Frog Detective 3: Corruption at Cowboy County (2022)
Developer: worm club
I have a certain nostalgia for Frog Detective as one of the first games I reviewed, only a few months after starting Sleepy Toadstool, was the very first Frog Detective game. I've gotten to see the series through as my reviews have changed and grown, and now the series has come to an end. Even though I have a lot of games on my backlog, I had to make some time for this grand finale and give it a deserved review. Frog Detective 3: Corruption at Cowboy County is Frog Detective's third and final case, where a simple case of theft in Cowboy County is not exactly what it seems. Frog Detective 3 ended with a bang by mixing up the usual formula and adding twists, both in gameplay and story, and for that reason is my favorite installment of the series.
After solving the case of the invisible wizard, Frog Detective is called into Cowboy County for his next case. This time, he gets to work with the famous "#1 detective", Lobster Cop. When Frog Detective arrives, Lobster Cop greets him and informs him that the situation in Cowboy County was that the town needed someone to be the mayor, but he's already gone ahead and assigned someone to the role. The new mayor, Mason Mole, then tells you that there is actually another case that requires your assistance - the case of the "missing hats". Despite Mason Mole's strange and suspicious demeanor (and the fact that he still has his own hat), Frog Detective gladly agrees to help Mason and Lobster Cop on this case. He gets to work interviewing all of the eccentric residents of Cowboy County to figure out who could have stolen all the town's hats.
While writing this, I was just looking back at my review of the first game, The Haunted Island, and I realized how much the look and polish of Frog Detective's art has improved within the last two installments. It still retains the same simplistic, cell-shaded look, but now it's more cohesive and sharp. Frog Detective 3 allows you to roam due to the new scooter feature, and this both makes for a fun experience but also has you explore a big environment with a small amount of detail. Since a lot of it looks the same, there's not too much motivation to look at every corner of the larger world. The music retains its same charming and mysterious quality, with a big upgrade that was a high point for me - a vocal track. I won't say too much, as it's relevant to the story, but I loved the addition of the track, both how it works within the game and the silliness of it.
Frog Detective 3 early on gives you a new way to move around, which is riding a scooter (in the desert sand, somehow). This was an excellent addition and I spent a good bit of the game figuring out how to jump high over hills and ride quickly around the map. It's definitely limited, but I think it was good enough to add a bit of fun zooming around. Aside from the scooter, the gameplay is pretty much the same as the last two games. What makes Frog Detective 3 different is the way the story ends up going. I wouldn't say the previous Frog Detective titles left a lot of "unanswered questions", but the one pondering thing I did have in the back of my mind during the first two games actually gets addressed in this third game's story. We also get to meet interesting characters, including a possible love interest for the Frog Detective. I think my favorite character of this game would be the tiny outlaw mouse, Rhonda Dynamite.
Frog Detective 3 is a fun time as usual, with its goofy, loveable characters. However, this one will surprise you. Despite its lighthearted mood, its ending managed to be empowering and, for any kids playing the game, provided a good take-home message. I recommend checking it out, but you'll definitely want to play the other two titles first. It's worth getting involved in Frog Detective's prior stories to get to this final journey.
Frog Detective 3: Corruption at Cowboy County is available on PC
Played on: PC (Steam Deck)
Last Played: 10/26/2022
Playtime: 2 hrs