Superfrog HD review for PS Vita, PSN

Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PSN
Publisher: Team17
Developer: Team17
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: Leaderboards

Seeing as my early ’90s gaming was limited to whatever I could rent for my NES (I was a relatively late SNES adopter), and I — or, more accurately, my family — didn’t even have a computer with a graphics card until well into the latter half of the decade, I don’t have anything in the way of nostalgic love for the original Superfrog. I went into its HD remake with only an eye to how the game looks now, on the Vita, rather than any experience I may have had playing it on an Amiga. And my takeaway?

Pretty much the same as what people thought about the original twenty years ago: that it’s a decently-done Sonic clone with some bright visuals and a bit of personality. That’s simplifying my feelings a bit, of course, but if you want the gist of it, there it is.

superfrog_hd 1

Actually, the longer version isn’t too far off from that either. Superfrog HD is a little bit Sonic (particularly when the titular character revs up and starts going fast), but also a little bit Little Big Planet — the jumps are pretty floaty, and if you’ve ever complained about Sackboy’s controls being finicky, you’re probably going to go crazy playing this game. While it’s not like Superfrog HD is a game that requires impeccable timing or anything (the only thing that means insta-death is when you fall on spikes, and those are generally easy to avoid), it can be a little frustrating when you’re trying to grab one last coin or to avoid one baddie or another.

Rounding it all out, though, are a few things that don’t seem to have any precedents or antecedents. The level layout, for example; as linear platformers go, Superfrog HD gives you quite a bit of room to explore. You’re never pushed in one direction or another, and — for better or worse — you’re mostly left to your own devices to find out where levels end. While I’m sure I’m forgetting something else here, I can’t think of any other platformers that give you that kind of freedom. On a slightly less unique note, there’s oodles and oodles of power-ups and treasures to find. The only game I can think of that comes close to Superfrog HD in this regard is New Super Mario Bros. 2 and its million coin gimmick, but even then, not even NSMB2 has the same variety of stuff.

superfrog_hd 2

Do those things add up to make Superfrog HD a must-play experience? Probably not. More room to look around and more things to find are nice little changes from the norm, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say they give the game much in the way of a distinctive personality. For the most part, there’s nothing you can find here that you couldn’t also get from other decent platformers.

The key word there, though, is “decent”. Superfrog HD may not be a great game, but it’s certainly an above-average one. If you’re in the mood for a platformer and you have a few extra dollars to spend (and you’ve already flown through the likes of Stealth Inc., Kung Fu Rabbit and Cloudberry Kingdom), then by all means, give it a shot.

Grade: B-