Review: Röki: Indie Game of the Year?

Indie games come in all varieties. Most are okay, some other part are bad but there are always some that are fantastic. So is Roki. It's been a while since I've lost myself like that in an indie game. This game is all about the experience, setting, music and the bond you make with Tove the main character of the story. It is best to compare this game with the fantastic game Journey . It is a game in which you are sucked in and only come out at the end credits.

Röki tells the story of Tove and her brother Lars. Tove has taken over the burden of taking care of her little brother after their mother died giving birth to Lars. With only her father left, the family lives in the forests of a Scandinavian region. During their quiet life they are startled by a large dark monster. This monster attacks Tove and Lars with the intention of taking Lars with him. Their house is demolished and they lose sight of their father. After an exciting sleigh ride, Lars is still taken by the dark monster. Tove does not leave it at that and goes after the monster and her brother.

In pursuit of her brother Lars, Tove enters a magical world from one of the Scandinavian folktales. In a world of trolls, ravens and talking trees, Tove goes in search of the monster Röki and her brother. During the journey, she encounters various creatures that she can help or even help to get closer to Lars. Tove needs the help of the three guardian animals of the magical forest she is in. Can Tove save Lars and help the creatures of the forest?

Röki, a simple world that drags you along.

Polygon Threehouse, the makers of Röki, have created a fairly simple looking world. And yet the game looks fantastic. Enough attention has been paid to the smaller details of the forest. Each area has its own style and environment, yet the areas flow smoothly into each other. From an abandoned monastery to high mountains, great care and attention has gone into making the world look good. Apart from the art style of this game, the game is accompanied by atmospheric music. Just like in the games like Ori and Journey, the soundtracks of this game are what raises the level of this game. The alternation between quiet songs and the more up tempo songs is very well executed.

Because Röki is not an action game but more of a journey of discovery, you as a player can also enjoy the music and the atmosphere in this game. The story behind the history of Tove and her family is moving and compelling. Add to that the story of one of the fairy tales from Scandinavia and you have an atmospheric game that takes you from start to finish. Last year we were already impressed during our first introduction to the game. At Gamescom 2019 we spoke to the creators of Polygon Treehouse and our editor Nicholas North was very impressed with this game. And the statement below from him is right like a bus.

 This is a game where you get to know the humanity behind the monsters you encounter. And often they can be helped in a very human way. Röki makes you think about what the essence of humanity is and what monsters actually are. It is also not possible to finish your enemies. After all, that would make you a monster yourself, according to the makers of Röki. – Nicholas North

Verdict

Röki from Polygon Treehouse is simply a great game. The game is so well put together that it could possibly win Indie Game of the Year. The atmosphere, artwork and music are very well matched. The puzzles in the game vary from easy to challenging. If you really can't figure it out, there are still the talking trees where you can get advice. It takes some getting used to the controls and combining your items. It's a bit clumsy on the PC. But once you get used to it, the game is fine.

The fairy tale and story of Tove and her family are compelling and moving. Polygon Threehouse has also succeeded well in making this game and that is why we award this game with a 9.5. Had the controls on the PC been simpler, this game would have been almost perfect. I can't wait for the next game from these makers.


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