If only the gameplay was as delicious as the fruit…
When I die, I’m coming back as a frog. No, wait! Bear with me, here. Frogs lead a pretty charmed life, all things considered. They laze around all day sunning themselves, and get tadpoles to feed them bits of fruit that people have conveniently left lying around. What’s that? You don’t think this is true? It must be, because that’s the lesson I learned from Fruity Frogs on the iPhone, and these amphibians looked like they were having a much better time being fed than I was having feeding them.
This is essentially a top-down pool game, where players blow through a straw and send a tadpole in a bead of water bouncing around a tray and knocking pieces of fruit into the mouths of nearby frogs (because, y’know, it’s not like frogs have long tongues that could snag these snacks or anything). By tapping on the screen, players are presented with a virtual coffee stain that fills with light as the shot’s power is increased. By dragging one’s finger around the coffee ring, players can also determine the shot’s trajectory and see where the tadpole will hit the fruit and how it will move in response.
Once the shot is activated, players can swipe their finger across the screen before the tadpole gets sent hurtling across the tray to create a spin effect, which will change how the little guy rolls. Additionally, players can also nudge or spin after it’s been hit, which helps make trick shots possible. Unfortunately these skill shots are a pain to actually make work, since they require fairly precise timing and it’s easy to mess up on them.
The most frustrating part about the game, though, is the titular frogs themselves. Their mouths are fairly tiny targets, and getting fruit into them is easier said than done. If a piece of fruit manages to make contact with only part of the mouth, the level isn’t over yet; the piece has to go all the way in, and there was one instance where there seemed to be a glitch in the game that caused the fruit to bounce out after it went completely inside (that said, this only happened once and I wasn’t able to re-create the issue).
Finally, the physics just feel weird, even after playing for a while. It takes a long time to get the hang of how they work in the game, and it’s bizarre to try and make spin work. It’s irritating to have to replay a level a dozen times simply because the physics feel weird, and that will happen a lot in this game.
The game’s production values are, admittedly, really nice. The graphics in general look like they were pulled from a high-end comic book, providing a lovely top-down view of the snack tray and the various frogs that are hanging out around its edges. That said, the backgrounds are largely interchangeable and blend together pretty quickly.
The sound effects, meanwhile, are fine, but they don’t really add anything to the overall experience. The music, though, is pretty charming, with a country-like twang that sounds really appropriate for the game’s setting.
Between the strong production values, the solid controls, and the tons of levels, Fruity Frogs has a lot of stuff going for it. Unfortunately, its unpredictable physics and overall difficulty make the game more frustrating than enjoyable. As a result, you might want to think twice before you purchase the game.