11Frog Fractions celebrates what lies under the surface. If you play it for only a minute or two you will see a simple superficial joke of a game, a mildly amusing send-up of the classic educational game. A list of upgrades appears whenever you clear a wave of enemies, and the bottom of the list of upgrades are entirely comprised of silly outlandish jokes, weird skills and items involving bug porn and mars passports bought with an unattainable currency.
I will admit, when I first began playing I assumed the alternate currency was some sort of commentary on trendy free-to-play schemes, many of which have both currency acquired in-game and a rarer special currency one can buy with real money to get different items. However, the true nature of the game was far more intere(s)ting.
There’s a secret game under the surface of Frog Fractions. A secret stranger world to be discovered, if you only look below the surface– and what a wonderful metaphor to realize so literally. And, as you look deeper and experience more, the game changes to the point where those non-sensical upgrades actually make sense. Hell, they don’t just make sense, you find out that you’ve already collected half of them without even noticing.
Frog Fractions goes out of its way to seem unremarkable, to seem crude, and because it manages the player’s expectations so skillfully even the simplest of its surprises becomes amazing, all the more because it’s the player who drives his own discovery of the hidden world of the game. The same tool the creator uses to keep the scope of the game small and manageable actually has the end effect of making the game more impressive, rather than less, which is an exceptional accomplishment in elegance.