Don't Fry the Frog review
Ever wish that you could do something about the frog obesity problem in this country? Well, the people over at Blacktorch Games thought that you should be able to do your part from your iPhone. Don't Fry the Frog lets you control the eating habits of a frog by zapping unhealthy flies and letting the frog eat the good ones. Is this lily pad worth settling down on?
Don't Fry the Frog is free of purchase — you have nothing to lose — but that doesn't mean it is without its problems. In the game, you have a frog with three lives that moves around the screen. Numbers of different flies come on screen, and your job is to zap the bad ones and let the frog eat the good ones; you do this by making a zapping beam on the screen with your two fingers that becomes longer if you move your fingers apart, and shorter if you move them closer together. It's very responsive and you can adjust the beam with ease. Through the tutorial, you will find which flies are good for the frog to eat, and which ones you want to zap before he eats them, gets larger, and explodes. For instance, green and blue fries are good for him to eat — green ones make him smaller and blue freeze him in place. The bad flies have detrimental effects on the frog — grey make him larger, red ones make him move fast, and so on.
You get a point multiplier by chaining fly-kills and keeping your fingers on the screen — take your fingers off and your mulitplier bar will decrease until you put your fingers back on the screen, or hit a healthy frog with your beam and go back to the 1x mulitplier. This would be a lot better if your fingers didn't take up so much of the viewing real estate. On the small iPhone screen, often times you won't even be able to see where the flies are coming from; you'll just hit a random, good fly by simply not seeing it. And that's the main problem with the game, your fingers get in the way. That's not good considering that you need them to play. What I found is that it's far easier to removie your fingers for a second, get your bearing on the flies, and then add your fingers back. Yea, you lose some mulipliers, but at least you're not losing a life by zapping the frog, or setting your multiplier back to 1x by hitting a fly you didn't mean to hit.
For me, it was easier to set your phone down on a surface and use your two index fingers, rather than your thumbs. This allowed me to move the beam around and adjust it faster, and it allowed me to see more of the screen.
There's also objectives you fulfill — like frying 100 grey flies or letting the frog explode three times — that increase your leap level. By the way, the leap level is kind of pointless; it's just a way for you to compare your level with other people. However, you do get coins that can buy power-ups and upgrades in Zeke's Hop Shop Tackle and Tools. Zeke is a bald, elderly, Santa Claus lookalike deals these power-ups. Using the Fly Pennies that you earn as you play and complete objectives, you can upgrade your beams (coming soon), the backgrounds (coming soon), the flies, and buy tools.
Ther are four upgrades for every type of fly. For instance, upgrading a green fly will make it so a shiny green fly will sometimes appear, and when your frog eats it, he will shrink back to his original size and increase your beam bonus by 10. Upgrade the red fire fly and it will make it so zapping the fly will cause it to explode, frying all unhealthy flies in the vicinity.
The tools are bug spray, which makes all the flies on the board disappear; penny frenzy, which increases the amount of pennies you earn for the game; mission shuffle, which changes an objective if you're having a tough time with it; and a foil hat, which gives protection against one accidental zapping of the frog. The problem is that the foil hat makes the frog take up more screen space.
How my frog usually ends up...
Don't Fry the Frog is a fun game to play in short spurts, but the limitations from the type of game it is, combined with the small iPhone screen, hurts it. Until you start upgrading your flies, it's really hard to get higher scores, and it feels like the leveling up has no real effect, other than comparing to your friends. It will also become increasingly frustrating when you don't see a healthy fly enter the screen due to your finger being there, and you lose your 10x multiplier. Some flies you need to zap never leave the frog's side, so you can never get to it. When compared to other games that are score-based with upgrades, it's hard for Don't Fry the Frog to be the preferred game of choice. But, like I said, it is free, and it's fun if you play it in short spurts.
You can follow Lance Liebl on Twitter @Lance_GZ