Time on Frog Island puts players in the role of a sea captain who finds himself washed up on the shores of a peculiar island following a thunderous storm. With your ship in pieces and no idea where you are, you have to explore the island in order to find the pieces required to leave. Fortunately, the island is inhabited so it shouldn’t be too difficult to get the necessary items you need. The catch? The residents are all frogs and are only willing to exchange the items you need for something they want.
Check out some screenshots down below:
It’s a quirky but fun setup, with the game oozing with charm thanks to how peculiar and likable the characters you meet are. What makes it even more endearing is that you can’t actually understand the language of the frogs, but instead have conversations with them portrayed through images. It adds a cutesy element to the experience that helps it cater to players of all ages, whilst it also shows that Time on Frog Island isn’t afraid to be a bit different with its approach to storytelling.
As mentioned, your main objective in the game is to simply gather the items required to repair your ship, which are typically obtained from the frogs. However, they’ll want something in return for these items, meaning you might have to find something on the island or perform a specific task for them. Whilst they only give you a clue as to what they want via images, they’ll also often point you in the direction you need to go, so nothing is ever too complex in the game – there is a big emphasis on exploration that means you’ll have to scour every nook and cranny carefully in case you miss something though! There’s a bit of light platforming and puzzle-solving thrown in the mix too, whilst sometimes you’ll have to carefully figure out what exactly a character wants you to do. It’s simple stuff really, but it can be really clever at times too.
“Whilst I had my moments where I was a little stumped as to what I needed to do, the main gameplay loop is satisfying and full of enough ‘eureka!’ moments to ensure the game remains a lot of fun to play.”
I’ve always enjoyed this type of puzzling in games, where there’s essentially a trade network in place that you have to take advantage of (I always think back to The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening to get the Boomerang). However, given that Time on Frog Island is built ENTIRELY around the concept, it can show some of its weaknesses. For example, there were a few times when I simply couldn’t access the item required by a certain character, meaning I’d obviously missed an object or step in-between when exploring; it’s easy to miss something, but hard to know where to return to in order to find it. It can be a little frustrating, especially since the game doesn’t really hold your hand when it comes to exploration.
When everything clicks though? It feels mighty rewarding. Whilst I had my moments where I was a little stumped as to what I needed to do, the main gameplay loop is satisfying and full of enough ‘eureka!’ moments to ensure the game remains a lot of fun to play. It even spices things up by introducing a day-and-night cycle as well as mini-games involving fishing, farming, and brewing. Nothing in Time on Frog Island feels especially deep in design, but it has enough things to do to ensure your time with the game is well spent.
Check out some screenshots down below:
It’s worth noting that the game itself won’t take long to beat, with it easily done in under three hours (and that was with me getting stuck on a few occasions too). Whilst short, it feels the perfect length; it was long enough to feel a worthwhile adventure, but short enough that the simplistic gameplay didn’t get tedious or repetitive. You could spend longer with the game if you REALLY want to get stuck into the likes of farming or brewing, so there’s some longevity there if you want it.
Performance-wise, the game felt great to play on the Nintendo Switch, whilst the colourful yet simplistic visual style was very endearing and fit the tone of the experience perfectly. There’s something very lovely and homely about Frog Island, whilst it has plenty of neat little sights to see that help make the idyllic landscape even more pleasant to be a part of. The charming soundtrack complements it all and ensures that Time on Frog Island’s world is a delight to spend time in.
Time on Frog Island
Time on Frog Island is a charming little puzzler that’ll keep players entertained with its satisfying gameplay loop and endearing world. Sure, it can have some frustrations here and there when you find yourself missing required items or unsure where to go, but the rewarding sense of discovery and simple design of the experience ensures that you’re never left stumped for too long.
Add to that the game’s cutesy approach that makes it suitable for players of all ages and you’ll quickly find that Time on Frog Island is certainly a worthwhile venture.
Developer: Half Past Yellow
Publisher: Merge Games
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC