Thursday, 13 May 2010

XBIR: A Frog Game

Press A to make the frog jump along a predefined path between two points. Assuming you also remember to click a trigger, the first fly encountered is caught. Jumps must be timed so that a fly is in the area that will result in its capture. You can either play a timed game lasting 17s or a game that involves catching a certain number of flies.

Utterly disposable pap.

The music made me smile.
Why click to get the frog to stick its tongue out? It seems we can only stick its tongue out once per jump and the tongue doesn't retract, it seems that you're as well off always clicking a trigger just after A. This adds an unecessary complication.
Opaque scoring. The scoring described in the rules seems to be a vague hint as to what the 'real' scoring method is. Jumping without capturing any flies clearly detracts points but what exactly brings about the higher points given for successful captures? Some sort of on-screen counter for your combo or any other relevant stats would have helped a lot to make thi all intelligible.

With random introduction of flies, the score seems mainly constrained by luck (a constant stream allowing for constant jumping and thus maximum points). I had a serious issue with this and I think my beef is that the game FEELS like it should be a game of skill. The basic mechanics encourage this line of thinking and in the end this will probably please no-one. It seems like the developer wasn't sure exactly what kind of game it should be - just realising the mechanics and settling for the first incarnation.

Lesson: Even in the simplest games, further simplification and better signalling is important.

Lesson2: A good game should probably have a clear focus: on how much skill it requires, what mood is established and where the fun comes from. Then everything should probably follow on from this focus.

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