Enter a Scandinavian inspired folklore adventure game in Polygon Treehouse's Roki
Röki is an adventure game inspired by scandanavian folklore from British developers Polygon Treehouse.
Röki starts off with a short introduction, you and your little brother Lars are out in the snow, but it's time to go home. This short sequence lays the foundations of the game, it's where you find out about the family of Tove, Lars and her father, who after the death of Toves mother has taken to drinking and this leaves Tove as the primary carer for her brother, ranging from repairing his broken toys to cooking a meal with whatever she finds in the fridge.
Later that night a large black creature attacks their cabin. Not knowing what the creature is, Tove only thinks of getting her little brother away from there, believing their father has been killed in the attack, saving Lars is her primary objective.
However the large creature is too fast for them, and after going through some woods, Lars is taken and Tove gives chase only to see her brother pulled through what appears to be a portal, naturally she follows and is transported into another world, one she hardly recognises.
Röki at its core is an adventure game. You'll wander through screens containing puzzles, many items to read about and pick up & creatures ranging from trolls to tree gods. As is usual with adventure games, working out what item goes with what puzzle can be a challenge but that is the point of adventure games, and Röki does include such handy features as a highlight system and other subtle hints to help you through the process.
Tove has quite a range of facial expressions, quite often I've found myself simply staring at her face during a conversation when she finds out about what Trolls eat or when a new big scary creature comes on screen. But this doesn't stop her, every so often having to remind herself why she is in this land and that pressing on is her only option.
Visually Röki is a joy to look at, the game's cel shaded art style comes alive with its use of bold colours and the variety of the well animated and engaging creatures that Tove has to interact with. The environments all also help to show a world that is large, with large and fearsome creatures in it, be it on a mountain top or deep below the ground in some caves.
Tove is clearly an explorer at heart, and through her journal she takes notes of the places she's been and even collects items on her journey, ranging from dried troll snot, I know, and dried beetles, as well as making a map of the areas in the game. It would have been nice to have this as a fast travel option, but that probably makes it too easy, the game does have some form of fast travel, via doors in living trees that you open as you go, and while it's useful, you will still be traversing many screens on your journey.
There are some minor issues with the game, the inventory controls on the PC leave a lot to be desired, having proper mouse controls would be nice, you cant see the mouse cursor but can use it to drag items from the inventory to where you want on screen but it feels clunky and the standard setup is slow to use.
The same can be said of the journal, you have keys to navigate between sections and change pages, but here again, mouse controls would have made it much nicer and quicker.
Röki has a lot for you to discover, strange creatures, beautiful vistas and visuals, puzzles that are not too difficult but challenging enough, and a soundtrack that fits in perfectly and makes the whole package something that is a joy to play. Even if some minor parts could do with a polish.