I have no hesitation in saying Röki is one of the best games I’ve played this year.
Proudly wearing its influences on its sleeve, the game plays out like a Scandanavian fairytale adventure game in true glorious form, reminding us of a Never Alone crossed with Broken Age.
You gather inventory items, use them to solve puzzles and start conversational topics to drive the story forward, moving alongside side-scrolling 2.5D scenery.
As young Tove, you walk the line between the real world and a deep fantasy full of mystery and secrets.
Tove will encounter huge creatures, vast landscapes, and a heartwrenching story that brings it all together, bringing the player along for an enchanting ride.
But it all begins, quite simply, with a relationship between brother and sister, both Tove and Lars each coping with the loss of their mother and learning how to rely on one another and become more independent.
Polygon Treehouse have leant into this relationship, basing the entire story around it, ensuring it stays at the heart of everything. These are just kids playing hide and seek, throwing snowballs at one another and cuddling soft toys.
But Tove makes a tradition of telling Lars classic folk stories at night, telling tales of trolls and living woods. One night, as she tells her story, she finds herself falling asleep and when she awakes, actually finds herself living in one of the stories she’s told.
Everything Tove knows and loves comes under attack and everything around her changes as she tumbles deeper into a world both familiar and unimaginable.
The way the game transitions between its aesthetic is stunning, from huge imposing creatures standing over everyone and everything, to light casting shadows across the snow. Röki’s unique look is equally unsettling and alluring.
And I really love the way Röki ties these tales into the family’s unique journey, giving us some fascinating parallels, moments of warmth and sadness, and interesting plot threads for the characters to overcome.
The game is never too taxing, nor is it too easy. The puzzles make sense and it’s almost always clear where you need to go and what you need to do. Unlike some adventure games, almost everything you collect will have some value at some point in Röki.
The way everything is presented to the player and brought together is incredibly rich and compelling. The simplistic interface mapped to the gamepad makes it a game anyone can jump into and the stories themselves are both creative and memorable.
Röki is just a well-engineered, well told and ultimately very enjoyable game that will keep you spellbound from beginning to end. It’s simply beautiful and a game that will hold a place in my heart for a long time to come.
Truly, it is very special indeed.
Röki releases July 23rd on PC, with a Nintendo Switch release to follow.
Tested on PC
Code provided by publisher