My love of adventure games started back in 1994 with Simon the Sorcerer. The quirky characters, art style, and witty writing – each scene was so rich and full of details to explore it quickly became a favorite of mine. It led me to try other point and click adventures like the Monkey Island and Broken Sword series and I’m still a huge fan of the genre. So when Polygon Treehouse started sharing details of a new point and click adventure game they were developing, I was more than a little excited. The game is called Roki – let me tell you more about it.
What is Roki?
In Röki you lead a young girl called Tove through a snow covered forest filled with myriad folklore creatures in search of her missing brother. You’ll encounter monsters like Hilde the Troll. Hilde has a rather annoying dagger stuck firmly in her shoulder that just won’t come out. Tove is a kind soul and looks to help those she meets irrespective of their appearance. Soon you’re off hunting down some equipment that will let you retrieve said dagger. This sort of mechanic is a classic of the genre and challenges the player to think creatively to solve problems. Its a sort of domino effect where finding one item leads you back to a previously impassible point, which then leads you to get another item to overcome a new challenge. It’s beautifully simple but effective. As you can imagine, when that dagger finally came out Hilde was very happy.
In the game’s demo (available on Steam at the time of writing) you enter the world in Chapter 2 with no knowledge of what’s come before. You gather that Tove is looking for her missing 5 year old brother Lars and that their father is absent and possibly deceased. So she’s alone in this barren landscape full of dangers. Röki can have a creepy vibe but I wasn’t filled with pure dread as I explored. Instead I felt a childlike wonder at what could be round the next corner.
As I played the demo I was in awe of the visuals. Beautiful Scandinavian countryside covered in crisp snow filled with colourful locations and people is the order of the day. Polygon Treehouse opted for a scaled back aesthetic. They couldn’t do a full 3D render due to limited manpower but it really works and makes Röki instantly recognisable amongst its peers. It’s one of the first things that drew me to the game.
Röki delivers conversation through well written text rather than spoken dialogue. There is some voice acting in the form of sounds emitted by the characters to convey emotion. One nice touch from the developers was to use Scandinavian voice actors for those parts. Even though they aren’t speaking, the inflection is there and it helps to add to the sense of place. The soundtrack is haunting, evoking old softly sung nursery rhymes which were comforting at times, but at others sinister and unsettling.
The game recommends using a controller for the best experience. I’m a console player so that’s right up my street. There is also the option of mouse and keyboard. It felt easy and natural to explore the environment. Use the left stick to move Tove and X to interact with objects/people. There’s a neat journal you open by pressing square to keep track of the story. Here you’ll also see achievements you’ve completed or oddities you’ve found. You earn a Troll Friend badge in the demo, which is very cool.
I’ve only glimpsed what Röki has to offer and I know I want more. The game has brought back fond memories of my adventures with good old Simon but offers me something fresh. I’m already invested in the protagonist’s plight and I want to see more.
Lars, sit tight buddy, Tove and I are on our way.
Röki is out on Windows 23 July 2020 and Nintendo Switch later this year.
For further details for Roki, click this link to the official game page for the Nintendo Switch.
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