You start as a frog sitting in a pond trying to keep bugs from eating your fruit. Eating bugs scores you points (which are expressed in fractions), and you have to collect the fruit when it ripens and falls off the vine (a tall order, since your character can't move back and forth right away). The fruit you do collect you can spend on power-ups (some of which are seemingly prohibitively expensive and sold in a currency you don't have), and as you do so you discover hints that there's more to this game beyond this little frog's pond.
"Discovery" is a big theme of the game, according to Word of God, and as you play you'll discover all sorts of nonsense we'll try not to spoil here.
Frog Fractions 2 was Kickstarted and turned into an ARG that spanned two years. In December 2016 it was finally released and discovered, included as a secret in a children's game by the name of Glittermitten Grove.
Tropes fractioned in the first game include:
- All Just a Dream: The human segment turns out to be a dream.
- Art Shift
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: In a long dialogue as you enable and disable the lock-on upgrade, the two people arguing over whether or not the frog really needs the lock-on upgrade eventually question why the frog is still in the beginning stage of the game and whether they should force the frog to move on.
- Deconstruction Game
- Starting with when Edutainment games don't actually require any grasp of the subject matter. Fractions occur throughout the game but having knowledge of fractions is in no way required or rewarded by the game nor is ignorance of them penalized.
- Also of games that create false goals. In one segment of the game, you manage investments. It doesn't matter at all if you run a surplus or a deficit.
- Edutainment Game: Starts as one, but in name only, and quickly goes off the rails.
- Feelies: None exist, obviously, this being a free browser game, but the text adventure game segment identifies the "out of order" sign as being the one included in the non-existent box.
- Five-Second Foreshadowing: On the last typing segment before you can get at the underwater cache of "like a billion" fruit, amongst the words that appear are "dunk" and "stash."
- Gameplay Roulette: Oh brother, and how. Starts as a Shallow Parody of edutainment games, then becomes a Bullet Hell shooter, followed by a Visual Novel segment, back to a parody edutainment game, then a maze game with art game aesthetics, a text adventure, a parody edutainment game yet again (as part of a Joke Level), a Dance Dance Revolution clone, and ends with a pastiche of Lemonade Stand where you sell bug porn.
- Hopeless Boss Fight: When you Shoot The Core of the boss in the shmup level, it traps you.
- Humanity Ensues: The frog becomes human at one point. Fortunately, it's All Just a Dream.
- In Memoriam:In memory of Beard #2
- Little Known Facts: Segments of the Maze section of the game are narrated by a bogus history of boxing, which claims the sport originated in Portugal in the late seventeenth century and originally took the form of gentlemen trying to bore their opponent into unconsciousness with monotonous anecdotes.
- Overly Long Gag: The Lock-On Targeting and Uninstall Lock-On Targeting upgrades, with new descriptions each time until the two go on a tangent about waffles, and then wonder why you're still turning it on and off.
- Pixellation: The "bug porn" in the credits consists of photographs of insects mating with their sex organs pixel-censored.
Tropes fractioned in the second (third?) game include:
- Alternate Reality Game: A major part of Frog Fractions 2 was the two ARGs that got people all around the world cooperating to figure out what the game really was.
- A series of puzzles and enigmas involving a time travel plot and a threat known as the "Decay" that would be unleashed with the release of this game.
- A mysterious symbol known as the Eye Sigil was placed on several indie games since 2014 with Kingdom of Loathing. This symbol would in some way reveal a series of pieces to a map which pointed towards a connection with the main Frog Fractions 2 ARG.
- Artifact Title: Contains no fractions, and the only frog is near the very end of the game.
- Award-Bait Song: "Baby, You're My Fraction," which plays over the end credits.
- Conlang: The room with the frog is based on a fairly simple one, where every glyph you've collected stands for a different word or phrase. In a couple cases, the glyph is the same as the in-game symbol for what it means.
- Exposition Fairy: Your assistant in Glittermitten Grove. She sticks around once it becomes TXT World.
- Gainax Ending: The final Korn fact is that Korn was the dying dream of the last mammal on the planet after a disastrous asteroid impact. Then there's a massive quake, the world starts falling apart, and you make a mad dash for the final mindstone... smash to Glittermitten Grove, followed by the credits. Once the credits finish, Glittermitten Grove accelerates to ludicrous speed (filling the screen with butterflies) until hitting Year 0000000000, where that world has, evidently, been engulfed by its sun.
- Gotta Catch Them All: The glyphs scattered through the world. There's two of each — collecting the first one gets you the yellow version, collecting both gets you the purple version.
- Guide Dang It!: Some of the glyphs can be very tricky to find or access without looking them up. Probably the worst offenders are the Eye glyph near the shack, which can only be accessed from Bomb Hell, and both the Up Arrow glyphs, one of which only seems to show up on not just solving the puzzle but then exiting and re-entering the room (possibly because it's blocked by the giant "go right" arrow that appears, and the other of which is received by repeatedly talking to the guard on the second screen.
- Little Known Facts: A running gag, this time about the history of the Nu Metal band Korn.
- Oddly Named Sequel: An extreme example; While the game has been successfully Kickstarted, the devs have gone on record to say that the sequel's title — plus the credits and company name of the sequel — will be under different, completely unrelated names in their attempt to make the sequel completely untraceable to the first Frog Fractions. The only theme that sticks is that the game will go Off the Rails to different genres. Compounding this is the fact they will not announce when the game will be released. So if you happen to someday play a completely unrelated game that just so happens to feel like playing Frog Fractions, congratulations—You finally found Frog Fractions 2.
- Old Save Bonus: The game uses saves from Mass Effect 2 for one puzzle and a few jokes. Yes, really.
- Overly Long Gag: The credits start off normal until you see the phrase Assistant Director. This is where every backer is named in the credits like in your average kickstarter game. This game does that but adds on Assistant to the Assistant Director and then Assistant to the Assistant to the Assistant Director and then Assistant to the Assistant to the Assistant for all the remaining backers even going as far as to occasionally pop up a Netflix prompt asking if you're still watching Frog Fractions 3.
- Shout-Out: Virtually every bit of the game. But a few to start with:
- ZZT for the main interface of "TXT World"
- One room features the blinking text "Created by Warren Robinett".
- The bridge from the same game is a crucial and similarly game-breaking item.
- You can import a Mass Effect 2 save game, and if you do, you can find a digression much later in the game involving some of the characters from Mass Effect 2. If you want to find the Super Soapstone, pay close attention to which characters are mentioned in the digression about donuts when choosing your Mass Effect 2 save file...
- And those are just the really obvious ones...
- Stealth Pun: One of the minigames consists of chasing a thief through the nine circles of Dante's Inferno. If you pay attention to the interface, and are familiar with the original incarnations of the series in question, you'll realize you're playing "Where the Hell is Carmen Sandiego?"
- Meanwhile, another game has you teeing off your Xenomorph roomate. In other words, Alien: Irritation