Published on August 9th, 2013 | by David Guild0
Review: Superfrog HD (PS3 & Vita)
Back in 1993 UK developer and publisher, Team 17 developed a 2D side scrolling platform game called Superfrog and it was released on the Amiga and then later on the Amiga’s attempt at the console market, Amiga CD32. The game sold well and praised for being a perfect example of the genre. But Team 17 didn’t do another game and moved on to their more well known game series, Worms. Superfrog has been converted a couple times to work on PC by 2 different developers, once in 1994 and in 1999 but in the last year Team 17 allowed GoodOldGames.com to legitimately release digital version of Superfrog to work for newer versions of Windows.
But let’s bring it forward to this year, Team17 announced that they be reviving Superfrog in HD and bring it to PSN. Superfrog is finally getting some HD loving and the respect it deserves. Even owning the PS3 and Vita both since release I haven’t spent much time on them, so when I was told Superfrog was a cross-buy title, I was pretty excited as I could play the PS3 at my desk and enjoy the game on a big screen and then I can use my already saved game and play it on the Vita on the move which in the end has been my console of choice playing the game. So shall we jump into this review?
The story of Superfrog hasn’t changed from what I remember of it. In a magical kingdom far, far away lived a Prince who had a very beautiful bride to be, but with every fairytale story is an evil witch who grew jealous of the young couple. The witch kidnaps the girl but while leaving turns the Prince in to a frog. This is where the story changes, back in the 80s and 90s product placement in games were more obvious, in the original version the Prince finds a bottle of Lucozade (sports energy drink) which gives him super powers, but in the updated version of the game, the bottle the frog finds is a magic potion which gives him the courage and power to save his bride from the witch.
Funny enough the old 1993 Amiga version intro is far superior to the new opening as the Amiga one had animation, cheesy sound effects and humour which broke the 4th wall. While on the HD release the intro uses still images. When the game opens up you see a bright, cartoony, beautiful world. The level designs are straight from the original game and have been updated and changed, but the original maps are still in the game. Superfrog is a great example of a remake done correctly. The game keeps its basic gameplay and just gives the graphics a lick of HD paint and slight changes. The gameplay is how I remember the game, very basic with movement done with either the d-pad or analog stick and the jump button. You can collect power-ups within the level which can give you the ability to use your cape as a parachute to slow your descent which can give you more control collecting coins and bonuses. Another power up is Spud, who is a green blob with eyes which can be throwing at enemies and will always return.
You navigate your way around the level collecting coins and fruit for score and every so often they will throw in a lever to press. The HD version also has changed the rules in finishing a level, back in the original you needed a set number of coins to finish the level but this isn’t needed now and you can either go for score, speed or why not try both. Plus they are hidden areas scattered about each level which a pathway is activated once next to it, so level exploration is a handy way to find these and surely there’s a trophy in finding them all? Why trying to get to the end the enemies come in all shapes and sizes of wildlife to the crazy I have no idea what that is supposed to be, plus disappearing platforms and spikes to slow you down. Superfrog does have a life bar but landing on a spike is an instant kill.
Once you finish a level you get scored up and graded, how many collectables you found, hidden areas, bonus items and time it took you to finish can affect your final score out of 3 stars. Once the scoring is done you can then play the fruit machine. This is where you can win extra levels to play, those levels in mind are the original 24 levels which have all had the lick of HD paint as well along with the original rules to collect the set amount of coins. All this will add replay value to the game which any fan will want full stars on every level and to win those 24 addition original levels.
At the end of each world you face off against the witch with a slight change every time, the first few rounds with the Evil Witch are easy and there is points within the area you can stand and she won’t be able to lay you out but further you get the hard it will become to find certain spots and you will need to start dodging other items and not just that Witch.
Few other modes have made its way in to the game, Frog Trials and Level Editor. Frog Trials is a never ending race to grab as many fruit and coins as possible before the clock runs out. You can delay the time by collecting clock icons. The Level Editor is there to create your own crazy courses for our beloved frog hero to navigate through but pity these cannot be shared with other gamers.
The graphics in the game are just as cartoony as the original, with beautiful bold colours. I played the game on both the console and the Vita and the game doesn’t disappoint on either a 50” TV, to the Vitas OLED screen. The sound though was probably the games only down fall, the soundtrack was pretty forgettable and in the end I switched it off. Plus the sound effects from the original have disappeared. The original never had the most exciting soundtrack and this was probably Team 17s best chance to give the game a much better musical score.
Last and not least lets speak about the trophies, I haven’t much experience in the Playstation department but I hopped over to the great PS3Trophies.org the sister site to X360.org.
While there is no guide on the site I looked at the list of the trophies and can honestly say they aren’t that hard, if anything it’s all a bit of a grind to win all the brushes and levels.
Overall I adored this game, Superfrog is 20 years old and still is a great platform game, and does it rival Super Mario Brothers and Sonic the Hedgehog? Sadly no, the game is a basic platformer even though I love the level designs and just how simple the game is, this is where the game falls short. While Mario and Sonic has evolved by either adding more and more power-ups or expanded the games universe to give the players more a story. Superfrog is just one of those games where if you don’t fancy a bit of a story and want some basic gameplay then Superfrog is the game of choice, especially with cross-platform where you can jump between the PS3 and Vita. The game stays true to its retro roots and is a perfect example of a remake done right. Just wished they added more to the sound of the game and kept the original animation for the intro, but that’s just me nitpicking.
The game is out now on PSN for €7.99 / £6.49 and at the moment PSPlus members can receive a 20% discount. I will also post some gameplay of me playing the game at the end of the week as I had problems with my PS3 so keep an eye out for that!
Summary: A 20 year old platform game with a lick of HD paint. Great for old and new fans plus a great game for the kids to play.