Konami's green guy celebrates his 30th in this brand new adventure.
Frogger's had the unfortunate luck of being a B list mascot, behind the likes of Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog, making him an ideal candidate for Dancing with the Stars or some reality TV show where he flips out and punches a drunk Aero the Acrobat.
That aside, the green guy's had a satisfying career. In fact, this year marks his 30th anniversary, and Konami just released a new title for iPhone and iPad to commemorate the occasion.
Frogger Decades is an action platform adventure that puts somewhat of a different spin on the classic arcade formula. You still guide the happy amphibian through hostile territory, dodging cars and trucks, but this isn't 1981 Frogger.
The levels, for example, are longer and more detailed, taking Frogger from those mean streets everyone's familiar with and dropping him into a lush forest and pirate hideout teeming with dangerous critters, including hippos, rats and dogs, along with frog eating plants and mushrooms that release some sort of gas that puts our hero to sleep.
Here's where it gets tricky. To keep Frogger alive, you must consume dragonflies at all times, paying close attention to his health bar. Meanwhile, the stage slowly creeps along, forcing you to make quick decisions or perish. Not so easy when you need to jump across bodies of water, dodge enemies and snag those life saving bugs.
How much fun you have, though, is heavily dependant on the control scheme you choose.
The on-screen d-pad is unresponsive and tricky to get the hang off, so we suggest ditching it immediately.
Frogger Decades' swipe controls, on the other hand, are more intuitive, though not necessarily perfect.
We ran into trouble judging distances between objects, and figuring out what required a standard or double jump. Konami also did an average job with the tutorial, which feels cluttered and boring.
Thankfully, the game has a smartly implemented checkpoint system, so even if Frogger croaks, he'll restart a short distance away.
What really bums us, though, is the lack of classic Frogger, or other games from the series. Even a virtual museum featuring pieces of memorabilia would've been cool. Konami missed a great opportunity to revisit the character's past.
In the end, Frogger Decades is a solid and entertaining title, just not an exceptional one. Considering his past efforts, though, it's definitely the best game to come along in years. If you can't get enough Frogger, it's $1.99 well spent.
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), and iPad. Requires iOS 4.2 or later.
What's Hot: New spin on the classic formula, detailed 3D graphics, intuitive swipe controls, OpenFeint/Game Center support, universal.
What's Not: D-pad controls, mistiming jumps, no classic Frogger arcade game.