Earlier this month, we brought you a preview of Frog Orbs, the Missile Command-style iOS game from Ballpit Monster that places you in the roll of a magic-wielding frog challenged with defeating countless numbers of "Benglings" before he can be destroyed first. Now that we've had a chance to go hands-on with Frog Orbs, we've found that it's too challenging (and expensive) for most players.
Frog Orbs is an arcade style shooter that sees you facing off against infinite waves of enemies while completing missions. Enemies come in multiple varieties, from slow to fast, but none are exactly easy to defeat. You'll tap on the screen to aim and automatically shoot star blasts from the frog's staff, and will also have four vials of magical potions that sit across the bottom of the screen to play with. Some shoot fire orbs, while others trap Benglings in ice (if they hit them). Another raises the defenses of all of the vials, and a fourth creates rock barriers that the Benglings will hit and explode.
While the object of each game is to just survive as long as possible, the only way you'll survive is by keeping enemies from hitting the frog in the middle of the screen. Each hit takes away a heart, and when all of the hearts are gone, it's game over. Of course, you can use your magical vials to help clear the playing field, but these can be broken if they're hit with too many Benglings in a short amount of time.
While each game of Frog Orbs starts relatively slowly, it quickly becomes far too chaotic and challenging to survive for any lengthy period of time. As you complete missions like earning a certain number of points or casting specific spells, you'll unlock new playing fields and will encounter new types of Benglings, like ones that are especially weak to fire blasts or ice blasts. Later stages become even more complicated still, so only those with insane reflexes and patience will likely enjoy anything but the basic stage and original difficulty. Even then, the aiming is hard to get used to, since Benglings are constantly moving, and you must aim at the blank space where you think the Bengling will end up by the time the star hits the top of the screen, rather than where the Bengling is when you actually tap to shoot.
As you defeat enemies, there's the chance that flies will appear on the screen, trapped in jars. By breaking these jars with shots from the staff, you'll earn currency that can be spent on different staffs, hats for the frog, and various upgrades that will, in theory, make your frog stronger. However, it's very difficult to earn any more than 30 or so flies in each game (even that's being generous), and the cheapest item in the store is a hat that costs 400 flies. Most of the upgrades you'd actually want cost 800 flies, and while 1,000 flies can be purchased for $0.99 USD, the game's marketplace is still far too expensive in the long run. Unless you're willing to throw real money at the game, you'll be left with the same extremely difficult gameplay that you started with, which is simply disappointing.
While Frog Orbs is available to download for free, you'll need to throw a couple of dollars at the game to get any lasting enjoyment out of the experience. If you want the game to remain free-to-play, you'll need to get used to dying quickly and Benglings that are simply "unfair," as they'll run right past a fireball or star shot without even being phased. Perhaps these are issues that Ballpit Monster could work on in the future, but until then, this is one that you can feel fine skipping.
Download Frog Orbs for free on iTunes >
Have you tried Frog Orbs? Do you think the game is too challenging, or too easy? Sound off in the comments!