Superfrog HD Review
- A faithful update for fans of the original
- Bright colourful graphics
- Poor controls
- Maliciously-designed levels
- Hasn't aged well
While it will tickle a few nostalgia glands, the dodgy controls and dated gameplay mean Superfrog is better remembered than re-experienced on touchscreen.
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Some things - including old and beloved games - are often better left in the past. It isn't that these games were rubbish when they were originally made, rather gaming’s constantly evolving nature leaves many games feeling like relics. Team 17’s Superfrog HD is a perfect example of this.
The problems span issues with both the original 1993 Amiga release of Superfrog, and this new HD remake.
Take the controls. Not one of the three interface options provide a decent replacement for the old joystick. We we found the virtual d-pad the best option, but even here the tiny buttons rarely responded reliably. Frequently, the green amphibian doesn't jump when asked, or, if he does, it isn’t in the desired direction. This wasn't a huge problem in some areas, but as spikes, fire, and other hazards begin to fill the screen, the lack of precision becomes maddening.
More off-putting than the control scheme is the momentum. Superfrog moves like he is digital. Press the left or right button and the green hero instantly sets off in the desired direction at top speed. Let go and he will stop on a dime. This give him no weight or real presence in the world, making guiding him around a slightly jarring experience.
Then there is Superfrog HD’s colour palette. When Superfrog released in ‘93 it looked good, with bold sprites that made use of the limited colour range to create a vibrant world. Now, in 2014, the cleaned-up art tries to deliver what the designer no doubt originally envisioned, but they have made no attempt to add depth with the new range of colours. The result is that sprites frequently blends into the background, while background details can be easily be mistaken for platforms.
Fans may still find something to enjoy in Superfrog HD. For everyone else, though, the failure to address the original game’s problems in this update just leaves you with an oldschool game that doesn't sit comfortably on your touchscreen.