Ancient Frog is a wonderfully unique puzzle game from developer James Brown. Not only is Ancient Frog a refreshingly original game design, but it is incredibly polished – with some of the highest production values of any iPhone game. The graphics are amazingly lifelike and realistic and the music is serene and calming – Ancient Frog is a joy to play.
The goal of Ancient Frog is essentially to complete each level by moving from Point A to Point B in the least moves possible. You control a little frog (of which there are six different species) and move him one limb at a time – so he can reach his prize (a fly of course). To make things difficult, you can only move onto a limited number of sticky spots – and the frogs, as nimble as they are, can only stretch so far. The legs however, are longer and a bit more “stretchy” than the frogs little arms.
The stepping stones are often placed just out of reach, so you need to maneuver the frog carefully to reach your target in the designated number of moves – the par – for that level. Moving one limb then affects where you can move the other three. If you go over par, you’ll start to lose petals from a little daisy in the corner of the screen – if you don’t finish the level with at least some petals remaining, you won’t receive any points for that level. To help ease the inevitable frustration, you can swipe to undo, or redo moves.
All in all, there are 100 levels in Ancient Frog – more than enough to keep you well and truly puzzled. There is also a lot of variety in the levels, not only in terms of difficulty, but in the setting – backgrounds constantly change, from leaves, to bark to grass – and the frogs themselves change too.
Value for money is the only area where Ancient Frog comes up somewhat short. For a $4.99 game, you have to offer a lot – and while it is a beautiful game, there just doesn’t isn’t enough variety in gameplay to it to justify the asking price. At at $2.99 price-point Ancient Frog would represent much better value and be a must-have app.
Ancient Frog requires the 2.0 iPhone software update and is compatible with both the iPhone & iPod Touch.