As the cold nights draw in and holiday seasons draw in, families will huddle around the fire and share fantastical stories – Roki inspires to be one of those stories.
Spending time with Roki at EGX 2019 and getting to speak with co-director Alex Kanaris-Sotiriou was an absolute delight. Evading the hustle and bustle of the show floor, Roki, by developer Polygon Treehouse, was a home of magic accompanying a world drenched in an utterly gorgeous and desirable sense of charm.
Having an inviting world was one of the key factors when approaching Roki, according to Alex.
“We wanted to make a game that was non-violent, and quite colorful so the art style is consistent throughout the game. Early on, it’s one of the first things that we defined in the project. It was about how we make quite a big fantastical adventure with small imagery. We didn’t really want to compromise on the scale of the story that we wanted to tell.”
Roki’s minimalist style is what makes the environments stand out which ensures an accessible barrier of entry for its adventure game tropes. Alex went on to say that “from a gameplay point of view we were inspired by games like Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle and those classic point-and-click adventure games, but we very much wanted to take that genre and update it for players today.”
As previously mentioned, accessibility is a key factor when it comes to Roki and having the art style to compliment it works wonders. Many games of this genre can become lost in a confusing series of events. For example, using items on objects that would have no necessary means. Roki aims to combat that.
Everything within the world flows at a smooth pace as puzzles felt intuitive and natural. Playing as a protagonist known as Tove, you are able to gather items used to further interact with the environment.
One puzzle involving a locked gate was easily rectified by finding a nearby pin to pry it open. It’s this consistent momentum within the progression that makes Roki so accessible instead of being bogged down by conv
When asked if this was an objective that had in mind, Alex stated that “early on it was a key thing that we wanted to address, to create a frustration-free adventure game. So generally we have a few rules to make sure that all the puzzles follow real-world logic, but then we layer that stuff up.
We also have help systems within the game world, so if someone misses something, we have a way of flashing the intractable objects in the world, so we avoid people really hunting around. We want to ensure that the puzzles really work within the narrative flow, so the puzzles are part of that narrative flow.”
Though my time with Roki was short, it did provide a varied slice of what the world has to offer. Based on Scandinavian folklore, Alex and the team’s ambition “isn’t really the gods, but more the creepy critters from the lakes and forests.