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Röki

Röki - Hands-On Impressions

We got to try Polygon Treehouse's snowy adventure in London, getting a glimpse of Tove's journey.

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Polygon Treehouse's Röki isn't a game about a Scandinavian boxer, but instead it's a narrative-driven title that follows a girl named Tove on a journey to rescue her family. Röki caught our eye in London recently, which is why we sat down to talk with the developers and try out the demo laid out for us, throwing us into the mysteries of the forest and showing what the game is all about.

We were told that this is inspired partly by adventure games like Monkey Island, in the sense that you're required to explore environments, interact with objects, and collect items, which may then prove useful elsewhere. There weren't many areas to see in the demo we played, but we managed to get a sense of these inspirations as we went around, confused as to how to progress, before finding one item which allowed us to open a new area, in turn finding another item to use in the previous one.

For example, we encountered the troll below, who had a sword stuck in his shoulder. He's too tall to reach it, and the bridge is too high above to pick it out, so what were we to do? Well, it turns out we needed to find a rope and a beartrap, so that we could harness our inner MacGyver to combine them and throw it down from the bridge, grabbing the sword to pull it out.

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Polygon Treehouse also told us that they're not trying to be too obscure with puzzles and solutions either. We all remember the time adventure games required the most unexpected of solutions - like the infamous Goat Puzzle in Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars - but here the team is aiming for a balance between accessibility and a satisfying difficulty level. The areas we had to explore weren't that big, but we're promised that there will be more things to see (and potentially use to solve puzzles) later on in the game.

There wasn't too much of the narrative on show here, since this served as more of a vertical slice to show what they're going for with gameplay mechanics, moving freely around the world with the left stick and interacting with various elements. That said, we do get a sense of the world around us, as it's clear this is inspired by Scandinavian folklore and fairy tales, with the snowy forest being shrouded in mystery and intrigue.

This is especially pertinent when we entered a tree and were greeted by mysterious voices, as well as the troll under the bridge. In many ways this could be a dark and sinister setting, but Tove's young age and the beautiful art style means we always wanted to see what curiosities were in store, like a forgotten church that's been snowed under.

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As we went along Tove filled in her journal, providing a good way to keep track of the story and Tove's thoughts when there wasn't any dialogue. This just adds to the sense of intrigue and childlike wonder in this world, as did the excellent music, which was one of the standout features of our time in Röki.

This demo for Röki was very brief, but already we're captivated by the world Polygon Treehouse has created. It's an adventure game with a wonderfully stylish world to explore, and we're looking forward to seeing how these ideas flesh out into a full product, which should be landing in winter at some point.

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