Roki Review: A colourful romp through a Scandinavian adventure

Last year at EGX, I stumbled upon Roki and was instantly enamoured with its charms. In a convention centre where explosive games such as Doom Eternal dominated the floor, Roki managed to transport me out the confines of the event and into a beautiful Scandinavian world.

Since then, I’ve wondered if the experience I had was based purely on several stressful days of covering the event or if Roki simply was as charming as I originally found it. Thankfully, it’s the latter and consistently proves to be one of the best games of 2020.

The narrative is drenched in Scandinavian folklore and filled with tons of emotionally resonating moments. Playing as Tove, you play as the sister to younger sibling Lars, who goes missing after a mysterious monster attacks their home. This event triggers an adventure filled with themes of loss, abandonment and family that shine through the fantasy setting.

Despite the whimsical nature, Roki’s narrative manages to be mature and magical. Its story beats reminded me of classic fantasy movies such as Pan’s Labyrinth and Bridge to Terabithia. On a quest to find her brother, Tove is transported to a world similar to her own, but filled with an assortment of creatures that draw from classic Scandinavian tales.

Helping the inhabitants of this world is necessary for progression and is both not only a tool to learn more about the country's heritage, but pushes Tove and the player through many emotionally charged narrative threads that grow deeper as the game continues.

Roki borrows inspiration from classic point-and-click adventure titles such as The Secret of Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle. As time has progressed the genre has lost its way and often titles become over complex in solutions to puzzles.

While a development team may find a sequence of events towards the answer simple, quite often that process is not translated well to the player. Roki provides a rare exception where for the most part, every element feels natural and dynamic for the player to figure out.

Occasionally, Roki can stumble into the genre trappings and provide roadblocks. Certain puzzles may not pose the easiest solution or even the most intuitive. This can often come at odds with the narrative and provide moments of the two elements clashing together.

Roki Review – Verdict: 4/5

Reviewed on PC.

Roki is undoubtedly one of the most engrossing games of the year. While the gameplay may at times contradict its perfectly nuanced story, it’s often easy to overlook and be swept away on a magical adventure full of mystery, heart and tragedy.

On the surface, Roki seems like a colourful romp through a Scandinavian backed fantasy adventure, but beneath the surface a more darker and layered narrative awaits players.

For fans of point-and-click adventure titles, this is simply a must play and one of the best iterations in years. Everyone else will no doubt find a satisfying and emotionally resonating story that will stick with players for years to come.

Pros:

  • Engaging and emotionally charged story

  • Beautiful visuals

  • Enchanting soundtrack

  • Manages to erase past mistakes of the genre

Cons:

  • Lengthy runtime

  • Padded out with occasionally cumbersome objectives

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