Everybody wants something and hopefully they’re willing to trade. The captain of a tiny little boat has washed ashore on an island of froggy-people and what he wants is to fix his shattered micro-ship and sail onwards. What everyone else wants, however, is a different matter entirely, so it’s going to take a whole lot of favors, trading and puzzling out the uses of the many items scattered around the island to get moving again. Not to mention if the full game is anything like the stand-alone mini-prequel demo, there are going to be plenty of side-quests available simply for the fun of figuring them out.
Trading Time: A Croak Tale had a demo released a few weeks back as part of the Steam Next Fest, and with the game being featured in the Wholesome Games Showcase, it’s returned with a few new features to help players find the many extra objectives. The sailor has landed on a small island, and after taking a rest, wakes up to find that his much-loved potted plant companion has been stolen. The island is a bit of a wasteland and the axolotl shaman wants to use it to bring greenery back, but there’s an alternative if the sailor is willing to help. All the dialogue is in pictogram form (I’d completely forgotten Young Merlin on SNES but had instant flashbacks) and it easy to decipher, and a little exploration of the small island turns up all the main objectives. After that you can lash the plant securely to the boat and take off, or hang out to find the other 75% of the island’s puzzles. The list of achievements lets you know there’s far more to uncover, and it takes some clever platforming and realizing there’s a little bit of Klonoa-type platforming to get to some of the trickier spots. Or, as the video shows, you can use a leaf to fall more slowly. The sailor can carry one item at a time but there’s some free-form puzzle solving, so it may not be one specific solution required to get to a new area.
The Trading Time: A Croak Tale Prologue is short but charming from start to finish, and it’s also completely free. Head on over to Steam to give it a play, and see if it’s more than enough to start the anticipation for the full game when it releases at an undefined but hopefully not too far off “soon.”