This platformer frustrates me like no other, but now I'm addicted to beating my own personal best and can't stop

Frogun Encore Renatta using her gun to cross a gap in a sandy level
(Image credit: Top Hat Studios)

If you've ever asked me for a game recommendation that's as enjoyable as it is frustrating, or you wanted a nostalgia hit while playing something new, Frogun would've been my go-to. So having played and praised the first game, Frogun Encore was something I had to try once it launched, and I'm happy to report it only reinforces my feelings about the series. 

Frogun Encore builds on the foundations set by the first game to create something I found even more charming. It maintains the retro-looking appearance and childlike wonder of exploration as you venture through the whole world, while also adding a level of challenge that puts the first game to shame. It's tight and fast-paced, which keeps you engaged in its levels that could easily be completed in less than ten minutes per run. Generally it won't take long to blast through the whole adventure, but there's a definite level of replayability that had me coming back on more than one occasion. 

Don't get me wrong, despite singing its praises I still got frustrated at every possible moment. Each time I was racing against the clock and missed a jump or fired my Frogun too early I had to sharply breathe through gritted teeth. But that's the charm of Frogun Encore, much the same as the first game. Even though it looks like a lot of games I would've blitzed through when I was younger, it comes with a level of challenge that almost had me snapping my keyboard over my knee at certain points. Usually, this would be enough to make me want to stop playing altogether, but my stubbornness to complete the game helped me push through the moments where I simply couldn't beat a level. 

But one of the things I love most about Encore is the emphasis on speedrunning levels to beat your personal best. Even though this was a feature of the first game, it is further emphasised in the sequel, and I felt far more compelled to repeat levels I had already finished to get a new personal best. The tighter controls that make the game feel far more fluid helped, as well as the aforementioned stubbornness. Plus, with a soundtrack that transported me to my early days of gaming, begging my sibling for help with certain levels, it was hard not to want to keep ahold of this feeling whenever I could. 

To make the experience even more enjoyable, and also take away the pressure of having to do it all on my own, Frogun Encore let me invite a friend along the way which is a new addition since the first game. I hate to admit how many times this ended up in blaming the other person for our downfall since arguments like this have only ever cropped up during Overcooked playthroughs and it's not something I'm proud of. But it still helped to make my time with the game more memorable, even though my chosen friend probably won't want to play anything else with me for a while. 

Even though my frustration with the game doesn't sound like a selling point, it is. When I got to the end of different worlds or beat a boss, I felt genuinely satisfied with what I'd done. It's hard work to trudge through each level, especially once you start delving further into the game and the difficulty increases alongside your confidence. But the payoff of beating a personal best time, or just getting to move on to the next level, is well worth the work. I've still got what feels like a long way to go before I can say I've confidently 100% completed Frogun Encore, but I can't imagine it'll take too long now I've become addicted to beating every personal record I've got. 

Kara Phillips
Evergreen Writer

Kara is an evergreen writer. Having spent three years as a games journalist guiding, reviewing, or generally waffling about the weird and wonderful, she’s more than happy to tell you all about which obscure indie games she’s managed to sink hours into this week. When she’s not raising a dodo army in Ark: Survival Evolved or taking huge losses in Tekken, you’ll find her helplessly trawling the internet for the next best birdwatching game because who wants to step outside and experience the real thing when you can so easily do it from the comfort of your living room. Right?