The internet has gone through many phases when it comes to beloved animals, from the “I can has cheezburger?” renaissance to the infamous Doge. For the past couple years, though, the humble frog has been surging. They’re strange creatures — amphibians are already kinda weird, landing spiritually somewhere between reptiles and fish, and frogs’ particular physiology is straight out of a fairytale. They have powerful hind legs to jump comically high, a long, sticky tongue to snatch prey from a sedentary position, and an infamous musical skill to make them stand out despite their ubiquity. Everyone knows what a frog is, and what a frog can do. Everyone can appreciate their goofiness and their grace. It’s no wonder we’ve become obsessed with them recently, and video games are no exception. Here are five upcoming indie games that let you live out your froggiest fantasies.
A 3D platformer starring a frog is a bit of a no-brainer, come to think of it. Alongside the frog’s infamous hops you have their whip-quick tongue, powerful swimming, and even occasional climbing. Big Hops aims to take these concepts to the extreme, implementing game systems with little limit in a 3D environment to create emergent moments of gameplay. In the director’s own words: “This game is our answer to the question, ‘What could 3D platformers be with deeper, freer movement and open ended, systemic item interaction?’”
— Chris Wade ???????? (@chriswade__) May 4, 2021
A Frog’s Tale
Frogs are pretty cute. Cartoon frogs are even cuter. Norman from A Frog’s Tale has the honor of being, I think, the cutest frog I have ever seen. He’ll be starring in a story-driven, turn-based RPG, with elements inspired by the early Paper Mario titles. While the lovely visuals and music will treat the senses, the story may be a bit deeper than what you’re expecting. The creator quietly mentioned on their personal Twitter that A Frog’s Tale will serve as a memorial to their late father, and an attempt to capture the great memories and life lessons he taught.
— A Frog's Tale (@AFrogsTaleGame) January 22, 2022
“A heartfelt adventure where it’s okay to be small.” The tagline for Frogsong is apt. This an action-adventure stars the runt of the proverbial litter, Chorus, who has no greater dream than protecting the innocent. There are some great accessibility features in the works here, like an AI/player buddy able to help Chorus in battle, regenerating health, customizable colors, controller mapping, in-game content warnings, and even wholesale invincibility. The narrative here is also lowkey a story of political intrigue alongside the more wholesome messaging. It’s okay to be small, and it’s safe to be excited for Frogsong. Oh, and it’s coming to the Nintendo Switch, too.
Sharing this trailer here since I've only posted it on Kickstarter… I absolutely love the BeetleBud and I can't wait for everyone to meet him ???????? pic.twitter.com/biWJJ2AyuZ
— Frogsong ???? (@frogsonggame) April 15, 2022
The Twitter machine has once again proven it can do good things, sometimes, by showing me the extraordinarily stylish Jamphibian. It’s an in-development rhythmic action RPG, counting Paper Mario and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice among its influences. It seems the combat system has undergone a complete overhaul since development began, and the now real-time fights look incredible. Inputting perfectly on-beat (allowing an attack to strike perfectly off-beat) causes a critical hit, though developer @Hayd__n has said that flawless timing is not the goal. That’s good for the rhythmically-challenged like myself, since I’ll already have to balance my own combos and counterattacks against the enemies’, while trying to figure out how juggling and jump canceling and parrying works. Right now, a somewhat customizable moveset via music is also planned, done by “[making] a mixtape out of individual moves to customize your combo.” Although information on the narrative and potential release window is scarce… you’re a rhythm samurai frog. Come on now.
I've been keeping on with the action prototype. New things: you can start an attack on the beat or the off-beat, enemies can defend and counterattack but so can you, juggling is a thing, and so is jump cancelling 😀 pic.twitter.com/tyCSk85vdQ
— Hayd_n (@Hayd__n) May 15, 2022
Olliefrog Toad Skater
Do you wanna be cool? Do you wanna be cute? Do you wanna be downright fuckin’ SICK? Olliefrog Toad Skater is an amphibious skating sim with plenty of cosmetics and squishy lil’ guys to entertain you. Hit that 720 Assert Dominance right into the Go Nutty, but be sure not to drop your clown wig, king (that sentence technically makes sense, just so you know).
— Olliefrog Launches on Kickstarter June 11th! (@PhillipWitz) May 26, 2022
There’s a lot going on in Rubato, and I mean that in the best way possible. It’s a 2D collect-a-thon platformer at its core, but that doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of what the developers have been showing off. There’s frogs in cars, giant mean dumpling guys, the letter E, rocket jumping, forklift certification, an oddly photorealistic cow, and I’d be remiss not to mention the incredible, Garfield-like charm of our leading frog. There’s a demo available now on their itch.io page if you want just a little taste of the chaos and joy.
Added rocket jumping (for the one Quake/TF2 pro who'll play this). Works in midair too, because balancing is for losers pic.twitter.com/VKBrLT1OAT
— RUBATO ???? (@Rubato_Game) January 18, 2022
They’re my frogs, and I need them NOW.
Okay, okay. I’ve gotten you all excited about the frogs, and they’re not even out yet. I’m sorry. To calm down, you should go play the ~30 minute Ranita Fishing. A group of friends from Mexico banded together to make a sweet game about a fishing frog running errands for their grandfather. They love the snapshot they’ve made together, but lack the necessary resources to turn it into a full game as they desire. So, if you or someone you know is a publisher… hit them up for me, will you?
— Super Mega Punch (@superMpunch) June 26, 2021