Time on Frog Island at first seems like a simple puzzle game with not much to offer beyond its cute visuals. However, this is far from the truth.
Playing as a man who washes ashore on an island occupied by frogs, you must find parts of your ship that went missing during your crash. You do this by trading items with the frogs until you get the materials you need. Some of these items are easy to come by. Others, not so much. These items are hidden around the island, and certain items are required to give you access to other areas.
This all seems like an easy task, but there’s actually no real dialogue in this game, as well as no map. When “talking” to the frogs, you’re only shown pictures of what they want, and if you aren’t sure where that is, they will point in its general direction. But again, with no map, you’re pretty much on your own.
There’s even one point where someone won’t accept what she’s asked for, and keeps changing her mind.
While helping out the villagers on Frog Island, you’re also on a day to night schedule and in a weather cycle. The weather changes from sunny to rainy depending on the day, and also affects what items you are able to acquire. When nighttime rolls around, you start to get tired (shown by sleeping Zs), and you have to find a campground to sleep. There are a bunch around the island, but the main one is by where you crashed, towards the middle of the island, on the beach. You set this one up when you first crash. In order to sleep, however, you must have a potted plant with you (it’s a plant you crashed with, and your character is deeply attached to it). The story of this plant is told through a picture at night after you sleep. It tells of him, and what seemed to be a lover, building a ship and getting ready to set sail. You find out more of this story as you play through the game.
After completing the initial story of the game (which I should mention only takes a few hours) and leaving the island, you can continue to play and return to the island to make a life for yourself. You can trade even more items to get a home, and learn to farm. There’s also a brewery in the main part of town where you can make specific drinks that give you frog-like abilities.
The visuals in Time on Frog Island are great, with a cutesy, cartoon-like aesthetic that really adds to the overall vibe of the game. The controls are also very easy, and you’re given a tutorial right as the game starts. There’s not much to do other than run around and pick items up, so the controls don’t get more complicated than that. This game can be played in handheld mode very easily without losing any of its overall effects.
As stated before, Time on Frog Island offers a lot more than what it first seems to. The story is bittersweet, making it easy to connect to the main character. The art style and overall cuteness of the frog villagers also make it even more enjoyable and fun. The puzzles are seemingly easy, but the extra hindrance of having no dialogue or map allows the game to provide a fun challenge while never feeling repetitive or boring.