In Which You Are Definitely Not A Tadpole: Tadpole

By Nathan Grayson on January 29th, 2013 at 2:00 pm.

Browsing through Kongregate‘s massive multi-quadrillion game library is a lot like searching for a needle in a haystack. But with your eyes – and thankfully, fewer needles. So I was poring over a sea of boring brown blah – basic, hackneyed platformer here, anime fantasy epic clan war clash there – when I noticed a game simply titled Tadpole. “Well,” I figured, “maybe that’ll be interesting. I was always sad Frogger never got a prequel.” And then, as these things so often do, it turned out to not be about frogs. It turned out to not be about frogsĀ at all.

Sperm! Tadpole is definitely about the oddly adorable droplets of DNA that kickstart the disgusting miracle of birth! Also, hilariously cheery banjo music. Case in point: “This is the journey of a tadpole to the egg, race to the end and learn about how it all works.” That’s the description. And oh, does it ever work accurately.

Yes indeed. For instance, did you know the female reproductive system is full of cleverly arranged blocks that stop rival sperms dead in their life-giving tracks? It’s true! Also, no baby has ever been born in human history, because the last couple levels are basically impossible.

In seriousness, there’s a certain joy in the simplicity of it all. The puzzle difficulty’s a bit uneven, but most challenges ended up only one small, wriggly tail cleverer than I was expecting. For much of the game, however, that was just the right spot. Paired with near ejaculatory enthusiasm (the chorus of high-pitched “yaaaaaays” every time you succeed is an especially nice touch), Tadpole’s amusing and compulsive – not really taxing or punishing. And I don’t think it’s trying to be, either.

Really, my biggest complaint stems from how unsuited the normally satisfying mouse-based control scheme is to more precise tasks, like navigating enclosed spaces or directing blocks over long distances. But, in most of those situations, the stakes aren’t particularly high, so success is inevitable. It just might take a bit.

So yes, the mostĀ minusculeĀ beginnings of human existence. You can play them! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go dig up some more banjo music. For reasons.


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  1. Hoaxfish says:

    Won’t somebody think of the children!

  2. Skeletor68 says:

    Kongregate is spelled incorrectly on the first line [Feel free to delete comment post edit].

  3. Squirly says:

    I was a tadpole once and I object to the idea that we were trained for menial labor early on.

  4. norfolk says:

    Cum to think of it, I’ve always wanted a Frogger prequel too. How eggcellent.

  5. Trillby says:

    The developers must have a lot of spunk, bringing out a game like this.

  6. Ergates_Antius says:

    Imagine if sperm were the size of tadpoles and the same number were ‘produced’…..

  7. alison_brie says:

    like Earl replied I’m startled that any one able to make $7872 in four weeks on the internet. did you read this web site…

  8. mariejanet657 says:

    before I looked at the bank draft that said $6586, I have faith that…my… brother woz like actualey bringing in money parttime at there computar.. there uncles cousin had bean doing this for less than seven months and resently repaid the depts on there mini mansion and bourt themselves a audi. I went here,

  9. yfrdtyid says:

    If you think Melvin`s story is really cool…, last pay cheque my friend’s brother basically also made $5377 grafting twelve hour’s a week from there house and their roomate’s sister`s neighbour was doing this for 9-months and got paid more than $5377 in there spare time at there labtop. applie the guidelines at this address,

  10. whorhay says:

    Bloody Hell, level 26 seems impossibly hard! Well at least I can see what I need to do but getting that last red to where it needs to go requires my tadpole to swim impossibly fast.

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