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Röki

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Just finished this one and simply loved it. Almost a perfect game. Only slight negative would be that it was a bit hard to find a few paths and objects (despite the highlight function) but in all other regards it was such a joy to play. Just the right difficulty for this type of game and well crafted puzzles, a story cleverly built on (instead of just showcasing) folklore, beautiful animation and art and genius use of vocal expressions instead of spoken monologue/dialogue. And just the right length (around 12 hours according to GOG Galaxy).

Definitely one of the best games I’ve played in the last few years.

     
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Joined 2003-11-15

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Lucien21 - 03 August 2020 06:17 AM

My only criticism is that you lose the fast travel in the last part so you can end up running around back tracking a lot.

I noted this in the AG review too, and I find it interesting as it’s almost the opposite of my experience. Yes, a large part of the gameplay is running around to find the objects you need, but unless it’s obvious where to find something, it’s almost always found close to where it’s used. I appreciated that. It felt really well designed.

But just as importantly, I liked the actual running around and didn’t get bored with it. The world kept me engaged. It’s not like it’s Syberia or something where we had to endure the walk animations to play the game. What input method did you use? I played with a gamepad, and wonder if that’s part of how we experienced it differently. (It could of course also simply be that we are different people.)

Karlok -

]I will play some more and try to suspend my judgement. Not sure if I’ll finish it though.

If you’ve played for 90 minutes and think it’s “meh”, then I don’t think you’re going to enjoy the rest of the game either. It just doesn’t seem to be your kind of game.

My advice to anyone who is unsure is to try the demo. If you like that, you will almost guaranteed love the game. (But if you’re like me and like this kind of game - go straight for the game itself, as the intro that’s before what’s in the demo sets the mood beautifully.)

     

You can play my game Frasse and the Peas of Kejick for free! (AG review here.)

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No fast travel in the last area definitely increases the back tracking but it’s much smaller overall compared to the forest and shortcuts open up as you play through it. Design wise that section reminded me of a Resident Evil game, which also have plenty of back tracking, but also a sense of genuine exploration that comes with revisiting areas and discovering new things about them.

I also just loved the puzzles at the end.How they tied in with the themes of the game, like deciphering the seasons riddle or caging the children turned monsters.

The art direction really sells the moment as well. We go from a mysterious, sometimes haunting, yet cheery winter wonderland to a bleak, muted, frozen purgatory. Tove & Henrik isolated yet together at once, bonding through their trials. The dual character puzzles was such a great way to portray their emotional reunification through gameplay.

     
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Joined 2004-01-18

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I played it with a gamepad and thought the controls were great. The running around and backtracking was probably me just running around figuring stuff out. I didn’t think it was a big issue but some people might.

I liked how you opened up shortcuts as you went along, that certainly shortened the wandering, but it was still there.

     

An adventure game is nothing more than a good story set with engaging puzzles that fit seamlessly in with the story and the characters, and looks and sounds beautiful.
Roberta Williams

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Joined 2013-08-25

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Finished the game with very mixed feelings. It is indeed atmospheric, the minimalist art is beautiful and stylish, the story, while nothing special, starts just how every good fable should start - brief introduction and bam! the main character finds herself in a world of legends and fairy tales. King’s Quest 4 or, more precisely, Heroine’s Quest are good comparisons. While Röki is more linear and the puzzles are often easy, I enjoyed it up until the last half of the 2nd chapter.

Discovering the enchanted forest and doing quests for all the mystic creatures felt nice despite some immersion-breaking moments with surreal flashbacks where the (very banal) family drama was introduced. I didn’t think much of it since those bits were entertaining enough, and I’m already used to 99% of modern devs trying to insert those MEANINGFUL (read: unrelated) themes into every game. But the exploration bit was tasteful, there were always plenty of things to do and admire. Loved how they mixed dark and cheerful themes Scandinavian-style and how lively the scenery felt. Local dwarves still make me smile Smile

And then suddenly the game turned linear and repetitive (that bit where Tove ran back and force changing masks and the sizes of mushrooms). Then - even more linear when another MEANINGFUL segment started. And then the journey through the colorful wildness ended and the action moved to some grey abandoned castle while the game itself turned into a… tedious puzzle game. I thought maybe this was just another brief moment, but no, they actually built a whole long chapter around one concept! Almost every task should be completed commando-style as we move through the multi-level castle step by step, solving numerous puzzles that just stand on our way, waiting to be solved. Even the way the concept was introduced felt artificial to me, like it was taken from another game in development and attached to the Röki’s story at the last moment.

It reminded me of the recent Amanita game, also too easy to make up for a real challenge and too trivial to entertain. By the end of it I got so tired of watching those climbing animations and listening to repetitive overdramatic one-liners (those “Pappa!” / “Momma!” / “Tove!” cries in particular) that I stopped caring for the characters despite the final was predictably sentimental. This was simply NOT the same game I had been playing before. No world building, no exploration, no story or character development - just a collection of casual puzzles that could’ve been easily cut out from the game. They either ran out of ideas or out of budget, and at least to me this is a serious matter.

     

PC means personal computer

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Nice review, but are you sure it wasn’t just a case of the cuteness, cozy snowy fairy tale wearing off on you? I find these games where a family member has to rescue a sibling, have such a thin premise you can’t help but get bored after an hour or two. At first her mannerisms are cute and you’re soaking up the surroundings, but you can’t base an entire full-length game around that, especially without dialogue there’s nothing to build on. I’m glad I was able to get a refund and skimmed the rest of the playthrough on youtube.

     
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Luhr28 - 26 August 2020 08:35 PM

Nice review, but are you sure it wasn’t just a case of the cuteness, cozy snowy fairy tale wearing off on you? I find these games where a family member has to rescue a sibling, have such a thin premise you can’t help but get bored after an hour or two.

I didn’t think it was that bad story-wise. There was this “save the forest/forest spirits” subplot, a number of sidequests including a rather long one (dealing with the lake monster), and I generally like exploring a large area and discovering things on my own as long as they are not just empty screens. It still doesn’t look like a 4.5/5 game to me (most of the puzzles are easy and of “collect three items” sort which is a lazy design in my book), but the gameworld is interesting enough. The castle, on the other hand, bored me to death, couldn’t wait for it to end - and then the whole game ended. So yeah, it’s hardly a game of the year to me, Lair of the Clockwork God was a lot more fun.

     

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Finished it too.

I’d agree that the story feels very familiar. Heck, basically from the start I had it pretty much all figured out - not to the precise details, but the overall themes and such I was very sure about and they basically all happened the way I expected them to.
It feels like a very typical fairy-tale-style story, and that, yes, did sometimes annoy me a little bit. But in the end I still found it touching, and the characters along the way are pretty nice.

Visually - the human characters didn’t quite convince me, and some of the scenes got a bit too gray and monotone, but other scenes I feel are visually the most stunning in any adventure game I’ve ever come across (like the wolf spirit lounging atop her stairs). Almost good enough to make it worth playing just for those.

Audio could have been better. I understand voice acting is expensive, but sometimes the repetitiveness got a bit annoying. A better soundtrack could have absolutely elevated the game too.

Now, gameplay ... I like long adventure games, where you really can dig into the game. And this certainly felt quite long, and that’s despite me only having to pause and try around a bit ONCE in the entire game
When “dad” needs to lift the floor to let in light below it took me a bit to realize that there were multiple places where he could do that ... but, I mean, technically it was obvious. He even said so. It was just a bit of braindead moment of me.
At ALL other moments I was always sure what the game wanted me to do OR I had something else to do first, and by the time I got back to the other thing that had cleared itself up.
On one hand, that made the forest part quite addictive “oh, I’ll just quickly do that thing, and, right, now I can do that other thing, so let’s do that quickly, and, hey, that means I can do this thing now…”
On the other hand, it also felt like a glorified fetch quest or something. It was (mostly) just running from A to B and many of the puzzles were almost insultingly easy - for example AT THE END you got that “puzzle” with 3 torches that go in three difference slots. Each slot is marked with 1 to 3 slashes. Each torch is marked with 1 to 3 slashes.
...
Can you even call that a puzzle? ^^ So, yeah, towards the end that got a bit too boring, frankly.

I hope the studio does another game, maybe one a bit more “hardcore” with perhaps a more mature story. They certainly got potential to create something great, I’d say.

 

     

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