I like a good Earl Grey with some sugar, personally.
I have an on-and-off relationship with tea; some years I get real into it and some years I don’t really care for it at all. Though I cannot say I have ever been so passionate about tea as to have a handbook on all the different ways to make it, as is the case with the titular protagonist of Teacup, a short adventure about leaving your comfort zone and interacting with the people around you. Presented in a nice-looking painterly art style with a beautiful piano filled soundtrack, Teacup seems like the kind of game that would be perfect to play with your young child over the course of two hours. Outside of that specific scenario, however, I’m not entirely sure it will be everybody’s cup of tea.
In Teacup, you play as a young frog girl named Teacup. She loves nothing more than to stay at home reading a good book next to a hot cup of tea. There’s just one small problem: she is completely out of the ingredients needed to make that tea. To make matters worse, she is also scheduled to host a tea party the very next day, which is going to be quite difficult if there isn’t any tea to serve. With no other choice, Teacup packs up and heads out into the town of Little Pond in search of the various herbs and sweeteners she requires, reconnecting with friends and helping her fellow townspeople out along the way.
Gameplay in Teacup is incredibly simple, made up entirely of walking around an area in a 2.5D manner and talking to the people of Little Pond. Sometimes when talking to certain characters, they will offer to either tell you where you can find an ingredient or give you some from their own stash, but almost always on the condition that you help them with a problem they’re having. This will lead to one of many minigames you can encounter in Teacup, which can range from Simon says style inputs to a very simple game where you pull things out of a river. These are the exact moments that made me start to realize that this game was likely aiming at a younger audience, as each one is not only incredibly simple in terms of gameplay but also appeared to be impossible to fail. If I had to make a comparison to another game in terms of layout, the one that came to mind most often was Later Alligator.
My one real issue with the process of finding these minigames is entirely based around Teacup’s movement speed. When walking normally I found her to move incredibly slow. You can hold R to cause her to pick up the pace a bit, but honestly the change felt negligible at best. This is worsened by the fact that most areas only have one exit that will take you to the world map, with several sub areas potentially being between you and the only area exit. There is, as far as I could tell, no button to take you directly to the world map, meaning that wherever you’re going, you will be walking all the way there every single time. The town of Little Pond may not be the biggest town to be found in a game, but this movement speed issue causes it to feel as if it’s twice as big as it is, and not in a good way.
Overall, Teacup certainly has its place, but I feel as though that place is very specific. If you’re looking for something to play with a child or even just looking for a short but slow experience to unwind at the end of the day, Teacup may be something you should look into. For most, though, a mixture of the complete lack of any challenge in the minigames and the very slow pace may turn them off from the experience. Its art style is gorgeous and the soundtrack to accompany Little Pond is a joy to listen to, but at the end of the day those can only do so much to help the experience. If this sounds up your alley, you should absolutely give Teacup a playthrough! If not, well you may just have to look into a different blend to fill your cup.