Game Review: Frogger 3D

Jonathan Szafran reviews Frogger 3D, out now for Nintendo 3DS in Japan and North America.

Well here we are, the second review in a week that features a game with vehicle traffic – after Burnout Crash – except in Frogger 3D you try to avoid the traffic, in this new title from Konami that celebrates the classic franchise’s 30 year anniversary. So, from one game that rewards head on collisions, to one that will throw all types of vehicles and even spinning casino playing cards in the way of the title’s amphibian character.

Avoiding these new obstacles and making your way to the end of each level offers new challenges; sometimes it can be fun and other times not so much. Is this new Frogger game for Nintendo’s shiny, 3D handheld worth playing? Or will this end up like most 3DS games, and find itself in the bargain bin a few months after release?

From the get go this new Frogger title shows itself to be very different from the same game many of us played when we were young. For all of those who didn’t get the chance to play the orginal in an arcade, Frogger 3D starts players off with a level from the arcade version and then brings them to the main menu; you are able to skip this segment but it is nice that the original is included on the cart. As soon as that retro level is over things get hairy, as the first single player world boss-level is a huge 18 wheeler that you guide Frogger under, pushing spikes to blow the truck’s tires as it passes by. Future levels feature everything from Frogger hopping from the roofs of delivery trucks while avoiding traffic lights and signs to climbing up a slot machine to score a Jackpot just so it will be easier for you to reach the end goal.

The development team have offered a lot of variety and unique goals in Frogger 3D, but it still has all the same weaknesses that other Frogger games before it had. Ever since the franchise came into the polygonal world it has been plagued with bad camera angles and the move to the 3DS hasn’t helped. In many levels the designers decided to incorporate multi-level structures for the character to climb, and with no contol over the camera they have made it hard to see where Frogger is moving. The  3D enviroments get in the way on many occasions and leads to you leaping off into a void. Along with a frustrating camera comes sluggish controls; moving Frogger across a stage feels slow and plodding and movement is done with the directional pad and not the 3DS’ Circle Pad, which in the end might have been a better choice. New to the Frogger series are the use of special frog friends who have unique abilities that help Frogger manoeuvre through the enviroment, but these are pretty useless as they leave within 30 seconds.

If this were a budget title or even a downloadable title, and not the full price that seems to be the new norm for handheld games, then it might be worth a purchase. However, as it stands Frogger 3D is a mediocre game, slightly redeemed by the creativity of its environment design.

FMV Rating: **

Frogger 3D will be released in Europe in November.

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