There’s been a tiny bit of a pattern emerging in indie games lately, and it’s frogs. Most notably the wholesome type too, with titles like Time on Frog Island, Frog Detective, Teacup and A Frog’s Tale giving us ample amphibian aesthetics. Enter Frogun, another ribbit-ing title to add to the list and one that I’m absolutely obsessed with.
Frogun stars a small girl named Renata whose parents, a pair of world-renowned explorer-archaeologist-inventors, find themselves delving deep into the dangerous Beelzebub Ruins. Left behind and waiting for days with no sign of them, Renata takes it upon herself to follow in their tracks armed with their newest invention, the Frogun. It’s exactly what it sounds like – part frog, part gun, the ultimate explorer’s tool.
Styled like a top-down puzzle platformer with distinct, PS1-era visuals, Frogun sees you traverse six distinct floors of these ruins with a handful of levels in each as you use your trusty toad-tool in multiple ways for both traversal and problem solving. Your frogun’s one function is to extend its mighty tongue in whichever direction you’re facing, which has multiple effects depending on the situation. If it makes contact with something smaller than you, such as an enemy or small pot, you’ll pull that thing toward you where you can then launch it back as a damaging projectile. Alternatively, stick the tongue onto a bigger item or piece of the environment and you’ll be pulled towards it, which is useful for crossing gaps or hurling yourself into bounce pads.
These basic tools at your disposal naturally evolve over time as levels become more complex, but it’s the simplicity at the core with just a couple of buttons to worry about that makes Frogun so compelling. Levels aren’t easy, mind, especially in later “worlds” but everything you need is at your disposal from the very beginning. It’s all pretty forgiving with short and sharp stages that have their own checkpoints should you croak partway through, but the game derives challenge from scoring you on things like your completion time, death count and how many of its various collectibles you picked up. The speedrunning aspect in particular is an addictive proposition and had me replaying levels over and over just to see how I could use the unique frogun to maximise my routes. It’s also good practice for the handful of stages where you race some other, snotty kid (beating him is incredibly satisfying).
There are a ton of great reasons to get into Frogun. It’s got a nice level of challenge, charm for days, a fun and breezy trophy/achievement list, a silly but compelling hook and unlockable hats! I wasn’t entirely in love with all of the half-dozen boss fights with a lot of them feeling a bit safe, but as a whole this is a great little package that even includes a local multiplayer “duel” mode. If a game that has you play as an abandoned child that gets around by pulling the trigger on a taxidermy-Kermit-head-turned-projectile-weapon sounds up your alley, definitely give this one a go.
You can grab Frogun for yourself on any of these platforms: