March 22, 2010
Ancient Frog was first introduced for the iPhone over one year ago, it was hailed as one of the best looking and most unique puzzle games around. The gameplay is simple, just touch and drag each one of the frog's legs in order to move it towards the fly in as few moves as possible. It sounds easy, but the environments and solid mechanics just suck you in. Now with the iPad's release right around the corner, developer James Brown of Ancient Workshop is working on a graphically optimized version of this unique puzzle game that will make you want to tap and drag those frog legs all over again on your iPad. When Brown first set out to make Ancient Frog iPad compatible, he had to take a lot of things into consideration. The game looks fantastic on the iPhone's 320x480 screen, but when each pixel would be expanded to fill up the iPad's screen, the game would lose a bit of its charm. Brown considered reworking the iPhone app's graphics to look decent on the iPad, but that would unnecessarily bloat the app and push its size to over 20MB, effectively killing "impulse buys" since the app would have to be downloaded over Wi-Fi. Instead, Brown eventually settled on this idea: rework the iPhone app to recognize the iPad and expand to the full 1024x768 resolution while adding a letterbox to keep the app's ratio intact, and create a separate iPad-specific version titled Ancient Frog HD. This way current iPhone users would be able to run Ancient Frog on their shiny new iPads while still having the game look decent if they didn't want to fork over more money for the HD version, and new Ancient Frog users would get to experience the game in all of its HD glory. Ancient Frog HD has been in the works for quite a while, although it was actually originally intended to be a Mac/PC title. Brown has put aside the Mac/PC development for the game and intends to finish the iPad version first. He is aware of the risks involved by doing this, especially with the App Store's economy that always seems to be a race to the bottom, but it's a risk he is willing to take. Ancient Frog HD doesn't have a release date or price point at this time, but the screenshots in both portrait and landscape mode should at least put it on your radar. Just look at that frog and those lush environments. Hopefully it makes you want to just reach out and touch it, because that's the point of the game after all.