Frog Orbs is an arcade shooter in which Bufo, a frog wizard, must protect
himself and his magical orbs from the Benglings, evil creatures that resemble
balls with feet that make suicide runs at our hero and his orb collection. Bufo
sits at the center of the bottom of the screen with a pair of orbs to each side.
The Benglings enter the from the top of the screen and you need to take them out
before they make it to the bottom and damage Bufo or one of his orbs. Bufo's
first line of defense is his magic wand and to use it you tap the screen where
you'd like Bufo to cast a bolt. It takes a bit of time for the bolt to reach its
target and the Benglings move quickly, so leading your targets is essential to
success. The magic bolts create splash damage, as do exploding Benglings, so
placing your shots where they can set off Bengling busting combos is another
important key to success.
Bufo can also use the orbs to cast special spells. Hold your finger on an orb to
charge it up and then release it to cast the spell. The fire orb will cast
fireballs onto the battlefield, the air orb will protect and heal your orbs, the
ice orb will cast freeze spells on the Benglings, and the earth orb will create
obstacles between you and the Benglings.
When the Benglings hit an orb they damage it, and if an orb takes too many hits
you'll lose the ability to cast its spells. Bufo himself can only take a little
damage represented by hearts beneath his feet. No more hearts means no more Bufo
and the end of your game. True to its arcade-inspired roots, a game lasts as
long as you can keep Bufo alive, but the longer he lives the faster and bigger
the Bengling attacks become. The goal is to survive as long as you can and to
rack-up as big a score as you can before you inevitably lose, just like in the
arcade games of yore.
There's some Bengling tapping fun to be had with the game, but there are also
some pretty big flaws that ultimately bring the game down. Right off of the bat
I have to knock five points off of the final rating because the game ignores the
mute setting on your phone. Major no-no. Unfortunately that's not the least of
the game's sins, as poor spell design, obnoxious upgrade pricing designed to
drive you to the IAP page, and poor level progression all work together to make
Frog Orbs a lot less fun than it could have been.
Some of the spells are useful, but why does the ice spell fire off in some
random direction making it as likely to miss everything as to actually hit
something? And when it does it only temporarily freezes an enemy, so you still
need to shoot the enemy anyway. Upgrade to a second level spell and the you get
an ice wall in the shape of a 'V', but where that V ends up and the angle
between the sides is a crapshoot and half the time it's of dubious help. Same
with the powered-up fire wall spell, the earth spell that fires in a random
direction, etc., etc. I imagine that like me you prefer your
powered-up attacks to actually be attacks rather than random event generators.
As you play, enemies will randomly drop jars of flies that you need to shoot to
collect. These flies act as the in-game currency that is used to purchase
upgrades such as more powerful wands and hats that bestow various bonuses, but
the number of flies you'll need to purchase each upgrade is ridiculous. You
could play the game for a couple of hours before being able to make your first
purchase. You can buy more flies for real money via in-app purchases, but the
price is set to the point where each and every upgrade will cost you at least a
dollar. A dollar for a wand, another for a hat, and another for a potion, or
spend five hours or so playing to collect enough flies to afford those
purchases? No, thank you.
Lastly, there's the level progression. On a system where you can usually unlock
a few dozen levels within an hour of play it's strange that the game makes you
play so long just to unlock five levels, and making matters worse it doesn't
tell you what you need to do to unlock those levels. It doesn't matter, really,
because you'll probably be too frustrated with the game long before you get
around to unlocking the last levels anyway.
Final Rating: 55%