Pocket Frogs iPad/iPhone game surprisingly addictive

The free Pocket Frogs game for iPad and iPhone doesn’t have much “game,” but it is strangely compelling and surprisingly addictive. This is one of those “freemium” games that are free to play, but to speed things up, the company will happily sell you (for real money, of course) coins or potions or mana that make your life easier. There are many such games, mostly involving pretend farming, though GodFinger involves playing God and having worshippers and making rain. I have tried GodFinger and one or two farm games and never enjoyed them in the slightest. There was always the overwhelming “you must buy stuff from us to succeed” vibe that was a total turn off. And, frankly, making crops grow isn’t all that much fun. More like work than fun, in fact. Yet I know that many people are addicted to such games.

Pocket Frogs is almost entirely unlike those farming games, and is much more compelling to me. The game is essentially about breeding and raising frogs (cute things, as you can see in the picture below). You start with a couple of frogs that you have to tame (really) by taking them to the pond (see picture below) and having them jump from lily pad to lily pad to catch dragonflies. Catch a few flies, and the frog becomes tame, at which point, you can breed it, catalog it, or sell it. The breeding is the interesting part: frog types are named with 3 words. The first is the color of the frog (emerald in the frog in the picture), the second is the highlight color (the spots or stripes – “folium” below), and the third is the species (“anura” below). So if you breed frogs, the offspring will have some combination of the parents features. Breeding frogs costs coins, the currency of the game, and space is limited, so you have to sell off some of the frogs you breed to make money and space. As you go up in level, you can get more habitat space for more frogs. Cataloging a frog allows you to sell it now, but to buy one back later for more money if you need it.

So far, this sounds like work and not fun, but there is strategy involved in figuring out what frogs to breed to get desired characteristics. You sometimes get requests for a certain frog type, and you probably need to breed to get it (I haven’t yet succeeded in my first request, because I’m looking for “viola” highlights). Beyond that, taking the frogs to the pond to mature them, tame them, and make them happy is fun. The rhythmic hopping from pad to pad is very relaxing and amusing. While romping through the pond, your frog encounters other frogs to breed with and sometimes lands on lily pads withs presents. These presents include interesting frogs, decorations for habitats, coins, growth potions (speeds up hatching and maturing), and stamps (speeds up delivery of items you buy or find). You can buy things at the store for in-game coins, but they typically take half an hour or more to be delivered. Using a stamp makes it instant. Sometimes stamps are needed simply because your mailbox only has a few slots and you need to make space.

Overall, the game is very simple and pleasant to play, and seems like it will give moments of satisfaction. Maybe not quite the same satisfaction as blowing up Covenant enemies or saving the galaxy, but less work to get there. The biggest flaw I’ve found is that you can’t sync your game so it is consistent between iPad and iPhone. The games must be separate, which is too much work, so I won’t bother playing on the iPhone. Check the game out for yourself and see if it grabs you or bores you. I like it.

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