As I delved deeper and deeper into the indie game world, where there are an astounding number of lesser known beautifully illustrated story-rich gems, I found that a surprising number of the cutest and most interesting games had none other than our amphibious friend, the frog, as their protagonists.
Considering how many I found at once—it was just one after another for months—I knew I had to write about my discoveries. Not only is there so much variety in gameplay, art style, world, and story, but there are such unique froggy protagonists in each as well. No one frog, or one game, on this list is at all like the other.
Teacup is a wholesome narrative adventure game with a focus on exploration and non-linear progression. Help a small and shy frog on her journey to find the ingredients she needs for her tea party!
There's no better game to start with than one of my favorite recent finds, Teacup by Smarto Club and Whitethorn Games. This game stars a frog named Teacup who is a shy, adventurous frog on an adventure to gather herbs to prepare tea for a tea part the next day. She ventures into the woods of a beautifully illustrated worth to gather ingredients and the journey begins. Along the way, you meet charming animals, explore the town, help out your new friends, and even race underwater!
Teacup has a gorgeous art style, a variety of minigames that are not only fun but allow you to interact in a fun and valuable way to learn the story of Teacup and her world, and lots of whimsical dialogue. All these elements together make this game one to remember—put it on your wishlist and subscribe to their newsletter to stay updated! I already have.
A heartfelt adventure where it's okay to be small.
Another frog, another story, another adventure. This one of a very different brand. Rather than wandering around gathering ingredients for tea, you have to save the world! In Frogsong, you play as Chorus, a tiny frog with big dreams, who gets entangled in an even bigger scheme. As Chorus discovers their own identity, which doesn't always match with society's expectations, they also defeat enemies, meet friends, and stop an empire from taking over.
If you want to learn more about Frogsong's development and inspirations, check out our interview with Brandon Braun, the brains behind this super cute game. To play the demo, click to their Steam page, where you can get a taste of the world of Frogsong for free!
You're a detective, and a frog, and it's time to solve a mystery.
"You're a detective, and a frog, and it's time to solve a mystery." You don't need more words than that to convince you this should be played, am I right?
But I'll give you more words anyway.
As someone who loves mysteries like that of Tangle Tower and Darkside Detective, I can't believe I haven't tried Frog Detective yet. This game is already available to play, and soon after I finish writing this, I am going to do just that. In Frog Detective, developed by Grace Bruxner and Thomas Bowker, you solves puzzles, collects evidence, and speaks to other animals to figure out mysteries and close cases.
Better yet, there's a sequel with an even more enticing summary: "You're a detective, and a frog, and it's time to solve a mystery. Also there's a wizard."
A Frog's Tale
A Frog's Tale is a 2D pixel art RPG inspired by the 16-bit era classics like Mario RPG and Chrono Trigger. Throughout the adventure you will meet new friends that join you on your journey and provide new skills to overcome obstacles.
A Frog's Tale has one of the most touching background stories of these froggy games and one of my favorites styles of art: adorable pixel art. Our protagonist in this adventure is Norman the frog, who is dealing with the loss of his father, figuring out what happened to him, and saying goodbye. Along the way, he fights to save the world alongside companions who join him on his journey.
The beautiful land of Amphibia filled with such a diverse cast of frogs with different personalities, perspectives, and cute little outfits looks absolutely amazing. Along with that, the gameplay is inspired by 16-bit classics like Mario RPG, Chrono Trigger, and 2D Zelda games, so you know it can't go wrong. Take a look at the trailer and marvel, as I did, at the vibrant world and its many endearing amphibious characters.
Tabikaeru: Travel Frog
Similar to the mobile game Neko Atsume developed by the same company, Travel Frog is a low-pressure, non-competitive game with carefully designed graphics.
Though this last game is not exactly story-rich, I couldn't not include it. From the developers of Neko Atsume, Tabikaeru, or Travel Frog when translated to English, is a relaxing game along the lines of Tsuki Adventure where you play as a frog. The frog goes on adventures around Japan. The more resources you buy with clovers, the more adventures he can go on, and the more pictures and souvenirs you'll receive.
The art, colors, and gameplay is very zen, a nice break from the chaotic world and fast-paced lifestyle many of us are accustomed to. It's worth giving a try though the game isn't translated from Japanese yet—there's even an English guide to help you get started with playing the game!
Hop to It!
With a surprising number of games with frog protagonists, frog-lovers and animal-lovers alike have plenty of frog-filled adventures to keep them busy. From touching to funny to adorable to relaxing, there's enough breadth and variety for any story-rich game lover who just wants to play as a charming frog once in a while.