From Hit-point, the creators of the 2014 cat inspired waiting game Neko Atsume, comes Tabikaeru, a new game free to download on IOS and Android. Much like Neko Atsume, Tabikaeru is a waiting game, this time inspired by the adventures of a travelling frog.
Released in December 2017, the game has recently leaped into world view following its rise in popularity in China. Since the release, players in China have downloaded the game more than 3.9 million times and spent over £1.4 million.
The main premise of the game is that you are the care-taker of a free roaming frog, who leaves on a whim to travel round Japan. You provide them with food and equipment and, if you’re lucky, they will gift you souvenirs from their travels around Japan.
The game itself is entirely in Japanese with no option to switch to an English translation, and even if there was, you would need to be able to read Japanese to find the button. While the language barrier could seem problematic at first, the game is fairly self-explanatory. This is helped by the limited number of options of what you can actually do in the game, as well as many buttons being illustrated for their functions.
‘As soon as you open the game, cute, bouncy music begins to play and the art is very bright, colourful and enjoyable to look at.’
The world is limited to two scenes. The garden outside of the frog’s home where you collect clover, which is your currency in the game. You use the clover to purchase food, good luck charms and equipment for your frog. While there is a limited numbers of items to choose from, the more expensive the equipment or food you buy for your frog, the farther it can journey, allowing it to bring you back more expensive or exotic souvenirs from across Japan, as well as sending you adorable photos.
You can also travel inside the frog’s house, though there is a limited amount that you can do in the house. The most that you can do is pack your frog’s bag for his next trip and leave him food and tokens on his desk for his return, check the scrapbook of postcards sent to you or check the collection of souvenirs gifted to you by your frog.
What strikes you first about the game is its aesthetic. As soon as you open the game, cute, bouncy music begins to play and the art is very bright, colourful and enjoyable to look at. You can look in on your frog as he goes about his business, writing in his diary, sharpening his pencil and even falling asleep as he reads his book on his bed. It is difficult to not fall in love with his cute behaviour.
The best thing about this game for students is that it leaves you with a feeling of satisfaction as you care for your frog, without the addictiveness of some phone games. It is easy to quickly check in on your frog, pick a few clover, fill your frog’s bag and then check out without having to fight with yourself for one more round. It is enjoyable without taking over your life.
If you are interested in a cute phone game that isn’t going to suck your time away, with adorable illustrations and a virtual frog to look after, this game is for you. But if you are looking for a more interactive game and don’t want to bother with the language barrier, it would be better to look elsewhere.