Teacup the frog has finally made the leap onto mobile devices. Published by Whitethorn Games, this is a short narrative game that will appeal to a very specific audience. And for anyone to whom this appeals, it will provide a few hours of family-friendly entertainment.
What Is Teacup?
The premise of the game is fairly simple. the protagonist is a frog named Teacup, who at best is shy, at worst, potentially agoraphobic. She’s hosting a tea party, but has run out of tea, and only realises the day before her party. Quite the dilemma.
Your job in the game is to help Teacup travel around the woods, interacting with a host of different characters, while finding ingredients to make different types of tea. Call of Duty, this is not.
Should I Play Teacup?
Teacup is absolutely not a game you should play if you want fast-paced, action-packed, adrenaline-fuelled excitement. It is about as far away from those types of games as it is possible to get.
What Teacup is, is a very gentle, slow-paced game. It is much more like Wind In The Willows. It’s very much a narrative game with point-and-click elements, as you approach characters and objects, and press a button to interact with them.
It is a game that would be suitable for playing with children, or for anyone who wants to play something soothing, relaxing and easy. And while this won’t be for everyone, there are definitely times in life where easy has its place.
If there was one word to sum up Teacup, it is wholesome. Everything about the game is gentle.
The graphics are almost illustrative in their composition. The sort of artwork you might find in a children’s book. The animals and environments are well-drawn, while the colours are soft, pastel shades. Everything about it whispers ‘relax’.
The game itself is very simple, and accessible to almost anyone – no prior competence with video games is required. It also has an auto-save feature, so players won’t lose any progress if they get interrupted part way through. You move around a 2.5D environment, talking to the characters as you go.
There are minigames to complete as Teacup goes through her journey. These aren’t especially taxing, and include things like finding objects, remembering sequences, or completing a shape puzzle. but none of these is difficult, and there are hints readily available if you start to struggle.
While you could never call the characters ‘well-rounded’ with a compelling background story of their own, they are, nonetheless, charming in their own way. From a ballon-vendor whose balloon stand floated away, to a mean-looking gang of raccoons who love knitting, there are gentle moments of humour that manage to raise a smile.
And overlaying all of this is the music. A gentle string and piano melody plays in the background. It invites you into a state of deep relaxation.
It’s a game you will probably complete in a couple of hours, so we can’t talk about it having great depth or challenge. And it’s a slow game. Your character doesn’t do anything at speed. And occasionally, movement can be a little bit awkward. But these are minor quibbles, and in some ways, that’s almost the point of the game. It forces you to go slowly.
There isn’t much to say about the controls, other than how incredibly simple they are.
A circle button in the bottom-left of the screen controls movement. A button in the bottom-right allows you to interact with objects and characters. And your tea book in the top-left corner lets you see what else you need to find.
It’s very simple, and there’s very little that can go wrong. It’s precisely as the game is intended.
Time To Par-Tea?
As we said earlier on, this is not a game that’s going to appeal to everyone. It is slow, it is simple, and it is short. But Teacup is a charming game that is very good at achieving what it sets out to do.
If you’re anxious, stressed, or tired, and don’t want to play a game that’s too taxing, then you could do a lot worse than give Teacup a go.