Troll and I has an interesting story. A young development team has been chipping away at jobs to pay the bills for years working on other people’s titles as they dream of making their own IP. Over the years while paying those bills they create the game Troll and I, a third person adventure game to compete with the massive triple A titles, and it’s not a bad effort.
Troll and I tells the story of a young Scandinavian boy, Otto, who while hunting boar has his village burned down. After trying to help there he must escape and finds himself in the wilderness where he comes upon a troll. After a few moments of wariness, he realises that the Troll isn’t out to hurt him. So together they adventure and must fight rat men from light cracks in the ground, while the troll is hunted by English hunters sent on behalf of a very rich man in England. The story itself is interesting, unique, well-crafted and as it goes on it gets even better.
The gameplay is based around Troll and Otto. The player can switch between the two easily and when in the body of one can give rudimentary commands to the other, such as follow or wait. This gameplay element and its implementation making it very simple to use is fun. It also makes puzzles considerably cleverer, as you have Troll and Otto in different rooms working together to beat the puzzle. Interestingly this can also be done in co-op with one controlling Otto and one controlling Troll, which is awesome.
A small indie team building a solid third person action game is to be commended and the team size making Troll and I make it that much more impressive, it’s unfortunately competing with some pretty big games. The reality is it’s competing with some polished titles such as Uncharted and Tomb Raider so unfortunately it struggles with that lack of polish.
Notably the faces in the game look bad which makes some important scenes look terrible, for example when Otto dies and the Troll shows his sadness it ended up being funny. This isn’t to say the whole game is ugly, a lot of the scenery looks great, but if they had taken a more unique art style the lack of polish here wouldn’t be so jarring. This is layered with average voice acting, some weird sound effects and missing ones, such as when Otto dies the Troll looks like it’s screaming, but there was never a sound.
These aren’t the only areas the games fall short, aside from some very noticeable frame rate drops throughout, there were also many quirky bugs where Otto and Troll didn’t act exactly as expected. When fighting with Troll he regularly wouldn’t crush tiny enemies the way he should, or swings that should hit would miss regularly.
There were other issues where Otto wouldn’t respond as expected by say jumping to the ladder in front of him, but opted to do a diving roll and after three or four rolls would start climbing,alongside many quirks like that. Most of the quirks weren’t game breaking, but regular enough and annoying enough to be notable.
The lack of a jump button is also a major flaw. Otto jumps when presented with an object he can jump to, or when you need to jump you sprint at a ledge and he jumps. The latter is the real issue where Otto would be sprinting at gaps which weren’t designed to be jumped and instead of trying to jump he would fall to his death. This happened more than a few times. If the game stopped him trying to jump, or he tried to jump and missed, it would be infinity less frustrating.
The flaws of Troll and I can be hard to overlook because it’s in a genre that releases games with so much polish which is missing here. With a worthwhile story, as well as one heck of a development story, it is worth your time if you are willing to overlook or put up with its flaws.
Released: March 2017
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC (Windows 7 or Higher)
Genre: Action, Adventure
Developer: Maximum Games
Publisher: Maximum Games</p