PlayStation Universe

Superfrog HD Review: super powers aren't enough to rescue this damsel in distress

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on 31 July 2013

What would you do if you were suddenly granted super powers ? You might devote yourself to fighting crime, eradicating world poverty or simply abuse your powers of invisibility. At no point, we imagine, would you decide to engage in a tedious quest through mundane lands to save a lady who looks like she has had too much plastic surgery. Superfrog celebrated his new-found powers by choosing the latter and in doing so he came to star in one of the worst platforming games ever to grace the PlayStation 3.

First though a bit of background. Superfrog is the new 2D platform game from Team 17 Digital Ltd out for PS3 and PlayStation Vita; well, new is a relative term considering the game originally saw release in 1993 for the Amiga home computer.

The game's paper-thin plot is that you are a prince who has been turned into a frog by an evil witch so you set out to defeat her and rescue a princess along the way. This is done by jumping through a number of levels collecting enough coins to open the exit to the next one. The levels hold secrets and traps in abundance and are also populated by a variety of evil creatures whose only job is to stop Superfrog ever rescuing the princess.

If you think this sounds tedious you would be correct; Superfrog has a lot of faults that when combined together make the game as super as, well, as a frog with super powers really.

Superfrog's problems start with the game's levels which are all mundanely constructed with no skill being required to complete them. A lot of them are pseudo open-world, leaving the player mindlessly bouncing around desperately to find the exit relying on misleading arrows that promise an end to the torture but just instead lead to more mind-numbing leaping. These levels are broken up in two ways in that every time you complete one you get to play a fruit machine mini-game that offers pointless prizes, which add nothing to the main game, or you might after completing a series of levels face off against the evil witch who is easily dispatched with some button mashing.

The graphical look of Superfrog's adventures might have been acceptable years ago but now just look dated almost like no attempt has been made to update them from the original release. The whole game has a cheap cartoony-style that looks like DVD knock off of a new Disney film without the appeal.

The final nail in the Superfrog coffin is the terrible gameplay that is caused mainly by the poor control detection, which causes Superfrog to not notice you hammering the jump button and just continue to trudge to his doom. All game movement is quite jerky; Superfrog often spasms like a bizarre science experiment on one of his relatives dead bodies while terrible music and sound effects sets the mood of hideousness perfectly and will have the players desperate to switch it off or play something more tuneful like static.

All of these problems make Superfrog a terrible game that is just so dated it makes your dad's tie collection look hip. The side-scrolling platform genre has come on leaps and bounds since this game's original release in 1993, but it seems Team 17 has not kept up with the times.

Superfrog is an embarrassment to current games as with gaming boundaries being pushed with every new title and the PS4's release being imminent, there is no excuse for putting out this time capsule escapee of a game and expecting people to part with their money for it. Team 17 had a great pedigree of titles and I am proud to say it gave me Worms, but to dust off a game from the nineties and expect PS users to buy it is an insult to gamers and the heritage of its studio.

Superfrog HD Review by Richard Archer

-The Final Word-

A poor 2D platformer that has no redeeming features; don't waste your money on this drivel.
  • PS Vita control is surprisingly decent
  • The poor level design
  • Cheap-looking visuals
  • The poor control detection and jerky movements
See PSU's reviews scores on Metacritic, Gamerankings and Opencritic