Posted by: duskfire | February 23, 2012

Frogatto review

Frogatto and Friends is a lovely platform game from the team that created Battle for Wesnoth, Lost Pixel. Clearly, creating a top notch strategy game has given them some insights about what makes a great game, because Frogatto is about as close to perfection as you can get.

Take a look at these graphics, for instance: You can’t see in a screen shot, but the water in the background moves. Whenever you choose to talk to someone, the screen zooms in closer – but that doesn’t happen automatically the second you reach an NPC (which would have been highly annoying).

In the game, you star as Frogatto, and the early stage is a tutorial level introducing you to basic gameplay mechanics such as using your tongue, wall climbing, and how to dispatch your enemies. The game lets you save at certain points, and in fact the only thing I’d improve on the game is the fact that you are allowed only a single game save slot. You can also swim underwater, and there’s no time limit to that – although there are still some enemies to dodge, and you can’t grab them the way you can on land.

Controls are few and easy to master. Arrow keys are used to move around, the A key is used to jump, and the S key to attack with your tongue. Pressing Ctrl with one of the other keys gives you additional techniques. Also, the game doesn’t “trap” your mouse like a few games do – one of my pet peeves. I wish there was joypad support, but hopefully that will be in a new update. Lacking it certainly doesn’t detract from the game.

You can configure the buttons differently if you want to, by hitting the ESC key and accessing the options screen here:

options screen for Frogatto and Friends

As you see, you can also change the volume of music and sound effects in the game as well. The game starts in a window, but if you want to run it full screen, use Ctrl-F to toggle between the two.

Frogatto is a side-scroller with jumping and attack elements. You have a health bar that can be improved by power ups, and coins to collect. An in-game store will sell you power-ups and ability enhancers in exchange for your coins. There are about 30 levels, and the game includes a level editor accessed by pressing Ctrl-e. Chances to save are spaced quite appropriately – usually if you’ve gotten to an area with a new trick to learn, look around for a save house. The game also seems to have achievements – I have gotten 2 so far and I’m sure there are quite a few more. At some points you can also access a world map:

One of my biggest gripes with games for Linux is when they don’t provide good instructions. Frogatto does it right – the tutorial gives you enough details, yet can easily be skipped in future playthroughs.

In addition to the main game, Frogatto includes 3 Arcade areas to challenge you. One for collecting coins, one for running, and one for jumping. The running and jumping areas each have 3 levels to play. Gain new high scores and improve your reflexes to do better in the main game.

the Coin Arcade area in Frogatto

Frogatto is available in the repositories of all major Linux distributions, and a download is available for Windows users. You can also buy it for the iPhone or iPad from Apple’s App Store. In my opinion, it’s a bargain – hours of fun, controls that don’t frustrate, and lush graphics. The developers finished version 1.2 in December of last year, and are busy working on 1.3. If you are running Fedora or Arch Linux, you’re in luck – the Debian and Ubuntu distributions don’t seem to have included 1.2 in their repositories just yet.

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