Published by 505 Games, Among the Trolls is a mystery-filled survival set in green Finland: here’s our preview.
Ok, the success of the survival it is undeniable, but it must be admitted that lately the number of announcements related to this genre has become almost worrying. In all likelihood it was the huge amount of sales of Rust and Valheim that was the driving force, as they managed to demonstrate once again that there are large segments of the public still available outside the overwhelming power of sandboxes like Minecraft, yet seeing a new alternative appear every few months is almost worrying.
If nothing else, the high rate of ads has led many developers to try different and experimental paths, with some new entries actually able to overturn the classic formula in ways that are nothing short of tantalizing. And recently it has also been added to this little train 505 Games, who has decided to participate in the clash with a game that is actually anything but aggressive. It’s called Among the Trolls, we saw it presented during an event dedicated to the company’s lineup a few days ago, and it seriously felt like one of the most relaxing and atmospheric titles of this type around. Will it be enough?
Well, this work of the very fresh Forbidden Studios however, it is not without interesting ideas … let’s see what we discovered in thepreview of Among the Trolls.
Hungry, in nature
There Premise of Among the Trolls is slightly more structured than that of many survival that simply throw the player in the middle of the action, however the intent is almost identical: to justify the arrival of your alter ego in the pristine nature and to kick off to his raids in the total absence of resources.
Basically you take on the role of Alex or Anna, returning to Finland from the United States to reconnect with grandparents after the death of their parents. When you arrive at the hut of your Nordic relatives you will find it abandoned and, after a too close encounter with an enormous marine creature, you will end up lost in a mysterious forest controlled by forces that are not really “human”.
The concept, thus told, might seem the usual justification for a survival full of dangers and fights, but in truth the approach of Among the Trolls seems to want to aim completely at the opposite of this philosophy.
The Trolls of the title are in fact present in the campaign – as well as other fairy creatures the various types taken from the Nordic mythology – and yet we have not even glimpsed them during the gameplay scenes show … not to mention that the developers have specified that they are not enemies, but a kind of positive force that controls the game world with which it will often be necessary to collaborate to move forward.
L’exploration seems to be the focus of the experience, with a certain emphasis on runes and the possibility of using resources of various kinds. The main ones are three: Sisu (grit), Vaki (magic) and Lykky (luck) and, in addition to depending on multiple factors, they seem to be quite influential on the game mechanics. It is not clear which magical powers the magic can replenish, but the director has specified that it is in practice of mana and one of the images of the game clearly shows a song capable of making it rain, so it is the case to expect powers capable of mutating directly the natural phenomena during the progression.
The Sisu, for its part, should instead allow to survive difficult situations (bad weather of various kinds that could put the player’s life at risk, for example). The only resource shown marginally during gameplay is luck, which is increased with sacrifices that can be implemented through special runestones. For now we only know that it will be a central feature for interacting with fairy creatures in some well-defined areas, too bad the details still elude us.
If the hut does not come to you, you build the hut
If nothing else, in the few minutes of play shown we were able to observe two things: the general graphic detail and the management of crafting. From a technical point of view Among the Trolls stands out worthily, thanks to a dense and realistic vegetation and a level of detail apparently superior to most of the genre (especially when it comes to objects and interiors). This geometric complexity of the environments, however, seemed to us a fair problem in the positioning of certain tools on the ground (including a simple bonfire), and we would not want it to create problems in the construction phases, apparently they seem anything but basic.
If we pass to the description of the latter, in fact, everything is based on gods three-dimensional projects from which you can start to gradually build anything, from an entire cabin to its most minute decorations. The system gives the impression of being elaborate and intuitive (although it is impossible at the moment to understand how far one can go), but its dependence on fixed projects seems to have been designed precisely to circumvent its limitations, and we would not want it to be now of the quite basic when compared to crafting other similar titles.
It is useless to bandage your head now anyway: what little we have seen seems to be of good workmanship, and the desire of the title to offer a mystical forest to be explored with calm and awareness could actually distinguish it from the crowd. Of course, there are health indicators to keep under control (the classics, hunger, thirst, etc …) and some dangerous beasts corrupted by an unspecified threat, yet the general approach seemed much more thoughtful and calm than usual. Who knows that for many players, tired of survival that is too chaotic and violent, this is not exactly the keystone.
Among the Trolls gives the impression of wanting to stand out from the survival crowd on the market by exploiting a more realistic and fascinating setting than the average, and a slower and more thoughtful approach to the genre, reinforced by Finnish mythology. Little has been seen, and at the moment it is really difficult to draw conclusions, but who knows if the concept does not turn out to be a winner. We will undoubtedly return to the game when we have something more concrete to get our hands on.
- Fascinating setting
- Good technical level and interesting approach to the survival genre
- Crafting may be more limited than expected
- We have seen very little and it is difficult to draw detailed conclusions at the moment
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