have Superfrog glide with his cape, or fire off a projectile called Spud. For the most part, it is like any other 2D platformer. He can jump on an enemy’s head to kill them and certain power-ups make him run faster or invincible. It gives off a Sonic vibe by how fast paced the game can actually be, especially when using the speed boost power-up. The levels are littered with collectibles like coins and fruit, all of which increase the overall score. Secret areas are all over as well. These tend to give the player an alternate route to the exit and most of the time they lead to more collectibles. At the end of each stage, I was judged on how many secret areas I found, how many items I collected and other factors.
The levels themselves are never really point A to point B. Of course, the secret paths that can be found add more to it, but even if players don’t find any secret areas, they will see that Superfrog’s levels are more about exploring than it is about reaching the end as fast as they can.
The jumping is a little floaty, even when not using the cape to glide. Superfrog can jump relatively high and navigating a timed jump can become a challenge. The camera is one of the main reasons this is a concern. When the camera scrolls, it shifts so hard and so fast, it disoriented me, and every time the screen did shift, it always seemed like it was during a jump so having to readjust quickly was a needless challenge.
The boss fights at the end of each world are almost jokingly easy. In fact, the game is not a very difficult one to begin with. Sure, I may have slipped up with a jump and landed on some spikes every once in a while, but the game is so forgiving it never really offered up a big challenge. Granted, it’s refreshing to see a game that can be a casual platformer that even kids could come into and have fun, and Superfrog does offer some good times. When the speed boosts kicked in and Superfrog was running fast up and down hills, it felt like those Zen moments I got when playing Sonic.
The visuals are decent enough, but there’s nothing here to write home about. I do like the art style Team17 has used for Superfrog himself. He looks like a nonchalant super hero that just happens to be a frog. It has a nice look to it. The music unfortunately is rather bland and forgettable.
After playing the main story, players looking for more can do so in the challenge time trials. Here a timer is running down during a stage, and players can pick up time bonuses that extend the timer. These feel more straightforward and not focused on exploration. There are also numerous levels that can be unlocked through a slot machine mini game that is played after each stage. These levels are from the classic 1993 game. If players are still looking for more to do, there’s also a rather extensive level editor where they can spend their time creating their own courses. Needless to say, it’s not lacking in content at all.
All in all Superfrog HD is not a bad game. It has a lot of content for its price, and tries to bring on the charm with its characters. Most of it works fairly well. The jumping and the camera may become a bother, but the game is not so overly difficult that players won’t mind a bad jump here and there. Superfrog HD has some flaws, but it has a good amount to offer as well. Players who remember the original may enjoy this nostalgia trip. New players familiar with 2D platformers will know exactly what to do after the first two minutes with the game. It may have some flaws, and it may not be the most challenging game in the world, but it doesn’t stop it from being a fun experience.
Review copy of game provided by publisher. Primary play on PlayStation 3.