Frog Detective 2: The Case of the Invisible Wizard (2019)
Developer: Worm Club
I'm finally putting Luigi's Mansion 3 and Pokemon Sword down after a long month of big game releases and excitedly jumping back in to my backlog of indie titles. However, this time I'm reviewing a brand new title and a sequel to a previously reviewed game. I picked this game up on day one and finally got to it this week. Frog Detective 2: The Case of the Invisible Wizard is the second game in the Frog Detective "saga", this time the Frog Detective is traveling to the Warlock Woods to solve yet another strange mystery.
Frog Detective 2 begins much like its predecessor, except now the Frog Detective has a picture on his wall of his adventures at the Haunted Island. No prior knowledge of the previous game is necessarily needed, although a couple references are made to the mystery solved on the Haunted Island. Frog Detective gets his assignment to investigate who destroyed the welcome party decorations for the Invisible Wizard and heads out to Warlock Woods. Instead of another mention of Lobster Cop's widely-renowned detective work, we actually get to see the man himself. He's self-absorbed to the point where he's been treating Frog Detective as a nobody in all this time of working at the same office. Just as expected, Lobster Cop is... kind of an asshole? But our wholesome Frog Detective hero looks up to him for his crime-solving skills nonetheless.
The very good thing about Lobster Cop, however, is that he offers you a notebook for your next case, along with a plethora of adorable stickers to decorate it and make it your own. I really enjoyed this part and I'd honestly like to see how everyone else's notebooks turned out, since there's so many ways to customize it (send me pictures!). The notebook was an excellent little addition to this title that added much personality to the Frog Detective, as we can review his notes on every suspect. You can also freely stamp "suspicious" on any page you'd like, which means I pretty much made every character get the stamp.
The Warlock Woods is truly a mess when you arrive - there's chips (doritos?) all over the ground, spilled drinks, and literally pies in random places. I almost thought I was on to something when I followed a dorito trail to someone's house. The town is full of interesting characters, many of whom give you reason to suspect that they had a motive for destroying the party decorations. Some had a little more attitude than I expected, but everyone is made kinder when they interact with the Detective. The dialogue is full of silly little references and quirks, and I found myself laughing pretty often at these characters. Grace Bruxner doesn't mind bringing a part of herself very obviously in to the game, like she did in the previous title. This time, we get a major (the mayor) character, named after and inspired by her own dog, Noddy. Although Noddy is drawn as another character in the town, peering in to her house or even stopping by the store you'll discover a photo of the dog herself. Apparently it's a thing in this entire town to have your home decorated with portraits of yourself; the store keeper Carlos actually confirms that everyone in town does so.
The Frog Detective interviews every member of the town and is sent on some inter-connected fetch quests to get everyone what they need as well as get some answers. My only complaint would be that the plot plays out very closely to the events of The Haunted Island. Apart from the addition of the notebook and the different characters, the game plays very similarly. Now, this is fine if that's how the series is going continue. It's consistent and charming; however, as a fan of the games, I'd really like to see there be a more unexpected twist and perhaps additional mechanics. I wish this game was on more platforms mostly because I think it's an excellent game for kids to have access to - it's funny, kind-hearted, colorful, and just the right amount of challenge. There's no kids that are very closely adjacent to my life, but if there were, I'd strongly recommend this game. However, it's definitely fun for all ages - some of the jokes touch on some interesting references.
The soundtrack in Frog Detective 2, just like that of its predecessor, is steeped in the dramatic feel of old mystery shows. Although I really enjoyed all of it, especially the opening track, the music that plays while you're in the Warlock Woods is very soft and almost too subdued. It creates a very slow atmosphere at times, especially since you spend a lot of time hearing it.
I appreciated getting a little foreshadowing content to the next adventure after the Warlock Woods mystery was solved. Going off the Frog Detective's conversation with the Supervisor, it seems like there may be more layers to this next mystery. Also, having seen Lobster Cop as an in-game character, I expect we'll see more of him in the next game. Also... I actually have one great lingering question for the developers that I will place in the spoiler section, please help me out with it if you have finished the game!
Frog Detective 2 is a silly mystery adventure very worth playing for its character dialogue and protagonist. It's short and fairly easily to finish off, but it's best played taking some time to look at the details and enjoy the environment. The positivity of Frog Detective games always make me feel happy after I play them, so I recommend it for a boost, or even as a relief in between more serious, gritty games. I look forward to more Frog Detective titles with a different take on the mystery-solving aspect, and perhaps a larger world to explore.
Frog Detective 2: The Case of the Invisible Wizard is available on PC.
Played on: PC
Playtime: 2 hrs
WARNING: SPOILERS FOR FROG DETECTIVE 2 BELOW THIS LINE
Hi, worm club. I have a question. How come the Frog Detective can't wear a hat but the Invisible Wizard, also a frog, can??
That's all. This question is haunting me at night.