You can tell he’s super by the cape
Superfrog is a relic of a bygone era in which gamers had draws full of floppy discs, with each game being as completely insane as the last. Fast-food shmups, ants that lifted cards, boys with whirlwinds in their pockets, robotic secret agent fish, it all seemed to make perfect sense at the time. Superfrog was no different, a fairly straightforward platformer, it excelled because of polish and good level design, it didn’t really enter into your mind to wonder why a frog had a cape and was running around trying to defeat a witch by gathering coins hidden in invisible walls while being powered by Lucozade of all things. Superfrog HD is a remake of that classic title, and suddenly seems very strange.
Not that strange is a bad thing of course, younger gamers might look at Superfrog HD and see it as a basic or too simplistic, but once you get your hands on it you realise why it’s fondly remembered. The frog controls wonderfully and while it may not have the speed of Sonic, it has a certain solid finesse and difficulty that comes mostly from environmental traps. Speaking to the developers at Team 17, it was explained that they’ve kept the original 24 levels intact, but rearranged to take out some of the less fair elements, like high speed downhill sections with a massive pit of spikes at the bottom. Through playing the game you can unlock the original 24 levels if you want to punish yourself, but games have moved on and you might be shocked at how hard things used to be.
Visually it’s clean and crisp, but with enough of the original’s palette and tilesets to keep the retro look real. Little things like the way secret corridors suddenly unveil themselves when you walk into them are key to the game and very satisfying as you discover something huge.
2D platforming is having a little renaissance lately thanks to the excellent recent Rayman games and the indie world embracing 2D gaming on both consoles and PC. Superfrog HD serves to remind us of the roots while being a lot of fun in its own right. Once we get some more time with the game we’ll be bringing you in-depth gameplay impressions but for now this is one for gamers young and old to watch out for.