We've been following the development of NimbleBit's Pocket Frogs [Free] for quite some time now; the thread in our upcoming games forum has even grown to over 800 posts. Beta testers loved the game and the excitement surrounding a freemium game that was designed from the ground up to provide a great gameplay experience without making gamers feel nickel and dimed seemed contagious. Having spent a considerable amount of time with pre-release builds of the game and the final pre-release copy of the game, and Pocket Frogs really is something that everyone should try-- even if you've shied away from freemium games in the past.

In Pocket Frogs, as the title may suggest, you are responsible for breeding, growing, and maintaining a habitat (or eventually, multiple habitats) of cute little frogs. The process goes a little something like this: Tapping a frog brings up a menu, initially you have the option to move the frog to another habitat, take the frog out to the pond, or just sell the frog for coins. Usually you will want to take frogs to the pond, which consists of a quasi-exploration mini-game where you hop around on lily pads somewhat similar to Dizzypad [$1.99 / HD]. After eating a certain number of dragon flies in the pond, the frog is tamed. A tamed frog when tapped in its habitat has three additional options. You can breed it (more on that later). You can catalog it, which allows you to essentially re-order a frog in the in-game mail if you sell it or need another one. Finally, you can gift the frog to any friend via the Plus+ network.

At any time you can take any of your frogs back to the pond, which will allow them to fill up on dragonflies to increase their happiness. In addition, you will randomly stumble across presents which could be an additional frog, new backgrounds or objects for your habitat, coins, or the various in-game consumables. Also, there are other frogs bouncing about the pond which you will run in to, and when you jump to the same lilly pad you have the option to breed with said frog.

Initially, breeding frogs seems fairly simple but as you progress further in to the game it actually gets quite complex. Basically, frogs have three traits: Their base color, their pattern color, and the pattern itself. When you breed two frogs you're shown the possible outcome, which could be up to 8 different combinations of colors and patterns. You can either breed frogs just for the fun of creating new frogs with cool colors and patterns, or you can shoot for the various goals in the game.

Pocket Frogs is host to tons of different awards (each coming with their own experience point bonus) which involve breeding to collect a certain number of specific frogs of various colors. You can either complete these challenges entirely on your own by breeding your existing frogs and collecting new ones either by buying them with coins at the in-game store, finding them in the pond, or breeding with other frogs in the pond. Alternatively, if you have other friends playing the game, they can send you the frogs you're missing (or the ones you need to breed with) via an in-game mail system. In addition to awards, there are also frog requests that you can take which act like an in-game quest system that require a specific breed of frog. These are completed the same way.

It seems like people are (understandably) skeptical about any freemium game, as often whatever in-app purchase fuels the game doesn't feel optional at all. Pocket Frogs has the best balance of free gameplay and in-app purchases of any free game I've played both on the App Store and in other freemium markets such as Facebook games. Like any freemium game, Pocket Frogs is monetized both through iAds that appear in a few of the submenus (but never in any actual gameplay screens) as well as buying in-game consumables.

When you breed frogs, little frog eggs appear in your nursery. Different frogs take different amounts of time to hatch, and you can either wait for them or spend growth potions to get them to hatch instantly. Frogs that are bought from the frog shop or sent to you by friends appear in your in-game inbox, and take time to be delivered. Just like the frog eggs, you can either wait, or spend stamps to have them delivered instantly. Also, if you mail frogs to friends, that costs stamps too.

The cool part is that you can always take your frogs out to the pond, and if you hop around enough, you can find both stamps and growth potions randomly. Unlike nearly every other freemium game I've played, it doesn't seem like you're ever at a point where there is nothing to do in Pocket Frogs. Even if your nursery is full and you can't breed anymore and your mailbox is full preventing you from getting any goodies and you're waiting on the timers of frog eggs and mail, you can still jump around collecting coins. Overall the entire experience doesn't seem to be anywhere near as limited as most freemium games if you decide to not pay, you just won't get the instant gratification of seeing what your eggs hatch in to.

Pocket Frogs is a fantastic game loaded with cute graphics, tons of content, and a free/paid system that is masterfully balanced to truly feel optional instead of required like many freemium games. Even if cute graphics aren't your thing, the depth of the game is extremely impressive and breeding the rarest frogs could serve as a great goal for the hardcore. I've barely scratched the surface of what there is to do in Pocket Frogs in this review, but if all this sounds even remotely interesting you really should give this game a try. To sweeten the deal, it even comes loaded with Retina Display graphics and is universal to play on either the iPhone or the iPad. If you've already got the game and are looking to friends to play with, stop by this thread on our forums.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • Darkowl

    Do you need an internet connection to play?

    • http://nimblebit.com David Marsh

      Nope, no internet connection needed. Though you will have to connect if you want to send or receive gifts.

  • Darkowl

    Do you need an internet connection to play?

    • http://nimblebit.com David Marsh

      Nope, no internet connection needed. Though you will have to connect if you want to send or receive gifts.

  • Adams Immersive

    I like the idea of ads in submenus. Not in your face on the main menu, not marring the game play—pretty harmless. (Of course, having an ad IN the game, or on the main menu, would make the devs more money I know.)

    But mostly I just like the look of the frogs!

  • Adams Immersive

    I like the idea of ads in submenus. Not in your face on the main menu, not marring the game play—pretty harmless. (Of course, having an ad IN the game, or on the main menu, would make the devs more money I know.)

    But mostly I just like the look of the frogs!

  • advancedcaveman

    I'll try this but I'm not paying for in-game items. That's bullshit.

    • http://nimblebit.com David Marsh

      That is pretty advanced for a caveman. There are no items in the game that you are forced to buy with IAP.

    • Yrogerg212

      Isn't buying an app the same thing? Paying for something immaterial?

      • Flamojo

        This is a freemium app, it's Free-to-play so they aren't forcing you to pay for anything

      • Yrogerg212

        I know! He's saying that IAPs are "bullshit" but I'm arguing that paid apps (80% of the apps on this site) are the same concept.

  • advancedcaveman

    I'll try this but I'm not paying for in-game items. That's bullshit.

    • http://nimblebit.com David Marsh

      That is pretty advanced for a caveman. There are no items in the game that you are forced to buy with IAP.

    • Yrogerg212

      Isn't buying an app the same thing? Paying for something immaterial?

      • Flamojo

        This is a freemium app, it's Free-to-play so they aren't forcing you to pay for anything

      • Yrogerg212

        I know! He's saying that IAPs are "bullshit" but I'm arguing that paid apps (80% of the apps on this site) are the same concept.

  • Darkowl

    Yea I just downloaded it, took forever, everybody must be trying to get it. No ICR! w00t TY.

  • Darkowl

    Yea I just downloaded it, took forever, everybody must be trying to get it. No ICR! w00t TY.

  • Metalbear

    The anticipation around this game is enormous. I despise freemium, but this looks interesting. Downloading now. :)

  • Metalbear

    The anticipation around this game is enormous. I despise freemium, but this looks interesting. Downloading now. :)

  • JCat

    Froggies @ 11:PM ! :)

  • JCat

    Froggies @ 11:PM ! :)

  • Yrogerg212

    Ah! Plus+ integration. How cute. How antique.

    • http://nimblebit.com David Marsh

      At least everyone with a 3G and original iPhone and Touches will be able to play the game! If we had relied on Game Center we would have had to cut those people out.

      We are considering way to integrate Game Center on top of what we already have though, in order for it to show up in Game Center for those people who have devices that support it.

      • Yrogerg212

        I agree that Plus+ can be supported for older devices (though why someone with a 3G hasn't upgraded to a 4 is strange, but another topic), but will there be support for Game Center as well?

    • andsoitgoes

      @David - Thanks, a mature explanation as to the process.

      @Yrogerg - Think there man, I have an iPad and can't access Game Center for another 2 months. A lot of people with older phones cannot. So why limit everyone?

      They've advised they're working on it. Instead of trying to sound cute, couldn't you have said: "I see this has Plus+, is there any reason why it doesn't have Game Center support and will that be added in?"

      Was that really that difficult?

      • http://nimblebit.com David Marsh

        We are also relying on Plus+ to:

        - Save user data, to back up your game and have the ability to visit your friends' habitats.

        - Send gifts and items back and forth to each other

        Unfortunately Game Center does not support the technology needed to have those features, so if we were to rely on Game Center exclusively we would have had to build those systems and the underlying server / network ourselves instead of being able to rely on Plus+.

  • Yrogerg212

    Ah! Plus+ integration. How cute. How antique.

    • http://nimblebit.com David Marsh

      At least everyone with a 3G and original iPhone and Touches will be able to play the game! If we had relied on Game Center we would have had to cut those people out.

      We are considering way to integrate Game Center on top of what we already have though, in order for it to show up in Game Center for those people who have devices that support it.

      • Yrogerg212

        I agree that Plus+ can be supported for older devices (though why someone with a 3G hasn't upgraded to a 4 is strange, but another topic), but will there be support for Game Center as well?

    • andsoitgoes

      @David - Thanks, a mature explanation as to the process.

      @Yrogerg - Think there man, I have an iPad and can't access Game Center for another 2 months. A lot of people with older phones cannot. So why limit everyone?

      They've advised they're working on it. Instead of trying to sound cute, couldn't you have said: "I see this has Plus+, is there any reason why it doesn't have Game Center support and will that be added in?"

      Was that really that difficult?

      • http://nimblebit.com David Marsh

        We are also relying on Plus+ to:

        - Save user data, to back up your game and have the ability to visit your friends' habitats.

        - Send gifts and items back and forth to each other

        Unfortunately Game Center does not support the technology needed to have those features, so if we were to rely on Game Center exclusively we would have had to build those systems and the underlying server / network ourselves instead of being able to rely on Plus+.

  • Martin

    Great, a new thing to keep me from going to sleep ... and then 1.5 hours on wake-up this morning dammit. Made level 4 but this is exactly why I have avoided these sorts of games before; a shame this is so cute :).

  • Martin

    Great, a new thing to keep me from going to sleep ... and then 1.5 hours on wake-up this morning dammit. Made level 4 but this is exactly why I have avoided these sorts of games before; a shame this is so cute :).

  • Poach

    Not available in the Hong Kong store yet.

  • Poach

    Not available in the Hong Kong store yet.

  • Aaron

    this is awesome, cute and addictive... and the paid stuff is for the hardcore players so it's not limiting at all. Only wish there was a cute tadpole stage :-)

    • http://www.littlefrogs.webs.com Rue

      totally agree :) plus the stuff your supposed to pay for you can find in the pond. i have almost 40 of both stamps and potions, and have never paid a penny. I think it's the best free game ever!

  • http://www.BlueBilby.com/ WauloK

    My daughter is SOOOO going to love this game :)

  • Aaron

    this is awesome, cute and addictive... and the paid stuff is for the hardcore players so it's not limiting at all. Only wish there was a cute tadpole stage :-)

  • http://www.BlueBilby.com/ WauloK

    My daughter is SOOOO going to love this game :)

  • Carl

    I have a pure white Frog :D

    I wonder how many people have this frog.

    • http://littlefrogs.webs.com rue

      i have a white frog too!! then i sold it... but i have another one! I think it has an off white pattern on it. kinda cool... like a ghost frog lol

  • Carl

    I have a pure white Frog :D

    I wonder how many people have this frog.

  • JCat

    I've got one too - wait, maybe it's a very light gray ? lol -
    This is a great time destroyer!! :)

  • JCat

    I've got one too - wait, maybe it's a very light gray ? lol -
    This is a great time destroyer!! :)

  • LeopardGecko

    Stop calling it freemium. I know it might technically be freemium, but it doesn't feel like it at all. EVERYTHING is free, IAP's just speed things up a tad.

  • LeopardGecko

    Stop calling it freemium. I know it might technically be freemium, but it doesn't feel like it at all. EVERYTHING is free, IAP's just speed things up a tad.

  • Mark

    Hi David,
    Really great game and have been enjoying it for a few hours now. The achievements you have in place are really interesting as challenges. I really hope that you can transfer these same achieves into gameCenter soon and also ensure they do not need to be re-achieved at that time.

  • Mark

    Hi David,
    Really great game and have been enjoying it for a few hours now. The achievements you have in place are really interesting as challenges. I really hope that you can transfer these same achieves into gameCenter soon and also ensure they do not need to be re-achieved at that time.

  • siupao

    how to make money in the game? an extra habitant is way too expensive and i dont want to sell my frogs in exchange of money

    • Aaron

      check my post below ;-)

    • http://littlefrogs.webs.com Rue

      hop around the pond for awhile it might seem tedious, but its worth it. sometimes, you can snag 300 coins! :) i know you probably wont want to do this, but whenever you see another frog in the pond, breed with it and just sell the frog.

  • siupao

    how to make money in the game? an extra habitant is way too expensive and i dont want to sell my frogs in exchange of money

    • Aaron

      check my post below ;-)

  • Aaron

    get the most rare breeds you have and start breeding em like crazy. I have a breed worth $200c so I've got a brood about to hatch worth $1600c. But earlier on in the game level up as quick as you can cause you get big cash rewards. Happy breeding!

  • Aaron

    get the most rare breeds you have and start breeding em like crazy. I have a breed worth $200c so I've got a brood about to hatch worth $1600c. But earlier on in the game level up as quick as you can cause you get big cash rewards. Happy breeding!

  • Ru

    And the best thing about this is that nothing DIES if you stop playing for a while.

  • jts

    I too have become an addict of this game. Thanks and hates to the developers :)

    Anybody aware how many levels in this game. I have already in the Level 7. I want to know how far they want me go......

  • Gumpfrog

    My cowroker found this game showed it to me and I showed it to my girlfriend. It may be the simplest game I have played but I can not put it down. It is highly addictive.

    JTS- I believe as of right now there are 8 levels in the game. I am assuming anyhow seeing as how you can only buy lvl 8 frogs in the in-game store.

  • Alex

    No. I'm a level 10 as of now.

  • Wenci1

    join the palringo group: pocket frogs

  • Pthalobluepaint

    for some reason many of my collections of frogs bred for awards arent going through... i'm not getting the awards! i cant figure out how to contact the designers... seems like everything is blocked. please help!

  • Lilo

    I'm on level 10 at the moment and since 8th level can't buy a new habitant. Is it normal? Will it become available again after reaching level 11?

  • Ijijijo

    Add me. I'm a level 16 willing to gift you any frogs.
    T4Y1OR

    • Guest

      hey i guess I am a beginner since I am only level 5 :P well i was wondering if anyone has any chroma frog thats level 5 tht they could give to me plz add me my username is cozadcol

    • Kmp5206

      do you have lanterna? username: krysmarie

    • Kateehopkins

      I'm looking for frogs, can u help?

  • Fyrydy

    Hi guys, I would like to make a deal in pocket frogs. Someone gift me 'dark sand habitat' and Ill give you some much more expensive decor or frog ok? user: fyrydy

  • Lauren

    If you have any glass chromas that are available for level 8 thatd be amazing!! my user name is laurenweldon. willing to trade but im pretty limited

  • Sarturn_angel32

    add me in 9+plus!: hayz01

    • briana3850

      please add me and send me a tribus :) i will send back glass chromas!! briana3850

  • Sadrock0045

    Was wondering if any of you can help in answering a simple question for me. My mother and my 12yr. Old daughter both have the iPad with this app. Now my mom wants to be able to "mail" my daughter some of her "new and rare" frogs she has breed and found. I can't seem to figure out how to mail them from one pad to the other. Any suggestions or input out there to help us out? Very much appreciated! Thanks!!

    • Kmp5206

      be friends on plus+ and then gift to the friend. not share or email

  • Kmp5206

    Can anyone send me a lanterna pattern frog that came out for halloween? im level 14 so i have most patterns. username: krysmarie

    • isis620

      I have one of these it is a glass chroma, would you like one? My ID is isis620.

  • LOLCAT

    I tried this game, but it felt kind of...I don't know, SHALLOW. I've never been a fan of these kind of games, so that could be it. I like fast-paced stuff way more.

Pocket Frogs - Free pet farming Reviewed by Eli Hodapp on . Rating: 5