Game Info:

Developed by: Freehold Games
Released: October 24, 2014
Available on: Windows, Mac OS (played) (iOS and Android versions currently in development)
Genre: Turn-based strategy
Number of players: 1
Price: $14.99

Thank you, Freehold Games, for sending us this game to review!

All things fall into chaos. That seems to be the way the world works. Everything falls apart, eventually. However, one small nature spirit seeks to change this. His name is Sproggi, and after seeing a small group of people with cube-shaped heads, called Clogs, form a society, this nature spirit has decided that what his forest needs is a bit of civilization. To this end, he has captured one of these Clogs and taken him to his forest in an effort to prove the God of Time wrong.

The player takes control of the hapless Clog – often derisively called Clogheads. He's just a farmer, but is able to use his pitchfork to fight off bizarre cubes of jelly, poisonous frogs, goat-people, spiders, and an abundance of other creatures. With the help of this farmer – and other Clogs that are attracted to the small settlement, Sproggi is determined to make Sproggiwood last forever!

That is the premise of this cute, above-view strategy game. The player has to take the Clogs into different areas in a rather simplistic, turn-based system. The player makes a move, then all the other creatures make a move. The screen consists of an overhead view of a randomly-generated maze, with the colorful creatures moving step-by-step across a grid of squares. It's a simple back-and-forth that makes the game very easy to learn... but not necessarily easy to win!


Strong Points: Clever approach to a turn-based roguelike.
Weak Points: Some grinding needed to advance.
Moral Warnings: Fantasy magic, cartoony violence, undead appearances (including the ability to play as a vampire), some blood (which can be turned off).

When the player isn't in one of the action-filled mazes, he or she can look over the small village that serves as a residence for the Clogs. The player can decorate this village by adding buildings, trees and other decorative elements. The village also seems to display some seasonal elements as well – there was a “Yuletide” event happening when this reviewer played the game, so a layer of snow covered the ground and some of the terrain elements. Customizing the village doesn't have any effects in actual gameplay – in fact, a great majority of the game can be played without decorating the village at all.

There are several role-playing elements in the game, but they are handled quite differently than in other, more traditional RPGs. Each character gains experience as they defeat monsters in the mazes. Gain enough experience, and the character can gain a level. With each level gained, the player can choose one particular skill to learn or enhance. The character also can gain items by breaking open pots or opening chests. However, all these items and levels are lost as soon as the character dies or the final boss of each area is defeated. So every time the player starts – or replays – an area, it's with a level one character. 

The player can start with more than the starting equipment, but these need to be purchased from the store. The items only appear in the store after they have been unlocked by discovering them in the mazes. However, the more advanced the equipment that the character is wearing, the stronger the monsters will be when that character enters an area – even if it's the first area. This leads to a nice aspect of the strategic elements of the game – what items to use for which character, and in what areas. Sometimes the best choices are made even before the region is entered. Even while playing the game on the “Easy” settings, (the other option is “Normal”) the game provides an interesting tactical challenge.

Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 90%
Gameplay - 18/20
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 9/10
Stability - 4/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 89%
Violence - 6/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 8.5/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

Since it does cost coins to purchase the equipment, there is some element of grinding that may be required. The best effects to the village also are obtained by going through each area with each of the different classes as well (there are a total of six classes). Fortunately, with the randomly generated areas, this isn't quite as dull as it sounds. Each playthrough is different, and the areas pretty short, so the grinding for money doesn't feel like it hinders the game too much at all.

The graphics are cute and very friendly. Even though some of the regions can appear dark and gloomy, there isn't too much to really frighten players. When defeated, some creatures do emit a spray of blood (which quickly vanishes). Fortunately, it's possible to turn off the blood effects from the settings menu. From time to time, though, some smaller enemies can be hidden behind larger objects on the screen, such as shrines, but this seldom happens. The music does well to fit the overall mood of the game and the sound effects are distinct. There is no voice acting in the game, with the dialogue appearing as speech bubbles next to whatever is speaking. I did have one instance of the game crashing suddenly, but Steam crashed at the same time, so I'm not sure if this was the fault of the game or the client. In any case, the issue hasn't happened a second time.

Being a fantasy game, there are frequent references to other gods and magic use. Some of the classes can cast spells, and one of the Clog classes is even a vampire who can drain life from his opponents or enslave others at the cost of his own health. The characters can pray to shrines found in the mazes for various effects, some of which are randomly determined. As mentioned above, some enemies die with a  few splatters of blood, but the blood effects can be turned off, and the bodies disappear rapidly upon death.

Altogether, Sproggiwood is a fine example of what people often look for in a tactical game – easy to learn, but challenging to master. The cute graphics and nice sound effects are a nice touch, as is the different approach to the storyline. Sproggiwood is certainly worth a visit, no matter what time of year – just watch out for exploding jelly cubes!

About the Author

J. Todd Cumming

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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