May 27, 2017 Last Updated 11:41 AM, May 27, 2017

Frog Climbers Review

Published in Action
Read 715 times
Rate this item
(0 votes)

The internet gave us a lot of important, life-changing abilities since its inception and we’re all thankful for it.

Being able to connect with friends and family miles away is a ground-breaking feature that a ton of people uses every single day. And while it's been an incredible piece of technology, it also ripped away an essential component of civilization:

Couch Multiplayer.

Thankfully, the term AKA "Couch Co-Op" has made its return over the past few years, as an alternative to matchmaking and online gaming. To my relief. I was growing tired of checking the backs of game boxes, only to find a consistent lack of split-screens and local multiplayer modes. And rightly so. After all, why should our screens get bigger if our interactions with them were to grow anti-social?

Sure, PC gaming isn't the most suitable platform for multiplayer in the same room. In the past, a handful of studios clumsily tried to find solutions to this limitation; I've even seen games where one would control the left half of the keyboard while the other handled the right. Needless to say, these didn't sell all that well.

Some might even argue: that's why console gaming got as big as it did.

Unlike their expensive counterpart, consoles allowed friends to chill, on a couch with a controller in each hand, and fight each other or work together to reach a common goal.

Eventually, though, even that trend began to fade away. Consoles grew in power; split-screens became taxing on systems. And before we knew it, the split mode vanished into thin air, albeit a few extraordinary titles like Gears of War.

Who would I guessed that the PC community would be at the heart of its revival?

Developers feeding our habits came up with some genuinely inventive titles that revolve on sitting around a couch and playing together, in the same room; sharing laughs and anger - together. There were basic brawl-like games such as Battleblock Theater and Towerfall, and there were unique games with twists like Monaco and, a personal favorite, Crawl. All these required that human touch.

One especially stuck with my friends and me: Mount Your Friends. If you don’t know what this is, do yourself a favor and check it out. It’s glorious. I haven’t laughed as much with a video game as I did with Mount Your Friends. It's a most satisfying mix of intuitive fun and bizarreness. It had you take on the role of half-naked men trying to scale each other in an attempt to get the highest position.

And what better way to up the ante, other than by replacing the half-naked men with half-naked frogs? Introducing: Frog Climbers!

Much in the same way that Mount Your Friends (or the infamous QWOP) controls, Frog Climbers asks that you trigger every motion of your character’s body. The left thumbstick controls your left arm’s movement, and the left trigger controls the left-hand grip. Similarly, the right stick and trigger relate to your frog’s right side. It’s initially intuitive, but quickly becomes a hassle that is less frustratingly annoying and more frustratingly hilarious. While holding onto a ledge, you must pull down on the stick to hoist your body upward and gain enough momentum to grab on tightly to the next ledge.

To what end? To reach the top, of course.

For single-players, this can be considered some kind of rock climbing simulator and, as frustrating as it may be, it remains somewhat rewarding. That's because there is a randomized element to each level, so each time you play, you'll get a brand new cliff to climb. There’s even a Daily Mountain challenge, offering a procedurally generated mountain that players can compete on, in their attempts to reach the top of the leaderboard.

Add multiplayer, and you've got yourself a simulated mayhem on your hands.

You’ll all be fighting to reach the top first. This means multiple frogs scaling the cliff side, grabbing not only rocks jutting out from the surface, but also each other’s hands and feet. Is someone above dangling their feet right above your head? Ignore the rocks and grab them. They'll provide the same adequate boost to pull you up, but they'll slow down your victim in the process as well. There's a limit to how long you can do this, though. Hold on to someone’s foot or hand for too long and you’ll start to hear the whistling of a kettle. That means your grasp is getting weaker, which is, (un)fortunately, a good way to balance the game.

It prevents too much grappling and screwing friends over.

That being said, a small tweak should be implemented to prevent players from “gaming the system." When you lose grip and plummet straight down beyond the limitations of the screen, you’re out of the game for a few seconds. Instead of being forced to climb the whole mountain again, the game launches you back onto the same area that everyone else still hangs. The issue with this is that Frog Climbers tends to launch you a bit higher than everyone else, which allows you to grapple onto one of the rocks above them, giving you an upper hand. Pardon the pun.

In a game where you must reach the top first, this is an excellent way to cheat the primary objective. In theory, you could play awful consistently, and, at the last moment, fall off-screen to be launched upward and get the advantage over everyone else. To be fair, dying is somewhat penalized: a total death score shows up at the end. Yet in the game's normal mode, the winner is who reached the top first, regardless of how he got there. Frog Climbers' "King of the Hill" mode does factor in deaths, but I can't help but feel like that should be accounted for across the board and for all modes.


The Verdict

Frog Climbers is a very simple game, but it's all you need for a social night of fun with friends. Its simplistic design and intuitive controls make for a solid Couch Co-Op experience and one that is tailor-made to frustrate and beat the living poop out of the fine folks you, all so kindly, invited over.

James McKeever

When not playing video games, James is usually found playing video games. When he simply does not have time for video games, he goes to a thing called "Job" where he makes money to feed himself and his wife and to buy more video games. Since he was too scared to use the controller himself at the young age of 3, James started his gaming career as a "navigator" of sorts instructing his father when to jump in Super Mario Brothers. Since then, the fear of controllers has subsided and James can now jump freely, circumventing the middleman.

Related items

  • Faeria Review

    Faeria's gameplay shines, and what it lacks in narrative it more than makes up for in strategy. While Faeria won’t appeal to some casual players and viewers, players that enjoy delving into sophisticated and nuanced gameplay will be amply rewarded.

  • Dead Alliance Announced: Coming August 29

    Leading publisher Maximum Games has announced Dead Alliance, an inventive take on zombie games and team-based first-person shooters expected to launch Aug. 29. Zombies in Dead Alliance are not just the enemy; they are weapons that can be strategically used to distract and destroy unsuspecting human foes in combat.

  • Verdun developers announce new front Tannenberg

    The two studios behind Verdun - Blackmill Games and M2H - just announced a new title in their realistic WW1 series ‘1914-1918’. Standalone expansion Tannenberg will be released on PC via Steam later this year.

Latest Shows

Empathy: Path of…

Empathy: Path of Whispers is an atmospheric and story-driven adventure game where you explore a seemingly abandoned world through the emotions and memories of the people who once i...

OPN DevLounge Mo…

Episode Five, Season One! OPN's DevLounge Monthly is a lively conversation between game developers on Twitch, on the hottest PC games to be released this upcoming month. Watch it o...

Out Soon

PC Gaming Incoming

The Golf Club 2

Rise to fame and fortune in the largest, most dynamic golf game ever created. Assemble and join onli...

Hot Plates

Discover the future world of cooking! The Chef of a space-restaurant needs to know all about managem...

Shootout on Cash…

Shootout in Cash Island it's an absurd action platformer and also a side story to HOT GUNS game. Bob...

Tormentor X Puni…

Everything in Tormentor X Punisher can be killed in one hit, from bosses to yourself. Bosses conjure...

Empathy: Path of…

Between the graphics and exploring this abandoned world and piecing together what happened, Empathy: Path of Whispers is incredible and highly recommended, even if you might not us...

Impact Winter Re…

Impact Winter may have just a few too many issues now, but the real reason it isn’t a must-buy is that it would be much more fun if you were just a lonely man wandering the wastela...

Reservoir Dogs: …

Reservoir Dogs: Bloody Days by Big Star Games is a third-person top-down shooter with few connections to Quentin Tarantino’s film other than it being about gangsters with color-cod...

Faeria Review

Faeria's gameplay shines, and what it lacks in narrative it more than makes up for in strategy. While Faeria won’t appeal to some casual players and viewers, players that enjoy del...