Hello and welcome to Game Design Inspirations! GDI is a weekly bite-sized nugget of brilliant game design, taken from the games that I play “for research purposes”.
Frog Fractions 2 is the sequel to the legendary Frog Fractions by Jim Crawford. Play it now if you haven’t!
Made in 2012 when most games were spoiled by video trailers and game walkthroughs, Frog Fractions’ goal was to make players re-experience the delight of discovery in video games -- and it succeeded in doing so spectacularly.
Frog Fractions 2 is designed in much the same way, and hits the same notes as the first game. There is a lot to discover in the game (actually knowing how to play the game itself is the first step!), but one element we can take inspiration from is the game’s creative use of mechanic and genre mashups.
Here is one of Frog Fractions 2's mini-games, Toaster Derivatives. A Flappy Bird game crossed with an incremental game, the players control the toaster by buying and selling flammable commodities.
Another mini-game, Chess Invaders, is a wave-based Chess game played in real-time. Cooldown bars are used whenever the player or AI moves a piece.
And finally, LOMA Manager, a MOBA Management Simulator. You manage a group of players and have to reduce the enemy nexus health to 0. (Fun Fact: You can’t call a time-out and replace players from the bench in a real MOBA)
The theme of mashups is found liberally in the game, with game mechanics even crossing over from other genres. Not all of them result in a greater whole, but Jim Crawford’s creativity when doing so undoubtedly lead to fresh gameplay and give players the same sense of wonder that the first Frog Fractions was able to provide.
Combining mechanics and genres has always been a reliable seed for creating new experiences. Tower Defense, Collectible Card Games and MOBAs started out as mashups, and now they have grown to become the most successful genres today.
Another one of my favorite mashups? Croissants x Donuts! Who would have thought that combining two pastries together would result in something so delicious?!
Wildflour Cafe at Fort Bonifacio has the yummiest cronuts here in Metro Manila. I give their Dulce de leche cronuts 5 out of 5 stars!
Mister Donut also sells cronuts (called Dossants), and for a time sold them with the regular donuts at 7-Eleven. You don’t get that fresh artisan bakery feeling, but you save 20 pesos. Because of the savings, I also rate it 5 out of 5 stars!
And that was a Game Design Inspiration and Cronut Review mashup.
Today’s Moment of Zen:
“Whether you take the doughnut hole as a blank space or as an entity unto itself is a purely metaphysical question and does not affect the taste of the doughnut one bit.”
― Haruki Murakami, A Wild Sheep Chase
Thank you for reading! Follow Game Design Inspirations on Medium for weekly and past GDIs.