Picture your typical noir detective scene… now throw that out the window and instead imagine bright colors, a zoosworth of different animals, goofy dialogue, a mystery to be solved, and you now have Frog Detective 2: The Case of the Invisible Wizard by Grace Bruxner. You’re a detective, and a frog, and it’s time to solve a mystery. Also there’s a wizard. Frog Detective presents you with a mystery! Explore the town with WASD, right click to use your magnifying glass, left click to interact with people, places, and things.
This game was just so cute and endearing that I was invested in the storyline the whole time. Before we jump into the meat of the game, let’s discuss the set dressings.
The music in this game is so spot on! When you hear it the first thing that comes to mind is your noir detective trope. It is very lowkey and jazzy, and utterly perfect to set the mood for the game. It was honestly not the kind of music I would listen to on my own, but I found myself really enjoying it. It had just a big enough loop that it never seemed to overstay its welcome, kudos to composer Dan Golding.
The next thing that hits you after the music would be the animations and art style. All the characters have an idle animation and blink, but don’t do a whole lot beyond that. The art is super basic and made up of simple polygons with minimal shading. They are certainly not AAA HD graphics and I’ll admit that, at first, I was a little put off by that. After getting into the game a bit I really came to like the style and realised that it compliments the game superbly.
THE GAME – FROG DETECTIVE 2
After all that let’s jump into the game itself. You start the game and you are greeted by your office, complete with adorable pictures from previous cases. The phone starts to ring and you answer, the voice of Supervisor greets you and things pick up right where the first case left off.
He tells you that you have been assigned to the case of the destroyed parade decorations. You then pick up your trusty magnifying glass and head out.
Before you can get too far you have to pick up your notebook and that means getting to decorate it! I really love the fact that you are able to customize your notebook.
The notebook is a main mechanic of the game and you are constantly seeing it. Your notebook tracks your items, records all your interviews, and lets you mark characters as suspicious. Now this is different from the first game where your items were just pictured on the top of the screen. I think it is a nice addition and helps round the game out a bit more. It was also fun to get to see what comments the detective had about the interviews.
Finally you get to the town to start your investigation and you see the wreckage of the would-be parade. The gameplay loop is fairly simple, in that you talk to characters and ask questions and basically do a fetch quest in a small area. Essentially it is the same as the first game, but with a different story and location. The investigation isn’t very long and it is super linear so you will finish in about an hour or so.
During your interviews the game starts to get a bit meta. It also drives home a couple of life lessons such as accepting new people and forgiveness. At the end of your investigation you have an important decision to make and you will receive a different ending based on what you choose. Well worth playing through twice to get to see what else happens. The very end of the game sets you up with a hook for the next instalment of the series.
What really brings The Case of the Invisible Wizard to the next level (over and above the first case The Haunted Island) is all the little touches throughout. At the start your cursor is a little frog foot and changes to a magnifying glass after you add it to your inventory. The font in the dialogue boxes changes in size to represent whispering and shouting. Every character is super unique with distinctive personalities. The dialogue is corny, but in a loveable, dad joke, kind of way, and at times it is super meta and self aware.
Overall this game is certainly in a class of its own. I enjoyed the whole ride, even though it was rather short. The episodic nature of the series is wonderful and I really hope that the devs will continue to produce more games. I also thought that the little throwbacks to the first game were perfect. That being said, you definitely do not have to play the first in order to enjoy this one (but why miss out on more mystery solving?) If you enjoy indie games, mystery, and plot twists you should give this one your time.