This is a hard post to write because the iPhone game Pocket Frogs has provided me with hours upon hours of entertainment and I didn’t figure out how to cheat until I had almost completed the game. Am I ruining your enjoyment of the game by telling you how to get around the imposed limitations? Am I denying NimbleBit an income selling potions and stamps over iTunes? Then, after some deliberation, I realised that the trick I use to hothouse my Frogs can be fixed if my methodology is exposed and that spurred me on to write this very post you’re reading.
Pocket Frogs relies on two pipelines to slow down your frog breeding to a manageable point: The Nursery and The Mailbox. Both of these are bottlenecked by having a maximum number of slots and requiring a specific period of time for an asset to pass through them, with more valuable assets requiring a longer amount of time. Whatever you do is limited by the time it takes for frogs to grow up or for packages to be delivered and NimbleBit will sell you, for real cash, ways to get around these two restrictions.
What they don’t tell you is that they use the iPhone’s clock to track the passage of time. Oops.
If you go into the iPhone settings and turn off “Set Automatically” for the date and time, you can wind time back and forth, making Endangered and Legendary frogs grow up in minutes, ready to be tamed. You can save a frog to your catalogue, go back in time, buy it, zoom forward, take delivery, breed it and sell it before it’s even born. You can buy Happiness trinkets, receive them instantly and install them.
Does it make the game less fun? No, not really. Does it make it less long-lived? I don’t think so. Can NimbleBits fix this by having the game periodically check a server for the real time? Probably.
I feel a little bad posting this post, but not so bad that I don’t post it. Use the comments below to tell me how evil I am, or to berate me for what you’ve been keeping a secret for weeks. Whatever, a comment would be nice.
Update: A NimbleBits developer tweeted that this may lead to corruption of the save data. I’ve not seen evidence of this myself.