Retro Round Up
Reviewed By Dave E In Micro Mart #1398: January 2016 SpecialIntroduction | Dead On Time | Majikazo | Get 'Em Dx | Super Starship Space Attack | That's All Folks!
Value for Money 8
Value for Money 8
Frogalot is a new platform game from CNG Soft (http://cngsoft.no-ip.org/) in which you take control of a cute hopping frog. The game is a clone of the rather fabulous Nebulus which added a twist to the bog-standard platformer by featuring platforms which jut out from a spire; in Frogalot this spire is a tower which you must climb by hopping or jumping from platform to platform. As you ascend (or descend, should something go wrong!), the camera angle remains parallel to the frog at all times. Baddies remain hidden either just vertically off-screen or just behind the next corner - until you round it to face them.
Each tower is nicely "themed", accessed serially and, as the game progresses, tougher than the last. The obvious impediments to your progression up it are the inconveniently-placed baddies, many of whom are also "themed". Level two presents a Halloween spire where baddies consist of live suits of armour, ghosts and pumpkins. Level three presents a garden where baddies consist of snails and stones. A rising and falling clenched fist appears throughout all towers.
Seeing as you have no weapon of any kind, you have to avoid all of the baddies by nimble fingerwork. Often this simply means waiting for a pumpkin, fist or whatever to move out of the way to let you hop past.
However, your frog can also perform larger jumps if you use the appropriate control key in combination with a movement one. This is used for the less obvious challenges of the game which include disappearing platforms (which allow you to hop over them but then disappear - halting any further progress if you later fall through them) and trampoline platforms (which are disconcerting and toughen the exit jumps from them). There are also red flashing platforms which are "up" teleporters and blue flashing platforms which are "down" teleporters. Touching these performs an instant, and quite disconcerting, teleportation up or down the spire.
Written by Nicolas Gonzalez (of Bubble Bobble 4 CPC fame), you would be forgiven for expecting quality - and Frogalot does not disappoint. Level design is extremely varied, the graphics are excellent and it's all complemented with some lovely music. Those familiar with Nebulus may lament the fact that, in Frogalot, you can't shoot - but, in comparison to Nebulus, Frogalot actually comes off a lot better. The towers are wider and there's much more variety in the colours and themes.
The backstory of the game states that, when you manage to get your frog to the top of "the tower", he will be kissed by his beloved and turned back into human form. I presume they mean "the final tower" as your beloved makes her appearance at the top of each of them.
My only gripe about Frogalot is that a password system would have benefitted it. Get knocked off tower five and it's a bit demoralising to have to start right back at the beginning. One other final thing: The game's on-screen language is Spanish rather than English. It's the type of game where this makes no difference.
It's clear that retro and homebrew is booming - it's probably only a few years until Sir Alan Sugar sets his Apprentice candidates a task involving it! - and a few weeks into 2016 there are already indications that this year will see more games released for older formats than ever before. We'll be right here to update you with all of them as and when they happen. See you next month!