Developer: James Brown
Price: $1.99 Download on the App Store
There is no denying that Ancient Frog is a beautiful puzzle game. One could go so far as to say that playing Ancient Frog is a Zen experience. The question is: do you want Zen in a puzzle game?
In Ancient Frog from Ancient Workshop, the user moves the frog one leg at a time across a lily pad to reach the fly at the top. The game has no time limit, nor is there a maximum number of moves you can make. Therefore you can take as long as you like to move the frog toward his goal, say, like forever, in my case. Some of the 100 levels are quite hard, reflected in the rating “impossible” on them. I am assuming what looks impossible is actually possible, but like the frogs’ legs, my puny mind can only stretch so far.
The graphics in Ancient Frog are stunning, but my frustration was not soothed by the attractive backgrounds, colorful frogs and peaceful nature sounds. I found myself thinking, “Aren’t most small, brightly colored frogs poisonous?” I needed a “hint” button, or the option of finding out the answers when I got stuck. After failing a few times, when my frog did reach a fly, I felt all the more successful.
Ancient Frog is not a competitive, fast-moving action game. This game slows you down and gets you to try to bend your mind like a koan (“what is the sound of one hand clapping?”). With some game hints like a "free leg" option available, I would likely appreciate Ancient Frog more. I did not find playing Ancient Frog meditative, but maybe that’s just me. I am addicted to immediate gratification. You won’t find me making a Tibetan sand mandala either.
Watch Ancient Frog in action on YouTube: