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7:52 PM on 09.30.2011

Obscurity: Ribbit King

What is Ribbit King? Its a golf game called Frolf where you hit frogs instead of balls. For my second obscure review I picked another Japanese "sports" game, but this one my friends is a true hidden treasure left in plain sight. Its a simple kid friendly game but get together with a few friends(up to 4) and its a battle of the ages.

The story mode has you saving your world by winning an intergalactic Frolfing tournament. You play as Scooter,simple construction worker from Hippitron, and are accompanied by your caddy/best friend of sorts Picwick (talking picnic basket.) The game shares all sorts of wonderful Japanese wacky charm seen in games like Gitaroo-Man, Mister Mosquito, and Katamari Damacy. So if you like those stop reading and go buy it (for PS2 or gamecube(or Wii).) Oh also after you beat the game you get a whole new adventure too.

The gameplay is actually where Ribbit King really shines. Either solo or with friends its just amazing. The wonderful feeling you get when you launch your frog is almost criminal. Regular golf games have never made tee-ing off feel so nice. What also makes frogs better than balls is you can swap them. Why? Well different frogs have different abilities, and you can even enhance the abilities with food from the games store (Gumban-Goo.)

Frolf is like a kids dream made to reality. The courses(over 20 with five different worlds) are akin to the local mini-golf place on steroids. While its simple to put the frog in the hole, winning is a whole different matter and the real start of the competition. In Frolf you don't win by having the least amount of strokes; you win by having the most points. This rule adds real meat to the game by forcing players to explore the strange "gimmicks" throughout each course. By racking up combos like landing on a spiderweb gimmick to bounce your frog onto a conveyor belt and then next to a snake that throws you closer to the hole you get big points.

The ways to win/combos are almost endless. You can get your frog to the hole first and rack up big points while draining your competitors end hole points by 100 each round or hope to win it big in the bonus round (funny surprise bonus points determined by how you played the course.) A many, almost certain, wins were gone after the bonus round :( Also hitting a frog-in-one gets you big points but can back fire easily if the other guys racks up some super combo.

Overall its a great game and should be played by all. Its golf but you hit frogs instead of balls. Kids love it, women love it, and really how can you not love it?   read

2:02 PM on 09.26.2011

Obscurity: Space Fishermen

Space Fishermen. I'm sorry let me say that again; SPACE...FISHERMEN! So yes this is Japanese and yes it never came to the U.S. but a demo did; and thats what I played. Back in the day, around 2003, I was still a student in high school. I couldn't buy all the time and didn't even have a computer. I did have was a subscription to the the Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine(OPM.)

June 2003, issue 69, OPM had this jewel tucked away under their "Extras" section. Playing it was kind of amazing at first. Getting a chance to play a before it even comes out. Not knowing of course it was out in Japan and never will come out to the U.S.

Now it wasn't the best demo in the world being so short (limited to 15 minutes), and having only one stage. So I played it a few times; many in fact fumbling with menus and trying to find out what the hell I was doing.

To describe the I would say you are basically flying around an island(in space), shooting your electrical line fishing rod, while wiggling the lure until a dot on the radar goes off. Then pressing x I to jerk the fish (most of the time aluminum cans or baseballs) out of the water and then moving the analog sticks to the on screen prompts. Eventually there was some sort of boss fish that shot missiles or something.

The rest is like any other fishing video game. You can use captured fish as bait to catch other fish, other lures and fishing spots, and blah blah blah. Doesn't sound like fun? Did I say It's fishing?In SPACE!!!
The only complaint I had was OPM didn't do a Japanese import demo every month.

If you are interested at taking a look of some game-play go here:
More screens and boxart below:


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