One of the more appealing elements of the old skool 2D platform genre is its uncanny ability to turn seemingly inconsequential animals into heroes.
You can believe that a hedgehog can save the world after playing Sonic, and James Pond has conclusively proven that being a fish is absolutely no impediment to being a deadly secret agent.
iPhone platformer Frogatto casts a similar spell, turning the mild-mannered amphibian of the title into a fearless freedom fighter determined to save his beloved world from the evil clutches of the maniacal antagonist Milgram.Hop to it
Frogatto plays in a similar fashion to countless other run-and-jump titles released over the past few decades: you move your character using a virtual D-pad, while prodding 'jump' and 'attack' buttons at regular intervals to remain out of harm’s way.
Using his sticky tongue, Frogatto is able to swallow certain enemies and then spit them out as deadly projectiles. If the expelled foe collides with another enemy, both are destroyed, leaving valuable items in their wake. If no contact is made, though, the enemy is temporarily stunned and Frogatto can then hop on its prone body, Mario-style, to get rid of it.
Later in his adventure, Frogatto is able to procure additional power-ups – using the many gold coins scattered around the landscape – which allow him to even the odds against more resilient enemies, some of which cannot be eradicated using the trusty tongue method.
These special items include the ability to extend the length of your tongue and increase the height of your jump, and even weapons like electrical bolts.On top of the world
In the tradition of the finest platformers of the 16-bit era Frogatto boasts a massive world map comprising individual levels that can be replayed once completed. Dotted around each level are toilets which handily double as save points, and magical teleportation stones which allow you to jump to previously visited locations.
Another genre hallmark is present in the form of tricky boss encounters which occur at regular intervals. Each follows a strict pattern and requires lightning reflexes and reserves of patience to overcome.
In fact, perseverance is something you're going to need in spades because the game's controls throw up some annoying problems.All fingers and thumbs
While the system employed here is adequate on the whole, it's nowhere near as intuitive as a proper D-pad and buttons. You only have to try the free PC or Mac versions of the game to understand.
Pixel-perfect leaps and super-fast responses are needed in many of the game’s most taxing situations. The underwater portions – which feature an analogue-style control interface – are even more demanding, with the revised control scheme taking some getting used to.
Thankfully the sheer volume of content on offer, the gorgeous hand-drawn 2D visuals, and the surprisingly atmospheric soundtrack go a long way to making you cast aside such control-based concerns. Frogatto is further proof that old genres are anything but a thing of the past by giving you a heart-warming celebration of the classics.