Frogs vs. Storks Author: t_h_schafer -- Posted: 2011-01-30
Developer: Cateia Games
Platform: PC (review) , Mac, iOS
Puzzle games have a certain niche following these days. I certainly find some of them rather dull with certain exceptions like Puzzle Quest, the Professor Layton games and perhaps a couple others. I understand the draw of puzzle games. They exercise the mind, they're demanding, they take the kind of skill games rarely necessitate. I get it. I don't necessarily feel compelled towards puzzle games, but I get it. When I noticed Frogs vs. Storks in my review box, I had thought, "Hopefully this is some kind of knockoff of Plants vs. Zombies." Turns out I was wrong. Turns out Frogs vs. Storks is a puzzle game, not a tower defense game and not a knockoff of Plants vs. Zombies. Turns out this particular vanilla puzzle game has little to offer.
The premise is about as simple as it gets. There is a 7 x 6 grid of lily pads. You are in command of frogs, the storks are your sworn enemy. You must get your frogs to their goals which happen to be yellow lily pads by clicking the space you want them to move to or using the arrow keys. If you just so happen to try and inhabit the same lily pad which a stork has already or is in the process of claiming, he will eat you. You do not, under any circumstances, want a frog to be eaten. To avoid this from happening you have to carefully move your frogs to their goal as the storks simultaneously mirror the frogs movements. As a frog moves up, a stork moves down. Frogs move left, storks move right. Don't ask me why this happens, it is simply the game's major conceit and not derived by anything occurring in nature. There are also some stages where the storks move twice for every move you take which complicate matters immensely as I'm sure you would have deduced.
Your task is complicated by several parameters. Some lily pads are not regular lily pads. There are those with holes in them which if frog or stork happen onto the result is a humiliating plunge into the murky / swampy depths followed by an immediate teleportation back to the original lily pad from which they had begun. There are also slippery lily pads that are jumped, or slipped on, which just amounts to two spaces moved. Occasionally your frogs which you control are accompanied by fat frogs which also must reach the golden lily pads. However, these frogs are so fat that they will not move without the aid of another frog. Honestly they don't look all that fat. They do have a kind of grin which makes me think these frogs are just there for a free ride. How these frogs would have survived in this environment without the aid of some very helpful and unselfish companions I'll never know, but such is life.
If you want to show off and get more points there are mosquitoes and flowers to procure. These are also fair game for the storks and when they get them points are deducted. Also the storks tend to lay eggs occasionally which remain on the board indefinitely since the storks have no interest in getting them back whatsoever. You'd think a stork of all creatures would value their eggs as they've had this cultural connotation as beings which bring about new birth in a jovial manner, but no. In frogs vs. storks the storks are brainless devourers of anything frog, flower or mosquito and nothing more.
The game does offer some in terms of replayability in the form of achievements. There are only a handful and they are obtained by completing levels with perfect scores. These are reserved for the most hardcore of FVS fans.
Frogs vs. Storks offers little in the way of presentation. The music and graphics are passible for such a simple game but there isn't any creativity or charm here. You have your frogs and you have your storks and they hop around on lily pads accomplishing a rather inane task that is hard to care about. I mean, it is a puzzle game, essentially it amounts to little more than a simple game mechanic with a splash of swamp themed paint. If you're looking for a game that will run on a netbook, however, this game certainly does. But, if that is your only necessity while shopping for a game you could certainly do better. When free internet flash games have more to offer, there really isn't much I can say to justify the purchase of Frogs vs. Storks. I know I might be coming down hard on such a trivial game title, but I do it because I care. Save your pennies.