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‘Frogun’ Review: A Warts And All Blast From The Past

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‘Frogun’ Review: A Warts And All Blast From The Past

We’ve all been guilty of longing for days of yore. The occasional desire to relive one’s youth is natural and understandable, but is it a good idea? Is it not ill-advised to crave the days of stiffer, uglier and all-around lesser video games? Frogun doesn’t seem to think so. 

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See the trailer for Frogun here:

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This ‘90s-inspired platformer is an incredibly accurate trip down memory lane. Harnessing a visual style reminiscent of the lower-polygon era that gave us the original PlayStation and Nintendo 64, it’s easy to forget Frogun is a 2022 title, which seems to be precisely the effect developer Molegato was going for. 

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Playing as Renata, your role is to traverse the 3D levels of an ancient temple in search of our protagonist’s parents. Your companion on this journey is the titular Frogun, a frog-shaped grappling hook that lets you pull handles, pick up enemies and cross gaps that are too grand to jump across. 

Frogun / Credit: Top Hat Studios, inc.
Frogun / Credit: Top Hat Studios, inc.

Sadly, this eponymous device shines a light on the biggest drawback of Frogun: accuracy. Playing on Nintendo Switch in handheld mode with Joy-Con controllers, I found that lining up Renata was rarely easy. Many gaps require precision when attempting to cross them with the use of the grappling hook, and it’s all too easy to find yourself aiming diagonally. 

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In addition to shooting your little Frogun tongue and missing a target entirely, which is usually harmless enough, there are times where your grapple makes contact with the wrong surface, often leading to your demise. While you respawn quick enough, the checkpoints are few and far between in most levels, meaning any such mistake can add significant replay time. 

Frogun / Credit: Top Hat Studios, inc.
Frogun / Credit: Top Hat Studios, inc.

While the aiming system may work better on other platforms, it’s fair to say this difficult nature as I experienced it felt true to the nostalgic vibe Frogun is after. After all, earlier Crash Bandicoot games and PlayStation cult hits like Croc: Legend of the Gobbos were not too forgiving, and Frogun clearly channels that same energy. So my criticism is really praise, from a certain point of a view. 

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Once you’ve mastered this merciless control scheme - if you can - you still have much to do. Each level has a wealth of collectables, from assorted gems to coins and skulls. To truly 100% the game, you’ll have to grab everything and beat each level in a set time, so be prepared to replay each course multiple times if you’re a completionist. 

Frogun / Credit: Top Hat Studios, inc.
Frogun / Credit: Top Hat Studios, inc.

Cutting right to the chase, Frogun is primarily a game for players who want to go back to the 1990s. From its visual style to its gameplay mechanics, everything about it screams retro, and that’s both a good thing and a bad thing from where I’m standing. Yes, it succeeds in channelling the past but the downside to that is some awkward controls and punishing levels. 

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As I said, though, this all feels true to the nature of the games Frogun is inspired by, so I guess my issues here are really with the ‘90s, as opposed to this charming little title. In that case, the score below is as much for the decade of my birth as it is for Frogun. Judge me all you want. 

Pros: Retro charm, plenty of collectables, replayability

Cons: Awkward aiming, merciless at times

For fans of: Crash Bandicoot, Croc: Legend of the Gobbos, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

7/10: Very Good

Frogun is available now for Nintendo Switch (version tested), PC, Xbox, PlayStation 4 and 5. Game code provided by the publisher. Find a guide to GAMINGbible's review scores here

Featured Image Credit: Top Hat Studios, inc.

Topics: Nintendo Switch

James Daly
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