Why ’90s and 2000s fashion returns as a new trend is deeply unsettling for those of us, but the reimagined ’90s and 00s video game aesthetic is a good thing ? We don’t have the answers for you, but we do FrogunA charming goofy action platformer that combines elements of quite a few all action platform from 1985 to 2005.
Whether you’re a Banjo Kazooie girl, a Crash Bandicoot guy, or a Mega Mans connoisseur, Frogun is sure to captivate and captivate you, thanks to its combination of low-poly art with pixel textures and its beeps 16-silver music.
We sat down (via email) with developer Molegato (Raúl Martínez Garrido) and producer Andy Andi Han to dig deeper into the inspiration (of which there are MANY) that Frogun has built.
What is your main video game inspiration?
Of course I have to start with Crash Bandicootespecially the second one, Cortex strikes back. But the list is long, from modern games like Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker or Super Mario World 3Dto classics like Mega Man X. They all have mechanics or elements that I want to add to Frogun. Although there is a way Mega Man Legends as inspiration for graphics, or first, pixelated, free, Spelunky made me fall in love with the adventure adventure theme.
A lot of people have noticed the Mega Man Legends inspiration in particular – perhaps because it’s literally the first thing you see – but in terms of gameplay, I think most people probably won’t notice. that’s about the origin of Frogun. gameplay… Mega Man X takes more direct responsibility! The chain of attacks that you get, can hook in and pull things around or pull you towards something? That’s where it all started. While it’s not very fun to use in that game, it’s an interesting idea.
Did you learn anything new about your favorite old games from making one yourself?
YES! The level of consistency is hard and while some games open like Spyro the Dragon, Ape Escape or previous levels of Super Mario 64 tend to open general purpose areas, other games make use of each square. Crash Bandicoot 4 is a very modern example, but back to older ones like even the first one Super Mario Bros you can see that any 4-block distance or 2-block column, any small difference in position counts and affects where the character can move, jump or use any action. In a way, they are all like little puzzles.
What is the hardest part of creating a 3D platform?
Make sure everything is stable. The jumps are of the right length, those segments are challenging but fair, that there is no free space but enough air to breathe. In a genre where every level design will work, it’s easy to make mistakes, and it’s not until you’ve experimented with it a lot that you can tell what works and what doesn’t. A good example of this are the slides you see at certain levels – it takes a lot of trial and error to get them into the right position and incline! Prior to release, the ramps actually had different angles and inclines, meaning that some of them launched players at odd angles or distances.
Retro style games seem to go through cycles. We’ve gone through pixel-art, then N64/PS1-style low-poly, and now we seem to be in the era of PS2/DS graphics. Frogun seems to be between N64, PS1 and DS, PLUS it has frogs, making it VERY trendy. Did you know this when choosing the art style for Frogun? Do you think you will always do it in this style?
I love pixel art and little poly art. So in a way, I chose that style just because I like it. Before Frogun appeared, my main occupation was to earn all kinds of low commissions. And everyone seemed to like them, so I decided to make Frogun in the same style. Plus, a very blocky game needs a blocky graphic style! And the low poly + pixel combination allows for some jagged but cozy results if you play your cards right.
Which element in Frogun is taken directly from your gaming childhood?
There’s a lot of that. The beauty of the ruins comes directly from Crash Bandicoot, and in the ruins levels inside you can clearly see the similarities to the first Crash game. But the grappling mechanic was inspired by the Strike Chain weapon in Mega Man X2, as mentioned before. It looks great, even if it’s not very fun to use in that game.
There are also some more primary inspirations for the general aesthetic, like Croc Legends of the Gobbosor Gexespecially the third one, Deep Cover Geckoor even Bomber Hero. If you’ve looked at the environments for those games, you’ll see the effects appear in Frogun, especially at the larger and more complex geometrical levels.
Does the name “frogun” come first, or gun… frog? Also, why is it a frog gun?
Frogs are cool and their sticky tongue is an interesting trait. So of course they are well suited to material crocheters. A nice normal grappling hook, but overdone. I want to make it cute and fun. Also, the quirky puns and silly pranks are the pinnacle of humour.
Be your parent pick Frogun because it’s based on the older game? Did they play games with you as children? And have they played this yet?
My parents didn’t like video games when I was young. I remember that was always a reason for discussion. I’m not the most responsible kid, and sometimes I don’t wait to finish my homework before turning on my PlayStation. They don’t like that!
They’ve never really cared about the game as much as you can tell, and I doubt they’ll ever take Frogun seriously. At least they know it exists, and I think they’re glad it happened!
What lessons can game developers learn from old games – and what do you think old games can learn from modern games?
From the old games, we can learn a lot of things, such as being really innovative and daring in design. Don’t be afraid to create genres, increase consensus, and create something interesting without worrying about indicators, established market trends, or graphical expectations.
From modern games, old games can learn about accessibility, clarity, and streamlined mechanics and controls. And of course, user-friendly. A lot of old games don’t try to explain anything, and while some try to make things self-explanatory, others just throw new mechanics in the face of players without thinking twice.
Why did you make the decision to combine 32-bit image with 16-bit audio? Are you worried about purists?
Frogun was never intended to be the purest version of a 32-bit game. Instead, the goal is to encapsulate what we think of, when we imagine one of these games. We consider it classic, as low resolution and many low resolutions are very different from today’s graphics trends and capabilities. But the sound hasn’t evolved as much as the graphics since then. By the time the consoles were able to reproduce the recorded sound, the gates were wide open. So taking a step back in history to sound helps make the whole experience feel cohesive.
Although just like with the graphics, the sound is also inspired by 16-bit audio rather than realistic compared to its limitations. You will be surprised at the amount of music from games like Donkey Kong Country, Mega Man X4, Super Mario RPG, and even many different ones came up when searching for references! The final soundtrack is a mix of different generations of video games.
How does it feel to play your games on modern versions of the N64 and PS1?
It’s like a dream come true. Something I wouldn’t have dreamed of just a year and a half ago. I really want to thank Top Hat Studios for doing the work of porting and programming the game to consoles, which is what made it possible for the game to come to Nintendo and PlayStation!
Do you think your next game will follow the same classic style? Or do you have other plans?
It will definitely continue to have multi-pixel and low-pixel textures. That’s just too close to my heart. But of course there will also be a lot of differences! Just remember the graphical difference between Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIIIor the difference in style between Rayman 2 and, for example, Bugs Bunny Lost in Time. This vintage aesthetic is a much broader and more diverse niche than most people realize, and I wanted to explore them all.
Thanks to Andy Andi Han and Molegato for talking to us and sharing their love of classic games.
Frogun is available now on the Nintendo Switch eShop for $14.99 ($11.99 on sale until August 15) and there’s a physical version as well, available through Limited Run Games.
There’s also a patch coming out over the next one to two weeks that aims to fix some common issues with the game, like opponents dealing damage in races, reverse control, and customization options. choose to smooth the camera, while also increasing time for certain actions like shooting sequences. “We’re listening to the feedback we’re getting about the game and are working to make the experience smoother, especially from a QoL perspective,” said Frogun producer Andy Andi Han.
Let us know if you’ve included Frogun in reviews and classic games (we’re counting anything made before 2005 as “https://www.nintendolife.com/retro” , let’s solve) you love to see the next inspired game!