Frogger 3D (3DS)

Game Review

Frogger 3D Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Zach Kaplan

Look both ways before crossing this game

Why did the frog cross the road? We've still yet to receive an answer, but the little guy's been doing it for 30 years. Marking his birthday is Frogger 3D, begging the question: can yet another entry really bring anything new to the table?

The answer is yes, as this title takes the little amphibian on a journey from his hometown to the casino to a warzone and beyond, eventually ending up in a bizarro space-based world. The game's best feature is its clever take on the old formula, which used to consist solely of having your character leap one tile at a time from the start of a stage to the finish, avoiding traffic and catching floating logs all the way there. Now Frogger must cross giant sushi bars, hop up and down platforms jutting out of a waterfall, cross minefields, navigate through casino chips as they're pushed about a table and more, stages often crossing into puzzler territory as much as they remain in the franchise's action-packed arcade roots. You'll also meet friend frogs upon which you can ride, including a bright amphibian who lights the way or, in one stage, powers solar panels atop cars. Another area has you ride a metal frog across a peaceful zen room, hopping on certain spots in time with the clacking of shishi odoshis so as not to disturb the peace and get yourself crushed by an angry cane.

There are around 70 stages spread over six worlds, and each has you reach three goals in a row within a time limit, the level becoming progressively harder as you progress to the second and third iterations. This difficulty, however, is where Frogger 3D goes so very wrong. About halfway through the game the challenge level ramps up dramatically, and while the first go-through is often not too hard, the second and third can become mind-numbingly so. This is thanks to an abundance of cheap shots and near-impossible to avoid obstacles, so what could make for a satisfying challenge often becomes an exercise in frustration. That's coupled with the fact that you've only three lives to work with over the three goals, so if you fail on your last attempt, you'll have to replay the entire thing, first two rounds included. Adding to the poor design is a touch of faulty hit detection that pops up every once in a while, some objects still affecting you a split second after they've passed. In a game where that's often all the time you have to make a decision, it can become quite a headache as, of course, it's one hit per life. Every world ends in a boss battle of sorts, and these are as much a mix of cheap shots and interesting level design as the rest of the game.

Take, for example, our least favourite level. Here Frogger must cross the width of a slot machine, avoiding tokens streaming down, then climb up the side to the spinners themselves. You'll then leap onto three buttons controlling the reels, trying to get three in a row (they begin spinning again if you get it wrong), at which point a platform of coins will pile up and allow you to reach the goal, with more of them launching across for you to steer clear of as well. The third goal is too far out for this platform to reach, and soon the realisation dawns upon you that you must in fact score the Jackpot and pile up a bigger mass of coins, a very hard thing to do. Frogger's not a very fast leaper, a factor that, while usually satisfyingly adding to the challenge, just feels unfair here. Of course, if you accidentally get three in a row of the wrong type, the platform won't reach all the way and you'll have to commit suicide. Oh, and those coins streaming across employ some of that aforementioned poor hit detection. Add to this the ticking clock and three-life limit and you've got something truly torturous.

However, interesting stage design makes up for this to a great degree, and you can still have a good deal of fun with the game. Often you can plan around avoiding cheap obstacles, and other times it's simply worthwhile to surpass them to try out the clever levels ahead. Many levels include multiple exits, which adds to the challenge in a rewarding way. The friend frog element also adds some entertainment value, but unfortunately it never feels like the game develops this as fully as it could.

You can grab up to three friends for a multiplayer version of this, but it's multi-cart only, an unfortunate let-down that hinders this mode's utility greatly. There's also Forever Crossing, which puts you into a retro-styled Frogger game that lets you race against a ghost of your best time, an intriguing addition that's entertaining enough to help pass the time and which includes leaderboards, though the only name that it registers is the one exclusively associated with your console. Collecting coins unlocks a challenge mode and lets you take off the time limit, though you'll have to pick up 1000 of them for each — quite a feat in itself, and the prize doesn't quite match the required effort.

The controls are easy to pick up on and very simple, pretty much involving the D-Pad alone, though it's odd that the Circle Pad is useless here. Graphically it's not very impressive, though it includes some nice 3D effects throughout. It utilises a very 1990s aesthetic, with fast-paced rockin' guitar riffs, bright colours and file saves that come in the form of big hot dogs. It's charming in its datedness, but feels somewhat out of place.


Frogger 3D balances interesting, clever level designs that will make you want to keep playing just to see more with infuriating cheap shots and a ridiculous difficulty curve that will make you never want to play again. For every level that you will love, there's one that will inspire you to break your machine in half. It all balances out to an average experience; approach with caution, look both ways and you'll be able to hop into some of the game's higher-quality aspects before your patience is squashed flat.

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User Comments (27)



BenAV said:

I'll keep right away from this one.
Don't want to risk breaking my 3DS.

They should just bring back Classic Frogger in 3D, throw it cheap on the eShop and leave it as that.



Retro_on_theGo said:

Whoa, can't say I didn't see this coming. Too bad. What the heck is with frogger's design too? I like the cartoony look better, but what ever.



MeloMan said:

I still want the arcade original released... SOMEWHERE... and for this game, I still love Frogger and will probably give it a shot. The one constant that doesn't change is that the original is still the best IMO.



TKOWL said:

I wish they would do a Frogger game in the style of Frogger's Adventure: Temple of the Frog for GBA or, at least, Frogger 2 for the GBC. Those are my two favorite games in the franchise.

Also: they've changed up Frogger's character way too many times.




In this day and age it really should be restricted to the download scene surely?

Thanks for the revw



Slapshot said:

PSone Frogger + 3D (would've) = Awesome!

Great review Zach! I really wish this would've turned out a bit better. I really enjoyed the Frogger games on the PSone and a portable version of them, or something similar, would've been great - especially with the 3DS Frogger case that comes with the game.



sykotek said:

Ha, funny that PSone Frogger is being mentioned. I've never played it, but have a funny story.

Many years back, I had a chance encounter with a representative from Konami. He was stating how happy they were to be getting back control of the Frogger franchise. He seemed genuinely excited in restoring the magic to Frogger and spoke of the lack of vision of previous license holders (Hasbro/PSone titles).

He spoke with such passion about the project that even I wanted to see a new awesome Frogger game. ...then Konami proceeds to release almost nothing except crappy Frogger games for the next decade.

Passion alone does not a good game make.



timp29 said:

Baha levels that make you want to snap your 3DS in half. Keep it away from me then. I've gotten pretty infuriated at SFIV many times thus far.



cheetahman91 said:

I thought the PS1 Frogger game was pretty terrible. As for this one, I think I'll pass and just stick with the original.



iBeatz said:

it should be eshop and rolling western should take its place as aa retail game



shinobi88 said:

THIS GAME ISN'T ABOUT REVIEWS. You either like Frogger or you don't. Frogger is a very simple game in the same vein as the original Pac-Man. Bright colors, fun and challenging gameplay, and simple mechanics.

When I was playing the original Frogger on Arcade Advanced for GBA, I had trouble getting past the 1st level w/out dying. Challenge does NOT negatively effect the value of a game. Ever play the original Ninja Gaiden for NES? It is the gameplay, NOT the challenge.

If you have ever played Frogger at the arcade you know what to xpect. This DOES have the production values of a retail game. Don't get the game if you don't like Frogger. Definitely get the game if you do. Not rocket science.



Zach said:

@shinobi88 Whoa, a little hostile there! Keep in mind a few things, please: A 5 means "average" not "bad". This is let down not because it's hard to get through without dying, but because the ways in which it's hard often involve unfair, cheap shots and poor collision detection, plus the difficulty ramps up way too fast and the structure of having to re-start from goal one even when you die on goal three makes for some irritating, repetitive gameplay. We are in no way opposed to challenging games here at Nintendo Life. Last but not least, we can request to be the reviewer to cover certain games, and I picked Frogger 3D because I'm a Frogger fan and love the original. Nothing is "about" reviews, but the salient points I've described here are all up there in the review above, and if you still think this game is a worthwhile investment then by all means, buy it and play your heart out.



Karakato said:

What a shame, but at least it isn't as bad as I feared it to be. But I still hate that there are cheap deaths. As long as it surpasses the PSone game, I might look into it when it's available for trade.



BelmontHeir said:

I had higher expectations when I saw that this game was being spearheaded by Konami's Tak Fujimoto AKA "One Milllion Troooooopsss."



MasterBlue said:

Yeah this game game really does do much for me and my tastes at all. It was a cool idea but they could have built more upon it in so many ways.



Rocky said:

I am really enjoying this game. I was pleasantly surprised by it and expected it to have a lot less depth. It has a ton of levels and each world has a new "skill" to be learned to get through the levels in that world. So, if you are an old-time gamer like me, and you've enjoyed Frogger in the past, you will probably want to give this game a try.



Tate24 said:

Id probably get it when its cheaper!

trailer does look very cool though:)

What streetpass do on this game?



Gohonq said:

That is seriously disappointing lol I was actually looking forward to this.. I thought what is basically said in this review, the levels look very unique and fun to play.. apparently that's only half true though. Meh I guess I'll pass.



theextrememugge said:

i really don't understand all the reviews sullying this game's good name. frogger 3d is a good game! i've almost completed it (very basically) and put in over 7 hours. it's frogger. it is supposed to be difficult. the "sluggish controls" and "cheap deaths"... what? this game is leagues easier than dkc returns and much more fun. okay, i understand if you hate frogger and simple puzzles... i cannot honestly recommend this game enough, also, the hard-shell case you get w/ the game is really awesome, too. this is the best frogger game i have ever played. i'm shocked critics panned this game. i rate this game below ocarina of time, doa, and street fighter...but, better than everything else on 3ds currently.



ThrowMeBarrel said:

@Zach Unfair, Cheap shots, Difficulty spikes, Doesn't this sound like sonic, zelda and mario games all over? Almost every way to lose a life in sonic, zelda and mario revolve around unsuspecting moments where it's simply too late to do anything until you've lost and had to start again to learn how to beat the section.
Frogger, Like centipede and pacman etc is a simple game and take away the original mechanics it wouldn't be frogger, I think the low score is a result of trying to compare it to the big budget production values of other games but huge worlds and shiny graphics shouldn't instantly give a game more respect. I hope people who are reading these reviewers do not make a final judgement from a review because in this case the reviewer is wrong, Frogger is as fun and inventive and even more accessible than ever, The type of gameplay works for portable gaming, It doesn't have to be a big blockbuster to match consoles.

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