Time on Frog Island is sort of a playable fever dream in the perfect of how. It locations you within the position of the captain of somewhat sailboat who finds himself marooned on an odd island populated by a frog society. His solely hope of getting off the island is by efficiently mingling with the frogs and getting them to assist him with the assorted items he wants to repair up the ship. That’s actually all there may be to the story, apart from the temporary dream sequences that fill in how the captain got here to the island. The true draw right here is within the allure of how the narrative is conveyed, akin to how everybody speaks in gibberish and pantomime to get their level throughout.
Gameplay in Time on Frog Island could possibly be most carefully described as sandbox with some gentle platforming and puzzle components. The principle goal is to restore your ship with varied lacking gadgets, all of which need to be sourced from interacting with the in depth commerce community between the residents of the frog inhabitants.
For instance, to get rope for the rigging in your ship, that you must commerce with the fisherman, who asks for a feather in return. To get the feather, it’s important to discuss to the village chief, who asks that you just get a particular flower. To even discuss to the chief, nevertheless, you first must ship a love letter for the guard. On and on it goes, making for fairly a number of detours earlier than you’re lastly capable of get again to the unique merchandise you have been after.
Generally the frogs will provide you with hints that time you in the suitable route for his or her merchandise, different occasions you’re given nothing to go on. If you happen to can’t discover a particular merchandise being requested, generally it’s in your greatest curiosity to only shelve the request for a bit and go discover another person who wants one thing, as this may show you how to cowl extra floor and will lead to you stumbling throughout the merchandise you initially wanted. The one flaw on this setup, nevertheless, is that generally you have to finish particular trades to unlock entry to later ones, which may result in annoying bottlenecks when there’s nothing to do however scour the island and hope you get fortunate sufficient to seek out it someplace.
The world itself is straightforward sufficient to discover, and it’s periodically dotted with some gentle platforming puzzles organically built-in into the panorama. Bounce on a big mushroom, and also you’ll be launched increased than you can usually leap. Seize a large leaf, and you may glide quick distances. It’s nothing all that difficult, however these little obstacles assist to interrupt up the prolonged back-and-forth that comes about from working all of the errands. The entire sport is kind of actually simply you zipping to level B, selecting up an merchandise, and hauling it on again to level A.
There’s some gentle development alongside the best way, which helps to make your journey really feel somewhat extra attractive than only one monumental fetch quest. For instance, when you’ve helped the fisherman, you’ll be able to then use the brand new lure he makes to catch issues within the ocean. Or, after you assist the carpenter out, you’ll be able to ultimately have a home to show your favourite collectibles. A few of these unlocks even have gameplay advantages, akin to when you’ve gotten the tavern keeper present you the right way to make a brew that enhances your jumps. Time on Frog Island definitely isn’t about chasing unlocks and powering up your character, however we appreciated having little issues like this to offer a way of development past simply watching your ship slowly come collectively as you add new elements to it.
It’s essential to remember that Time on Frog Island requires a quite particular mindset to be correctly loved. Taking a look at issues objectively, it solely takes a number of hours to get your ship collectively and people few hours are spent participating with a glorified ‘strolling simulator’ as you merely traipse round an island and choose issues up or put them down. Coming into this anticipating the gameplay mechanics alone to fulfill will depart you dissatisfied, however the primary draw right here is how Time on Frog Island makes you really feel. There’s one thing replenishing in enjoying a sport that doesn’t make many calls for of you and allows you to take issues at your personal tempo, which is one thing that Time on Frog Island excels at.
Nevertheless, that isn’t to say there isn’t room for enchancment. One huge downside is that there’s no map or different technique of monitoring the positions of essential components like gadgets or frogs. The island isn’t big, but it surely’s definitely giant sufficient that it’s straightforward to get rotated and neglect the precise location of an merchandise you discovered a short while again. At one level, we absentmindedly set down a key merchandise wanted for a sure commerce and nonetheless haven’t discovered the place we put the foolish factor; there’s no solution to know the place it could possibly be now apart from coming throughout it by likelihood. Maybe the lacking map is to encourage you to take issues slower and never method this sport as a guidelines, as many gamers are wont to do, however the draw back is that it looks like a variety of time is being unnecessarily wasted when you’ll be able to’t fulfill requests since you hold getting misplaced or can’t discover the factor you’re searching for.
This lack of a map ties into a bigger concern with group that plagues Time on Frog Island. For instance, you don’t have a listing to stow essential gadgets that you just don’t want now, however might have later, so it’s important to both bear in mind the place all the things is, or carry gadgets one after the other throughout the island to a delegated spot that’ll be simpler so that you can return to. Moreover, there’s no quest monitoring system, which may make it tough to recollect which frogs you’ve helped, which of them nonetheless need assistance, and in what order they must be helped. Once more, it could possibly be argued that the purpose of no map, no quest monitoring, and no stock is to push you to wander extra and thus come upon new encounters, however this wandering typically feels extra irritating than attention-grabbing. Generally you simply wish to really make progress and never spin your tires for half an hour.
Visually, Danish studio Half Previous Yellow nails an deliberately easy, low-poly aesthetic. Every frog has a particular design to assist make them somewhat extra memorable and the island itself feels as lush and alive as you’d count on of an odd tropical place. Although the colour palette feels somewhat muted and there aren’t any main visible surprises—after all there’s a ‘snowy mountain’ thrown in there—we felt that Frog Island hits on a clear, easy model with out coming throughout as low cost or low-effort.
Time on Frog Island is a captivating and intriguing sport, however whether or not it is an satisfying one will very a lot rely on the way you method it. The foolish frog characters and the little society they’ve developed will be cool to work together with, and there are many surprises available as you get deeper into the commerce community, however the deeper in you get, the extra Time on Frog Island turns right into a one-trick pony. Operating errands for frogs is nice for somewhat bit, however the lack of a map or any efficient technique of managing requests signifies that even this sole activity is made needlessly tougher. We’d give this sport a lightweight suggestion, as the coolness vibes and the charming ambiance do a terrific job of constructing Time on Frog Island worthwhile, however taking into account its frustrations, you would possibly wish to await a sale.