When I first saw Röki I was intrigued. While I was never a huge fan of point and click adventure games when I was a kid, the genre has really grew on me in recent years especially since the indie video game market has developed some really interesting games for the genre. What intrigued me about Röki is that it utilized a theme that I hadn’t really seen used all that much in point and click games, Scandinavian folklore. I found this intriguing because while it seemed to share things in common with your typical fantasy game, it felt unique as well. I was intrigued to see what Röki would do with the point and click genre. Röki is a compelling and enjoyable point and click adventure game through Scandinavian folklore that can sometimes be a little easy, but it is an adventure that you will not want to miss.
We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank Polygon Treehouse, United Label, and CI Games for the review copy of Röki used for this review. Other than receiving a free copy of the game to review, we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation for this review. Receiving the review copy for free had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.
In Röki you play as Tove. Tove has been lost in life after the death of her mother a few years earlier. Her father has mostly checked out forcing Tove to take care of her younger brother. One night a creature arrives at their home and kidnaps her brother. In her pursuit of the creature Tove is transported to a magical world where old Nordic folklore stories are real. An evil force is spreading through the forest and Tove is the only one who can awaken the guardians to stop the spread and save her brother.
Röki shares a lot in common with your typical point and click adventure game. Those familiar with the genre should already have a good idea of what to expect. While Röki is an adventure game it focuses mostly on puzzle solving as there really is no combat in the game. The basic gameplay revolves around exploring the world and finding objects to pick up and interact with. You need to use your observation and reasoning skills along with the objects you pick up in order to solve the puzzles that block your path forward.
If you have any familiarity with point and click games you should already have a pretty good idea of whether you will like Röki. The gameplay doesn’t drastically differ from any other point and click game as it doesn’t really have any mechanics that I haven’t seen in other games from the genre. This shouldn’t really be seen as a negative as most games in the point and click genre don’t drastically change the formula. What differentiates point and click games is how they utilize those mechanics. Röki does a good job focusing on the best elements of the genre. The controls work really well for the game especially in adapting the point and click mechanics so they work well with a controller.
The thing that makes or breaks most point and click games is the game’s puzzles as they are what all of the gameplay is built around. For the most part I thought Röki’s puzzle design is quite good. Most of the puzzles involve combining various objects together or figuring out how to use objects with the environment. This is pretty typical of the genre. I think the puzzles work because of how the locations are quite interconnected. When you solve the puzzles you feel a sense of accomplishment as the puzzles generally make sense unlike some of the abstract puzzles that the point and click genre is known for. As you progress in the game the puzzles become more interesting as they introduce some new mechanics that keep the puzzles fresh. I won’t get into specifics to avoid spoilers, but the game does a good job changing up the puzzle design especially in the third act which keeps things interesting.
Arguably the only problem that I had with the puzzles is the fact that they are on the easy side in my opinion. Now I have played a lot of point and click puzzle games recently so that probably helped with figuring out these type puzzles. Therefore I can see some players’ experiences differing from mine. I wouldn’t say that I found any of the puzzles in the game to be particularly challenging though. On the positive side this means that the game doesn’t rely on the puzzles from this genre that rarely make any sense. The puzzles make logical sense. How you solve each puzzle is usually pretty obvious though. The most challenging aspects of the puzzles come from finding what you can interact with. The game has a button that highlights what you can interact with, but some items are still somewhat hard to see. Otherwise you can breeze through many of the puzzles since as soon as you find most items you will already have a really good idea about how you are supposed to use them. The easier difficulty doesn’t ruin the game as it makes it more accessible to people that don’t play a lot of games from the genre and it makes the game more relaxing. If you want a real challenge though you will probably be a little disappointed.
The only other issue that I have with Röki’s gameplay is the fact that it relies on quite a bit of backtracking. When you find an object it rarely can be used in the same location that you found it. Instead it usually will be used in a location at least a couple of screens away. This is pretty typical of the genre as it would be really obvious what you should do with an object if you used it in the same area that you picked it up. Due to this though the game involves regularly having to backtrack to a previous location to use an object that you just discovered. On the positive side the game includes a useful map that shows how the different locations are connected. The game also has a sort of fast travel mechanic with portals located in every couple locations which all connect to a central area. This makes traveling between areas pretty quick. There is still a decent amount of running around though as you try to run to the next location that you need to visit. This doesn’t hurt the game all that much, but it can be a little frustrating at times.
Other than the puzzle design the other thing that drives most point and click games are their stories. Röki does a good job in this area. I can see the story not appealing to everyone, but I think it is quite good. Without getting into too many details to avoid spoilers the story is about loss as Tove deals with the loss of her mother and her brother going missing. This is mixed with a really interesting take on your typical fantasy story. I will admit that I am not too familiar with Scandinavian folklore, but I found this element of the story to be really interesting. Some of the fantasy creatures are familiar while others are quite different than anything I have heard of. While the story has its whimsical moments, I was a little surprised as the story felt deeper that I was expecting. The game does a really good job creating an interesting world that you want to explore along with some compelling characters.
Supporting the Röki’s overall story is its graphical style. I would say that the game’s graphical style feels like a mixture of realistic and cartoony elements. I think the game’s style works really well for the game. The game’s graphics are really good for an indie game. The character designs and worlds show a lot of character. I was genuinely surprised by the size and number of different environments that you explore throughout the game. I think most people will probably be impressed by the game’s overall style.
As for the game’s length I would say that Röki is long enough. I haven’t quite finished the game yet, but I would say that I am about halfway through the third and final chapter of the game. At this point I have played the game for around seven to eight hours. Unless the end of the game is considerably more difficult I would guess the rest of the game will take about an hour or two more. Therefore I would guess most players could finish the game within 9-10 hours. If you struggle with some of the puzzles the game may take a little longer. I could see the game taking a little less time if you are really good at spotting what you can interact with and can find a way to reduce the amount of backtracking as those two things added a decent amount of time to the game.
In a lot of ways Röki is what you would typically expect out of the point and click genre. The gameplay is basically the same as every other game from the genre as it mostly revolves around exploring and utilizing items to solve the puzzles that stand in your way. Röki may not make any significant changes to the point and click genre, but it didn’t really need to. The game succeeds because it takes what people enjoy about the genre and emphasizes those elements. In particular the puzzle design is quite good as the puzzles are varied and well designed. I would say that they are a little on the easy side though and they do rely on quite a bit of backtracking at times. In addition to the fun puzzles the game’s story and atmosphere are quite good. The game creates a really interesting world that you will want to explore.
Basically my recommendation comes down to your feelings about point and click games and the game’s premise. If you don’t like point and click games or aren’t all that interested in the game’s premise, Röki may not be for you. People who enjoy point and click games and think the premise sounds interesting though should really enjoy Röki and should pick it up.