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Time on Frog Island review: A ribbiting excursion?

By Andrew J. Dickinson. Posted

My time on Frog Island was full of surprises. But then I didn’t expect much when I washed up, shipwrecked on its shores with only a sleeping bag and a potted plant for company.

The first thing to mention: there are literally no words. The cast of amphibians only communicate with grunts and pictures in speech bubbles. This bothered me at first, as some images didn’t make a lot of sense. “What’s this little spiky crystal thing?” I found myself asking.

After spending some time exploring, however, things started to click. I went in expecting Time on Frog Island to be an indie take on Animal Crossing, but New Horizons it is not. In reality, it’s a journey of exploration, trading, and finding uses for the many objects scattered around a surprisingly large world.

You first come across an artist, complete with beret, creating a painting of the ship’s wreckage on your torn sail. If you’re going to repair your vessel and get back to your journey, you’re going to need that back. The artist isn’t going to just hand it over to you, though, so the frog instead proposes a trade. An image of their desired item pops up, and off you go to track it down.

You spend a lot of time on Frog Island completing tasks like these. The pub landlord needs something from the snowy peak of a mountain to create a cold brew. Fortunately, said brew also gives you super speed should you choose to drink it.

Experimenting with different concoctions like this can give you other benefits, too, not dissimilarly to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s cooking system.

Another frog might want a flower that only blossoms in one place when it’s raining, while another may have an item you need, but will refuse to give it to you unless you hunt down a clam containing a pearl. I would have gladly done this, had a bug not prevented her from asking me for a different item every time I brought her what she asked for. It became a vicious circle, but luckily these instances are few. A good thing too, as every item you pick up has many potential uses beyond its initial trade value.

Time on Frog Island’s colourful setting provides all kinds of other secrets to uncover, including a mysterious set of glowing ruins. There’s much more to this game than a single page could ever cover, too, but one thing’s for sure: by the time I saw Time on Frog Island’s first ending, I had a real appreciation for Half Past Yellow’s charming island adventure, and dived right back in to dig further into the mysteries it has to offer.

Highlight

You make friends with the carpenter frog early on‭, ‬who needs help to track down his missing tools‭. ‬He can use these to help fix‭ ‬your wrecked boat‭, ‬rebuild a broken bridge to open up a new section of the island‭, ‬and even build you a house if you fancy sticking around‭.‬

Verdict

An intriguing concept that rewards exploration and experimentation‭. ‬This island is worth your time‭.‬

71%

Genre Puzzle, Adventure | Format PC (tested)  /  PS5  /  XB S/X  /  PS4  /  XBO  /  Switch | Developer Half Past Yellow | Publisher Merge Games | Price £19.99 | Release Out now | Social @halfpastyellow

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