Frog Minutes preview: Our first few Frog Minutes

If you expected something "punk rock" from Grasshopper Manufacture's Frog Minutes, you'll be surprised when you see the actual app, because it's less punk and more ... tranquil. The iOS app, which launches tomorrow, is actually about frogs, and features more grasshoppers than any Grasshopper Manufacture game yet.

Frog Minutes is a game about fattening up frogs to catch them. First, you tap to catch grasshoppers, and then when a frog appears, you drag bugs out of your menu to the frog. When a meter fills up, indicating that the frog is sated, you tap to catch it, then get information about the type and size of frog you've caught. As you play, new kinds of bugs appear, new hiding places to tap reveal new frogs, and the frogs get picky about what they want to eat (a message passed to you by a giant thought bubble).

The whole time, a scrolling information bar keeps you updated about your accomplishments, as does the enthusiastic voice of narrator Bianca Allen. "Congratulations! You caught a lot of grasshoppers!" "The frog seems to be full!" "Isn't the scenery beautiful?" "It seems like you failed!"

And that's Frog Minutes. You tap around the screen to build an inventory of bugs, tap hiding places to make new frogs emerge, and then you ply the frogs with insects to catch them. It occupies some weird space between "mellow timewaster," "arcade game," and "nature show." And it seems like a nice way to pass a few spare minutes -- especially since the proceeds from its sale go to earthquake relief.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.