Sometimes you play a game that just makes you happy. It's simple and easy, but there's just something about its atmosphere that draws you in and calms you. Games like this have always been my favorite because they act as an escape for me when I feel overwhelmed, and are like building a little fort to hide away from everything for a little while. This may all sound a bit dramatic when describing a game about a traveling frog. However, I think that "atmospheric" is the best way to describe this game.
In this post, I'm going to cover the basics of this game, along with rough translations, how to play, and why I love it.
What is Tabikaeru?
Tabikaeru is an iOS and Android game that about a traveling frog (and his friend Mai Mai the snail). It's not about keeping them as a "pet", like many other games, but more like being allowed to peak into their daily life, and helping out your new friend how you can. You help them pack for trips and where they go can depend on the items they take. After their trip, they might send you souvenirs. You can keep these for yourself or give them to their friend when they come to visit. You also get photos from the places they've been. It's not a game that you play all day long, you just pop in to visit your friend occasionally.
How Does it Work?
The game is entirely in Japanese. I went through the game to translate most of it so it would make sense for me as well as others who want to try it. But it's a simple game so once you know the basics it's easy to play. Let's go through the different screens so you can take a look. I'll explain along the way too.
DISCLAIMER: I am not fluent in Japanese. I don't expect these translations to be perfect, but they are roughly translated so they're understandable. So please, don't expect them to be perfect translations.
After downloading the game (just search Tabikaeru and it will come up) you'll open it up and will need to agree to the terms and conditions. Then you're introduced to the frog and you get to give them a name.
You'll look inside the house to see your frog (I named mine Kero) packing for a trip. There are three categories of items that you can pack. An Obento (lunchbox), an Omamori/Amulet (a type of charm), and tools. Obviously, the other two are more like bonus items, but meals are necessary when going on a trip.
The currency in this game is clovers that you can pick outside the house in the little garden area. You just scrub your finger across them to collect some. The three leaf kind is your money, and if you find a four leaf clover it can be used as an amulet. Just come back sometimes after some more have grown to save up clovers.
After you collect your money you go to the market/shop and can buy something to eat. You don't have money so you'll just buy a scone. Agree to buy the scone and then insert it into the lunchbox slot of their backpack.
Kero went on a trip, and when he leaves it may be hours before they return. It's a tutorial now so they'll come back quickly. Next, you'll be asked to turn on notifications so you'll know when they arrive later on. They come and go as they please really, you don't get to choose them they go or where they go. Again, they're more like your friend than your pet and you're just there to help and observe. But by helping them out you'll get little gifts and photos in return.
When a photo arrives you can share or download, and you can save it in-game inside the album. If you don't press the button to save it to the album it will automatically be deleted. You'll also receive some money, lottery tickets, or other things in the mail. (There's a screen missing here, but he also brought back rice cake and a persimmon.)
After Kero comes back you earn the title "Traveling Alone", and over time you can earn more titles.
Since you won't always be around when your frog is packing you can also leave items on their desk for them to pack themselves. If you keep this stocked up they'll pick and choose items they want. You use it just like the backpack, tapping the slots and putting in items you've purchased. The button at the bottom will clear off the desk and put everything back in your inventory.
Later on, you'll get a visit from Mai Mai the snail. You can give them the special items from Kero when they visit and they'll give you a gift in return. You can only give one per visit since they can't eat much. You might also get containers of slime from them, which is a pretty rare item.
Let's go through the menus and different buttons again just as a cheat sheet of sorts.
If you click on your frog you can rename them and look at their titles.
The corner menu expands and you can look at your inventory, check out saved photos and travel logs, or get game help. The other icons go to the shop and either inside or outside. The little log is where you can pack the backpack or set items on the desk.
In your inventory, you can go through the different types of items you own.
In the trips section, you can look through the picture book or the album. One has saved photos and the other shows things that you can collect over time, even if you've since used that item.
In the help section, you can edit the game options like sound and look at your ID. There's a guide there that goes through the tutorial again in case you forget something. You can also go through all the terms of service, user agreements, etc. At the bottom is a button that will take you to the store to rate and review the game.
In the shop, there are a few different kinds of things. There's food, handkerchiefs, tents, bowls, and different lights. You can also click on the lottery button and play the lottery. After you get five tickets you can play the lottery to win special items only found there. You can get items like train tickets, konpeito (sugar candies), little cookies, special charms, and more lottery tickets/fliers. There are different flavors and colors for each item. I've listed a few of them.
Bonus: this screen is when there's an internet issue.
Basically, I love this game. My friend recommended this game to me and it was an instant hit. It's simple, easy to play, and cute. I love the art style and all the little details they put into the house and the environment. The first place Kero went (for me at least) was Osaka Castle, which made me really happy because I've been there myself. I have loved frogs since I was little and I've had pet snails that looked a lot like Mai Mai.
Being able to check in sometimes is so relaxing and feels like getting postcards from a friend in Japan. Whenever you check in he might be reading, writing, packing, or may be out on a trip. I don't see myself spending money on the game because I just want to take my time collecting items and enjoying it. I really recommend downloading this game and trying it out because there's little commitment and you can just enjoy little gifts every now and then to brighten your day.
I hope that this guide and review was helpful, and happy traveling!
See you next time,