Our examiner, Andy Robertson, first checked Welcome to Elk 3 years ago. It was re-examined by Jo Robertson and updated 20 months ago.
You play as Frigg, a young carpenter who moves to a small town for an apprenticeship. She starts discovering tragic stories about the place. As the rating suggests these aren't fairy tales for children. The stories reflect real life drama and face the fact that love and death go hand in hand. "Life may seem hard sometimes, but it is always followed by laughter."
"Sometimes someone tells you a story," say the game makers, "a story so good, crazy or weird that it’s hard to believe it actually happened." As you play you meet and talk to different characters. You journey with them through odd drinking rituals and unique ways of coping with what life throws at them. Along the way you partake in playful mini games linked to each story: pouring a beer as a barkeeper, decorating balloons to help a good friend remember what their parents look like, karaoke down memory lane or transporting a frozen body.
Perhaps the most unusual part of the game is that you don't only play through the stories but meet the storytellers who inspired them. You watch a video clip of someone describing how the story related to them.
It's a strange combination of child-like visuals, complex and messy characters and often dark and disturbing occurrences. But the result is a unique way not only to honour and value stories but to consider how the stories of our lives affect us, and how sharing and remembering them can be an important part of living.
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