Handsome Mr. Frog is an excellent single screen arcade game based around the premise of using your tongue to eat enemies and then spit them at enemies. The game plays in four waves per room. Each wave has several enemies and when you get down to the last enemy there’s always an object in the room to eat and spit at the last foe. There’s no way to digest the enemies. Completing every few rooms will send you to the next theme. Swamp goes to ice, goes to something else, goes to the spooky haunted realm and then the game loops to the beginning.
The art is great and fits with an 8-bit style, the soundtrack is barely noticeable. Controls are easy to master, left, right, tongue and jump. There is even controller support which is always a plus.
The tongue mechanic is simple, it will extend out and return. If it catches an enemy it returns instantly. Using the tongue in mid air will freeze Handsome Mr. Toad hovering until the tongue returns. You can keep using it and just stay in the air. Its a good mechanic even with its flaws. Sometimes I managed to catch an enemy behind me while extending the tongue in the opposite direction.
After a few enemies get disposed of and fall into the drink, bubbles with collectables appear and float up. These collectables are 1-ups, treats that result in points and hot tamales. These hot tamales let you spit a single burst of three fireballs that bounce around objects and melt through enemies. Its a fun addition to an already good tongue mechanic.
Your foes get into the room by in from ceiling holes. When they walk off screen a new enemy spawns to take its place. You however can run laps around the environment. Go out the left side of the screen and appear on the right. There is a bit of a safe spot as you can completely disappear from the screen.
Each theme has two different enemies: The swamp has birds that run at you and gators that move forward at a slow pace. The ice theme has penguins that dive at you and something a bit slower. In the aquatic realm, octopi will shower you with water that can push you out of the way as well as kongs that run about. The spooky haunted realm has bone throwing skeletons and ghosts that can go through solid objects. The diversity keeps the entertainment factor up.
Some of the rooms feel a bit unfair as some have no safe spots to stand from quick dropping enemies. Well you can always stand off to the side between the left and right of the screen. Other rooms are well designed and make things easier. Each theme has a mixed bag of rooms from easy to challenging.
With everything said about the game, I encountered two issues. The first is that the game starts in full screen mode and for a lot of people this results in a black screen. It did this on my PC, but my laptop was fine. The other major issue is the game froze for me. It happened once in twenty minutes of playing. This forced me to control, alt, delete my way out. Even then the game’s music continued playing and I had to go into the task manager to truly close the program.
Despite its issues, the game is a lot of fun for a dollar or less.