TXT World! (2) / Conclusion

After every mini-game, Frog Fractions 2 returns you to TXT World! Either you will carry some item that opens up a new path – ultimately to a new mini-game – or you yourself will be transformed. After Egg-Snake, you become a snake, having to navigate familiar territory with new caution, lest you become entrapped or collide with your own tail. After Dante, your sword pulses as you near secret paths, like a divining rod. Usually, it is something that makes control and navigation more difficult. It wants to challenge, not to indulge.

Sometimes, it’s the world itself that changes – usually just at the point where you feel sure as to what it is you have to do next.

Frog Fractions 2 delights most of all in wrong-footing its player, remixing everything at a moment’s notice – but in most cases deciphering the new way to play does not take long.

I was fascinated, always fascinated to see what came next. Sometimes I laughed, sometimes I howled in frustration. Sometimes I was enraptured, sometimes I was bored. Sometimes I thought it brilliant, sometimes I thought it insufferable – smug and arduous. This is master-level design in its pyjamas, presenting itself with a shrug but nonetheless a self-important glint in its eye.

It is dizzying in its unending novelty yet also oddly familiar – assembled from known parts of gaming’s lexicon, remake and demake and jam culture all at once. It should be played. It’s celebratory and it’s satisfyingly challenging, and it seeks to remind us of the efforts in learning and precision we had to make before tutorials and playtesting fixed the path. Old and new at once.

A worthy outcome to the legend and the myth and ARG and the great game? Perhaps. Though the world is less interesting now that Frog Fractions 2 stands fully in the light, no longer clad in shadow and rumour.

A three-year-old’s review:

“Is that where you write about what it’s like?”

Glittermitten Grove, a fairy-themed construction game containing experimental adventure/minigame collection Frog Fractions 2, is out now via Steam. Type ‘butts’ into the first game screen after the main menu to access FF2.

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