180/365 – Meditation Games #180 – Frog Lemmings For The Win

Developer: fayju

When I was younger and I was more of a widespread connoisseur of games rather than someone who has a bit of a discerning taste, there were always a few specific genres that I’d get involved in that seemed intriguing and interesting, and slightly off the beaten path to all the more famous and well-traveled AAA titles that were out there. One of those genres was the sort of hybrid simulation/strategy type genre that has you with complete control over what you command – games like Populous, Black and White, and of course, Lemmings, were titles that I found interesting because I had to command nuance as well as general orders.

I was sort of reminded of that by the game that fayju developed, which, without preamble, set out to ensure that you got the highest score possible commanding legions of frogs to  roll objects around, being careful not to explode to many of them. After being used to my forays into RTS games, where there was at least some action I could command my units to do and leave them to do it, coming back to a genre where you had to do everything was a little bit jarring, but also fairly fun and entertaining. There was a bit of a pang of regret seeing and directing the frogs into a sort of explosive death when doing the wrong thing, but I think that kind of sympathy pain is normal for such games where what you control is both numerous and a little bit without direction.

The challenge, of course, is extracting success out of failure, and creating a coordination that wouldn’t exist otherwise – a sort of something from nothing kind of recipe that puts you in control of the outcome. Even though you can get a little aggravated at the mindlessness of the minions you command at times (I can’t even tell you how many times I thought I had something right in Lemmings only for them to go right off a cliff to their Lemmings deaths), that, I think, is part of the challenge and part of the cool feeling you get when managing those under your command to a great score or success during a level. The games are less common these days, or take the form of more strategic titles with better behaving AI, but the charm of the simpler games is something I have no problem returning to, as I did with this entry in the project.

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