I play a lot of video games, but when it comes to Scandinavian folklore, no game immediately comes to mind. So, here we have an adventure game that does exactly that. I may not be that knowledgeable in the field, but I sure was interested in checking it out.
So let’s get right into the story. You play as a girl on a journey to save her family. This journey will take you through a magical forest full of all sorts of spirits, creatures, and other elements pulled directly from folklore. It’s a story full of discovery and wonder, but also grief and self-reflection. Despite how the game looks, its themes are surprisingly darker in nature. It makes for this very cool contrast, especially because you see the story through the eyes of a child.
This is only furthered as you progress through the game, with the story revealing bits and pieces to a larger narrative that I honestly was not expecting. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I will say that it was quite cool to see the story develop in this way. I wasn’t to keen on it at first, but the payoff by the end was worth it. It’s a tightly written and well-told story, fitting for the type of gameplay it goes for.
As for that gameplay, it is more akin to a point and click game. You’ll explore the map, pick up various items, and use them to solve a variety of puzzles. This may be something simple like acquiring all of the keys to enter a new area or something more complex like finding and combining various parts to make a new tool, which in turn is used to solve more puzzles. These puzzles can be quite difficult too and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t stuck at least a couple times during my playthrough. It’s not so difficult as to necessitate a walkthrough, but that’s something to keep in mind if you’re going into it expecting a straightforward adventure game.
I won’t deny that some of the puzzles can be tedious (especially during the last third or so of the game), but it was nice to sit back and play a traditional adventure game like this. The experience isn’t entirely linear either, so the sense of freedom that went along with it was nice to have as well, especially for the genre. If anything, it kinda made me nostalgic in a way, as I used to play a lot of these games when I was much younger.
But of course, I should also mention the graphics, because this is a good looking game after all. It’s a more stylized approach, but it works well for the type of gameplay and story here. The colors are flat, but bold, and create this very cool aesthetic when combined with the shadowing and overall lighting. And you would think that this would result in less detail overall, but I felt that the game managed to strike a nice balance there. The studio really managed to bring the game world to life with this style and I’m all for it, and of course, the music and sound ambience definitely helped too.
On the technical side of things, the game does have a few issues to note. The fps, for example, is capped at 60 and I unfortunately could not find a way to remove that cap. What’s odd though is that the game’s animations can be somewhat jittery even when running at that constant 60 fps. I also ran into a few bugs, including a puzzle getting stuck and playing sounds without the visuals updated to match and a reproducible bug that caused the game to hang while saving. Fortunately, the autosave saved me in both of these situations. I’ve been informed that there is going to be a launch patch, so hopefully these issues are among those that are going to be patched..
With that said, I would say that Röki is deserving of a light recommendation. It doesn’t really bring anything new to the genre, but it does have a good story going for it and I would say that that is the driving force here anyways. Otherwise, the gameplay is just your standard adventure game setup, although it does get a bit tedious towards the end of the game. It does look good though, better than others I’ve seen in the genre. It might not be an immediate purchase, but it’s worth the look if you can catch it on sale.
You can buy Röki on Steam here.
I was provided a review copy of the game in order to write this review. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.