Frogun Official Art

Frogun Review

August 2, 2022

By: Keenan McCall

 
 

If Frogun had been released during the same time as the patformers it emulates, it would have enjoyed plenty of love from gaming at large.

Host to a slew of inventive platforming mechanics, the game is bursting with creative energy and charm. Developer Molegato had a clear vision of what it wanted the game to be, and almost every element of the experience is designed with this guiding principle in mind. There's a delightful aesthetic that is present throughout, and it has a memorability that plants it firmly next to other iconic games it was designed after.

 

It has everything that a good platformer from the time would need to succeed, and those elements still translate perfectly in today's modern gaming landscape. However, it also has some notable flaws that hold it back from being a triumphant debut for a new series.

Before getting into its shortcomings though, it's worth noting Frogun's many strengths.

 
 

First and foremost, there's the story. Set in some ancient ruins overrun by giant bugs, the game is centered around a young girl named Renata. After her parents go into the ruins and fail to return, she delves into its depths to rescue them. Alongside her is her handy Frogun, a sentient animal-tool hybrid capable of grabbing objects and surfaces with its super-sticky tongue.

That's really all there is to it. There's little to no exposition throughout the rest of the game, and players can only learn more about the characters and world through notes left behind by Renata's parents or past adventurers. Honestly, though, the game is stronger for this. It doesn't bog players down with lengthy exposition dumps, and lets them run wild in the experience it provides through its levels.

 
 

Speaking of which: The levels are colorful bursts of fun and excitement straight out of the 90's. This is portrayed through low-poly graphics which make the most out of what's available and do a terrific job conveying key elements of the environment and characters as a result.

This is paired with upbeat and energetic sound design. Like the graphics, each sound effect or looping music theme tied to a level emulates the sounds of platformers from the 90s while bringing its own ideas to the table. This gives it a retro feel that meshes well with the visuals while also keeping Frogun memorable as its own experience, and keeping the energy at a high and positive level. Together, these elements make for a perfect compliment to the title's gameplay and ensure the player will want to keep digging further into the experience.

Frogun Jumping and Traversal Screenshot
The sheer color and energy on display in this game will have you jumping for joy.

And dig they will. In addition to the usual array of Platforming mainstays like jumping between platforms and solving simple puzzles, Frogun utilizes its namesake traversal tool to great effect.

As the game progresses, it unveils several different uses for the Frogun's simple core mechanic. It can be used to pull objects around environments, traverse wide gaps so long as there's something to stick to momentarily, and launch grabbed projectiles at enemies to dispose of them safely. It forces players to master these mechanics as well, throwing a variety of challenges their way with each new set of levels it lays out for them to complete.

 
 

Admittedly, this can be a tall ask before players get a chance to properly practice these mechanics. There were plenty of times when I got frustrated at the precise aim needed to grapple to other platforms or surfaces, or at the need to toggle between locking onto airborne objects on the fly. Once the inputs needed to pull these off clicked though, the game opened up substantially. The obvious route to goals was joined by dozens of shortcuts, alternate routes, and even unintended solutions that provided the same end result.

This applied to the boss fights as well. While more restrictive and difficult in terms of their potential for utilizing everything the Frogun can do, their gameplay always served to test how well I'd learned a given mechanic in past levels. Overcoming them felt like proof that I'd mastered it, and made every prior failed attempt feel worth the time sink.

Throw in the two-player mode that allows players to enjoy at least a small piece of the game together, and the title left me having more fun than I'd had with a platformer in a long time.

Frogun Boss Fight Screenshot
The game's boss fights will typically test your knowledge of the core mechanics, so be prepared.

Or at least, it did so long as Frogun's more marked flaws weren't bubbling to the surface.

 
 

Probably the worst of these are the more janky elements of traversing with the Frogun. While many mechanics work as intended, the long-range and aerial grappling can be very temperamental. Failing to grapple to an exact point on an object can result in colliding with a platform in the wrong way, or colliding with an additional object that throws off one's positioning. These are easy enough to solve with some trial and error experimentation thanks to the game's quick reloads and checkpoints, but can also lead to undue frustration and confusion.

This can then be compounded by losing collectibles. Like most other platformers, Frogun has a metric ton of collectibles to track down. Most are obtainable by gathering them while playing through a level, and some, in particular, can be tricky to get a hold of. This makes it all the more frustrating that collectibles gathered aren't saved unless the player reaches a checkpoint. Any and all collectibles gathered before or after that point won't be saved unless the checkpoint is visited again or a new one is found, forcing one to re-gather everything they might have lost due to the necessity for trial and error.

Topping all this off are run-of-the-mill glitches and bugs that occur at the worst times. In particular, the game can crash during the more busy boss fights where multiple objects are on screen at once. This means players will need to restart the game and boss level from scratch, undoing what might have been a winning run. While the boss levels are never too long and it's easy enough to get back to them, it's still immensely frustrating to have this happen, and can suck the wind out of most anyone's sails.

Frogun Review | Final Thoughts

To be clear, Frogun is still worth playing. It's ideas are fresh, its design is mostly solid and it has an aesthetic I'd love to see more of. It just isn't a perfect experience, and there are several points Molegato can and should work on in a sequel or whatever else comes next.


TechRaptor reviewed Frogun on PlayStation 5 with a copy provided by the developer. It is also available on PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.

Review Summary

Review Summary

7.5
Frogun is a heartfelt addition to the wider Platformer genre, bringing some fun new ideas and charm to the table. It's far from a perfect game though, and its flaws hold it back from being an amazing experience.

Pros

  • Inventive Platforming Mechanics
  • Charming Design and Characters
  • Upbeat Music and Sound Design

Cons

  • Traversal Mechanics Need More Polish
  • Clashing Design Choices
  • Annoying Bugs and Glitches
More Info About This Game

In This Article

Developer
Molegato
Publisher
Top Hat Studios, Inc
Platforms
PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
Release Date
August 02,2022
Genre
3D platformer
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