Who: Developed and Published by Miniclip (miniclip.com)
What: Frag physics fun
Where: Many themed worlds
When: NOW! $0.99 on iTunes
Why: Blowing stuff up is always entertaining
Physics is the science that just keeps giving in video games. Angry Birds, Cut the Rope, Where’s My Water, and Fruit Ninja are just some examples of games that use physics as a prime game mechanic; maybe you have heard of them? Fragger is similar in mechanics, and throws challenging level design and explosions on top of it.
Void of any story, your goal is to blow every character in the level apart with small explosives, most often grenades. You chose an angle and strength for the trajectory of your frag and let go, much like you did in Kitty Cannon back in the day. Once it stops, or comes very close, it will explode setting of triggers, destroying barriers, or disuniting your foes. This concept is simple enough but the gameplay lies within the level design.
Desert Strike is the name of the first world you must deface by blowing everything up. It is also the name of a terrific game on the Sega Genesis that occupied much of my youth. Things start out pretty simple. Some punks are hanging out in holes and behind walls hoping you are incapable of placing your finger on the screen and then lifting it. Difficulty progresses quite nicely, giving a player the chance to get a feel for how powerful this SWAT dude’s arm is. At perhaps the 8th level, because the guy standing at the top of the crates is surprisingly hard to take down, you will realize you are out of ammo… FAIL! Though, now you mean business. Each toss is carefully planned. Sometimes you may even take out two birds with one…. frag, and by birds I mean Counter Strike-like terrorists. Your rating, 3 stars max, depends on the number of grenades you have once the level is clear.
If you are having trouble on a specific level you can view the solution or skip it, but these are in limited supply and additional ones cost REAL money. A “SAVE MY SOLUTION” feature is a nice addition. It lets you show off your amazing understanding of physics when applied to grenade tossing.
There are several Achievements to unlock and Fragger works with Game Center, so you can compete with your buddies. Completing a level often gives you remote bombs that you can set off whenever, and at some point you get infinite ammo, but I don’t remember the exact requirement for that. The remote bomb buff will help you tremendously if you are a completionist and want to go back through levels with perfect stars. This is currently what I’m working on, and some levels are still extremely difficult to perfect. One of the best Achievements asks you to ENRAGE 3 enemies and blow them up. To ENRAGE (I can’t seem to type that without using caps) someone you must bean them in the head a few times. Yes, it is funny.
I do have a couple gripes, but the main one is common with any, “aim & fire” mechanic: pixel perfect accuracy. Some grenade placements require a perfect angle and power level to attain, and force you into a throw then reset loop until you find the sweet spot. This can feel extremely monotonous. That paired with levels requiring a sort of progression with the eagle eye shot at the end will make you put the game down. This must be how they sell the Skip and Solve packs. Another small irritation is the UI flow. There is no way to exit a level from the completion screen, and no way to exit a world from the in game menu. For example, now that I’m going through levels and trying for all 3 stars I want to go into a specific level, finish it, and return to the level select screen or even the world select screen. Currently I have to choose Next or Replay to reload a level and then exit to the level select screen. Only from there could I go back out to the worlds. It’s a minor nuisance, but there’s no reason it needs to require that many clicks.
Fragger currently has 12 worlds with around 30 levels a piece. These worlds are quite unique, and give everything just enough of a new taste that it feels different from before.
Desert Strike & Lost City have a very similar theme. You’re a counter terrorist eradicating terrorists in new and old urban areas.
Planet X places you on an alien world riddled with shinnies and slimies.
Atlantis puts you into some underwater ruins with shirtless dudes that look like ‘Baby’ Brent from ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs’.
Artic Storm was released around Christmas last year I think so everyone is bundled up to look like santa, but that doesn’t matter you still want to blow them up.
Heart Attack is where things start getting a little strange, and I assume this came out last February. No longer are you a law enforcing officer. You are Cupid in a diaper, armed with deadly hearts, and forcing your love explosion on heart broken bandits. They die in an explosion of hearts so I assume you have helped them.
Horror Ville brings Frankenstein’s Monster out for you to bombard in dilapidated buildings just in time for Halloween.
Ancient Times throws you back to the middle ages against dumb-witted goons in Egypt, Rome, Greece, and South America. Your weapon of choice this round is a golden ball of some sort. Golden apple maybe?
Honey Bunny is another holiday themed world. This time you’re wearing a bunny suit and chucking deadly eggs at painted targets. It seems a little sick.
Treasure Bay was definitely inspired by ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’. You’re cannonball toting avatar can hardly stand up. I found the integration of pirate items into the construction of the levels particularly well done in this world.
Monster Dash . . . I can’t help but think of River City Ransom when I see the art for this one.
Stick Man makes me happy. I don’t know if it reminds me of the stick men duels from forever ago, but this world is entertaining.
The levels create some great puzzles that range from making tough throws, to destroying barriers to launching other explosives in sequence or tandem in an effort to reach a hidden enemy.
- Gameplay: 9.6 – The quality and variation in level design that’s crammed into the limited real estate of a phone is terrific. The game could use a few alternative bonus features like napalm grenades, or cluster bombs. Even if they somewhat break the game, sometimes the reward for beating something as intended, should be rewarded with something ridiculous.
- Visual: 8.9 – The visuals are quite good, but nothing groundbreaking for the iPhone. The different themes are well designed, but I’d like to see a bit more variation in the enemies. Perhaps some defining characteristics in their visuals to establish a type of nemesis throughout the worlds.
- Sound: 9.1 – Sound effects were pretty standard, but the soundtrack is great. There is some bad ass music in the Monster Dash world, and there’s a song in Heart Attack that will bore itself into the base of your skull.
- Presentation: 7.8 – The whole navigation thing is a pretty irritating, but the reason it dropped below a B are the ads. You can’t load up the app and complete a new level without them pimping one of their other games, and you will get harassed to rate the app often, even if you have already taken the time to do so.
- Humor: 8.6 – The developers definitely had a sense of humor with this game and the level themes are a strong indication. Just reading through the list above you can tell things are getting more and more silly as you go along. I look forward to a new world!
- Overall: 8.8 – Fragger has been in my arsenal for a while now. I’ve lost my progress a few times though phone upgrades and jail breaking, but I continue to go back and play through it.