Saturday, 7 May 2011

Frogatto & Friends (PC/Mac/Linux)


Old news really (although it is still in constant development the game has been publicly available since last year), but Frogatto is such a special game that I think that it's more than worthy of mention again.  Released as open source, Lost Pixels' Frogatto & Friends is an absolutely stunning 2D story-driven platform adventure - in fact the production quality surpasses any indie release that I've played in the past couple of years (barring game-du-jour Super Meat Boy of course).

Featuring all the usual platforming fare you'd expect in a modern game (including wall jumping, multiple moves and collectable upgrades), the attacks in Frogatto are particularly noteworthy.  Similar to controlling Yoshi in the classic Super Mario World, you attack the various in-game critters by grabbing them with your (upgradable) sticky tongue and holding them in your mouth to be either spat out at another enemy as a projectile weapon or simply regurgitated onto their backs so you can jump onto their soft undersides.  It is all simple, very retro and unlike Super Meat Boy, completely wholesome and family-friendly.


Clearly aimed at the more casual player than hardcore market, Frogatto may be undemanding to beat, but it is still a really enjoyable little adventure.  The six varied and eye-poppingly gorgeous worlds don't provide too much of a challenge (with save points every 5-10 minutes of play), but it has to be said that there is a lot of fun to be had in the nintendo-hard boss-battles.  After completing the game I was left hungry for more, so it's just as well that there is an impressive and comprehenive WYSIWYG level editor included (accessible at any point in game by pressing 'CTRL' and 'e' on the keyboard).


The guys over at Lost Pixels seem to be a genuinely nice bunch; not only have they resisted the temptation to put a price-tag on their commercial-quality little game (aside from the $5 iPhone build, all other versions are free), but they are also actively encouraging people to submit levels they've designed or even to make their own games using their engine (as well as some of the older art assets).  It doesn't end there; they also state on their website that they are open to coders porting Frogatto to other machines - and although they mention commercial markets such as the PSP and DS, it would be really cool to see the game appear in some form on the Dreamcast or other more cabable retro hardware.  This kind of generosity and scene spirit deserves to be applauded.

With future updates in the works (including a very interesting looking and assumably procedurally-generated 'arcade' mode), the future looks very bright indeed for Frogatto and his friends.

Download it here (from the Frogatto website).


Valuable note for Windows users; you can force the game into full screen mode by running it with the command line switch '--fullscreen'.  (If you don't understand what I'm talking about, read this instead).
4 out of 5