Why Did The Frog Cross The Road? To Get Tea Leaves

HIGH Beautiful watercolor graphics and a relaxing atmosphere.

LOW Having four quests at the same time can get slightly confusing.

WTF The people of Little Pond can be annoying at times.

Ideally, teatime is one of those quiet moments in the day when it’s possible to pause and relax, taking a breather from one’s problems and the things we must do. However, it can also be stressful, as exemplified by the protagonist in Teacup. Instead of sitting and sipping, she’s tasked with finding the required materials for a tea party, including an incredible amount of leaves, along with biscuits, sugar and milk.

Teacup is a nice little 2D adventure with a few minigames and some puzzles along the way. The player will guide Teacup the frog and visit the citizens of Little Pond in order to complete a few some fetch quests and get the tea she needs. Everything is nonviolent and peaceful, which definitely makes the experience perfect for younger players. Adults may also join in, since Teacup deals with anxiety and the fear of leaving her home — and that’s a feeling I think all of us can relate to during these weird times.

Graphically, Teacup delivers in spades, especially if played on the big screen — its watercolor-like and vaguely spraypainted backgrounds are incredibly rich in color and detail, along with some parallax scrolling which looks quite pleasing when moving Teacup around. The music matches the relaxing atmosphere, featuring several piano tracks and offering little orchestral touches here and there.

The puzzles range from simple things like rearranging a scrambled image to slightly more complicated tasks like putting mechanical gears on a machine in the correct order. There are also a couple of more inventive ones like an 8-bit coffee simulator, which is (unfortunately) too easy and over too soon. Some puzzles might be a bit more taxing than others, depending on one’s strengths and weaknesses, but they all come with a nice built-in hint system.

The only thing I felt was lacking was a quest log, since it’s possible to forget what Teacup is supposed to be doing and the only way to fix that is to go and talk to any available NPCs all over again. Our main frog brings with her book with some very useful instructions on how to make the best tea possible — adding a page or two to track quests would have been welcome.

Teacup was definitely a nice surprise — it’s a peaceful and relaxing experience enriched by fantastic audio and visuals. I suspect it will please both younger audiences and slightly older ones, as just about anyone these days could probably use a few hours of respite from the ugliness of the modern world.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Disclosures: This game is developed by Smarto Club and published by Whitethorn Digital. It is currently available on Switch, PS, XB and PC. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on Switch. Approximately 2 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode and the game was completed. There are no multiplayer modes.

Parents: The game is rated E by the ESRB. It doesn’t contain anything of note as far as content warnings goes, and the only heads up I would give is about the main character’s stress and anxiety. That said, it doesn’t come up all that much overall. I can still definitely recommend the game to everyone.

Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes.

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: This game does not feature spoken dialogue. The text cannot be altered or resized. In my view, the game is fully accessible.

Remappable Controls: There is no control diagram. Teacup is controlled via analog stick or d-pad. She interacts with the characters and minigames with the A button. It is not possible to remap the controls.

Damiano Gerli
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