In the game Röki feature is solution of puzzles and tasks. Such projects are now called adventure, thanks to first game of genre — Colossal Cave Adventure.
With the development of technology, many two-dimensional series have gone into oblivion. Adventure games were crossed with action movies, new franchises like Tomb Raider were born, and the genre, as they say, was reborn. What about the quests? Alas, there are only a few adventures with point'n'lick mechanics now.
A small studio Polygon Treehouse, founded in Cambridge by two people from Guerrilla Games, decided to remember the past and started creating a worthy heiress of Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle and Grim Fandango. According to the authors, Röki is a modern reinterpretation of the classic quests that fans loved to play in childhood. In their creation, the developers wanted to embody the atmosphere and spirit characteristic of the genre, but at the same time put them on the rails of modern gameplay.
Röki quickly won critical acclaim, being among the nominees for The Game Awards in the category "Best Debut", as well as the BAFTA Games Awards in the categories "Best Debut" and "Best British Game". The British product has also attracted the attention of Steam players, where the user rating of Röki is 92% or "very positive".
On October 28, the quest was released on PS5, and today's mini-review will be dedicated to this version. The introduction of Röki includes the attributes of the vast majority of the first projects of independent teams: simple graphics, elementary gameplay, not the most impressive tie. The girl Tove returns from a walk with her younger brother. Lars is a big fidget and a dreamer, he invents unknown monsters, and is also not averse to playing hide-and-seek or snowballs. The boy resists continuing the journey without his favorite toy, which is torn, but after repairing it, he quickly forgets about it and switches to other things.
Tove and Lars live in a forest hut with their father, their mother died under circumstances that the girl prefers not to remember. At night, Tove reads a fairy tale to her restless brother and quickly falls asleep:
The world was ruled by four giants who controlled each of the seasons. The first jotun in the form of a wolf ruled in the spring, the deer came in the summer, and the bear - in the fall. The only girl got the role of the crow and, accordingly, winter. One day a man wandered into the possession of the giants, with whom the goddess Röki fell in love, this led to the birth of a son and a quarrel with relatives. The latter did not accept the child, who was half human, half monster, and exiled his sister, trapping her in the cold dimension of permafrost. The Jotuns spent all their strength on opening the portal, and Rerka spent his whole life trying to open it and fix the situation.
Suddenly, Tove's dream is disturbed by her brother, and the story begins to develop rapidly. Lars is kidnapped by an unknown monster, and the girl goes to save him. The plot is somewhat reminiscent of Andersen's "The Snow Queen", and the adventure is the rest of the popular children's fairy tales. In his wanderings, Tuve meets many interesting creatures. The creepy inhabitants of the world of Röki are taken straight from Scandinavian folklore, but unlike the original source, they will not be defeated by brute force. The fragile girl can only appease the trolls and other frightening creatures so that, having made friends with Tove, they will help her.
Unlike classic quests, the locations of Röki are carefully made in 3D, and the character needs to be controlled using a controller, and not as before — to set the final destination of the route. Thus, the game becomes more dynamic, and the mechanics of "pixelhunting" recedes into the background.
The tasks in Röki are intuitive. Players are unlikely to get stuck somewhere as they progress. Plugging can happen once, at most twice per game, and even then it will be easily solved by an elementary search of available actions. According to the developers, they checked the result for a very long time and analyzed the testers' impressions so that the puzzles were extremely logical.
Taking into account the fact that Röki can be launched not only by experienced players, but also by beginners of the genre, the British have provided a hint in the form of active objects that light up when one button is pressed. Also, the solution can be found in Tove's diary and dialogues with the oncoming characters. Unfortunately, the conversations in the game are not voiced, so during them, only all kinds of oohs and aahs, as well as sounds of "fear" and "bewilderment" come out of the mouths of the interlocutors. Usually silent scenes in budget projects cause antipathy, but in Roki it is perceived appropriately.
From the very beginning, Röki catches with a fabulous atmosphere, and the presence of a deep plot and a pleasant visual style does not let go until the very end. However, the most impressive thing about Polygon Treehouse was the gameplay. A dull linear introduction with a couple of elementary tasks replaces the semi-open world, which users are free to explore at their discretion. However, unlike a completely open world, the inaccessible areas of Röki are not so easy to get into. Players will have to complete certain tasks and get to know the next fabulous inhabitant before Tuva is allowed to pass on.
Analyzing what is happening, wandering around locations, studying characters, searching and combining objects in Röki cause incredible delight. The above is done at the highest level, so I want to play endlessly. However, all good things come to an end sometime, and the half-open world is replaced by a new perspective. The final part of the adventure is presented in the form of parallel worlds and original mechanics, which should not be disclosed for the sake of protection from spoilers.
Polygon Treehouse managed to create a truly interesting game: the riddles are logical, but at the same time intricate; the complexity is not that elementary, but accessible even to a child; the atmosphere and artistic style, despite the simple graphics, are pleasing to the eye; the plot of a simple fairy tale develops into a deep story from the experiences of a child and mythical characters who can also suffer. As a result, we get a project that in no case should be missed by fans of "quests".
Röki was released on PC and Nintendo Switch in July 2020, and more than a year later it was released for PlayStation and Xbox. It is important to note that the version for stationary consoles is presented exclusively on the new generation: Xbox One and PS4 were ignored for some unknown reason.
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