Even if you don't own a television, you've seen a frog jumping in slow motion from one lily pad to another, shot with a high-speed camera. I guarantee it. It's one of the basic building blocks of emotional manipulation.
Advertisers use it to induce a sense of carefree calm: "If only that were me, in my carefree frog life – I would buy a new computer and stop worrying about the rent." Documentary filmmakers use it to make a point: "Wow, the world is really beautiful and humans are real assholes for building factories." My girlfriend uses it to keep me in line: "If you don't put that phone down now, I'm leaving this gross frog picture in your bedroom."
Dizzypad is an ode to that image. It is a game that explores one simple premise with excruciating clarity of purpose: How well could a frog jump between lily pads if said pads were spinning continuously?
Only one finger is required to play. Once the frog seems to be facing another pad, a single tap sends him leaping either to his leafy destination or a watery grave. Skip one pad and land at the next, and an extra life is earned. At the heart of its peaceful setting – a still pond reflecting moonlight, graceful koi darting below the surface, dragonflies buzzing softly above it – is a recipe for murderous feelings. Like a poker player at full tilt, carelessly betting to erase recent losses, one often sends five more frogs into the abyss, involuntarily, after a single mistake. It's human nature, and therein lies Dizzypad's casual appeal. It's a matter of timing, judgment, and the human error you will not accept. Hence Retry, Retry, Retry.
Although its endless, play-forever design cleverly delivers scathing commentary on the shortcomings of modern narrative, and the futility of eternal life as the bedrock of religious promises, not to mention the naivety of those who invest for a comfortable retirement, Dizzypad is a lighthearted game. There is no alien invasion to outrun, as there is in Canabalt (a spiritual cousin), or in the case of the insanely-popular Doodle Jump, no endless platforms for an alien creature to ascend on his way to some metaphorical heaven against the backdrop of a faux-meta paper world. It's simply about one frog in a very large pond, steadily going from one pad to the next, and I think we can all agree there's something profound about life in there, even if I can't quite put my finger on it.
Positives: Easy to play, well made, remembers previous game state after restarting. Success is relaxing.
Unpositives: Potentially too simplistic, one-note gameplay, costs more than most 99c category competitors. Failure is infuriating.
Rating: 3 / 5
Buy Dizzypad in the iTunes App Store.