LifeisXbox’s Time on Frog Island review | You get to play a lot of different games from all possible genres as a reviewer. Obviously, your RPGs, shooters, action-adventure and narrative games etc are sure to come and go regularly. But every so often you get some lesser-seen genres. I’m thinking back on the ARPG, Simulation and visual novels. And as of this review, I get to add cosy games to that list with Time on Frog Island. I’m lifting the term “cosy game” from Yahtzee’s Zero Punctuation. I feel he hit the nail on the head in his recent video on why this might be the next big genre for gamers since it can offer some comfortable escapism. So today we’ll take a look at Time on Frog Island, developed by Half Past Yellow and published by Merge Games.
Most Memorable Moment
I’d have to give that honour to a small quest where you deliver two love letters to make an unlikely relationship bloom like a waterlily. I won’t say between what characters this is but it was such a heartwarming thing to afterwards see them spend time on the beach in the evening, looking out at sea.
ℹ️ Reviewed on Nintendo Switch | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion of the writer.
What we Liked!
- Gameplay | In Time on Frog Island we play as the captain, a sailor who shipwrecked on frog island trying to repair his boat. Much to his surprise yet completely unphased he discovers that the island is inhabited by a bunch of humanoid frogs. The first of its green inhabitants you meet is the artist who is painting a picture of the potted plant you would like back. He’ll trade you it back for an item you can find not too far away, and with that set the precedent of Time on Frog Island. You’ll run, jump, puzzle and occasionally glide across the islands gathering whatever it is the frogs want to trade for the items you’re looking for. The captain clearly has sea legs, since sometimes his movements are a tad sluggish. Luckily this isn’t to the point of annoyance. Sometimes puzzles will take multiple days to complete, as certain elements only come out during the rain or take some days to be built.
- Graphics | Few times have I seen 3D games capture such a cartoon-like aesthetic as Time on Frog Island does and I love it. The fixed top-down camera angle stays back just far enough to really make the most of the simplistic style. The characters’ facial expressions are also a joy to witness, given that the entire game is nonverbal and the only written words you’ll find will be those of the game’s menus. If I were to describe the look and feel of Time on Frog Island it would simply be “Charming”.
- Audio | As mentioned above, Time on Frog Island is entirely nonverbal. A choice I feel makes the rest of their sound design stand out all the more. It has a very relaxed score, prominently featuring the xylophone and some flutes. This long, curiosity-inducing, background track is constantly in the background at various levels of presence. Great care was also paid to the ambient sounds of the island which masterfully blend with the music. Think winds rolling through the trees, crickets chirping at night or your footsteps on a rainy beach. It all made me feel very relaxed and at peace. Like time mattered little.
- Lots of small touches | I found lots of small enjoyable details throughout Time on Frog Island. Some examples if I may? Find some lilypads in a pond? Try hopping along them without falling into the water to play a little tune with each jump. Or try picking up a Dodo on the western island. Others will rush to its aid and peck you, forcing you to drop their friend. Or in the mountains you find an ancient door blocking access to the peak. You can either find the key or circumvent it some other way getting you an achievement.
- It’s got dogs | Well, sort of. Running around the islands are a couple of adorable tadpole dogs. They’re mostly found around Frogtown, but you’ll also have to look for a specific one that got lost. And even better than most other items, you can actually give them a belly rub when holding one.
- Guidance | For as much as I enjoyed my time on Frog Island one thing did get on my nerves slightly. Seeing as the game is one long chain of fetch quests, you’ll do a lot of scouring the island for what you can source that the frogs want. Often I could find what was needed relatively quickly, but when I got stuck I really had no clue how to proceed. Twice to the point where I had to look up the solution online, much to my shame as a reviewer. So while this overall isn’t an issue, I would’ve liked a way to get help from a friendly frog when I got really stuck.
What we Disliked
I thoroughly enjoyed my time on Frog Island, so there’s nothing to see here. Hop along now.
How long to beat the story | 5 or so hours
How long to unlock all achievements | 8 hours (I haven’t gotten them all)
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Hey there. Thomas is the name, Sci-fi, action and (J)RPG’s are the game. I strongly prefer co-op over PVP games. Whenever possible, you may find me run wild at a convention in western Europe. Certified anime enjoyer.