'Troll and I' Review: A Scandinavian Myth with a Side of Bugs

From Spiral House, developers of Little Big Planet, comes Troll and I. A story driven action adventure game with RPG elements currently available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Steam and to be released on Nintendo Switch later this spring. Troll and I is the story of Otto and his unlikely companion, each having their own unique abilities and weaknesses. Both can be controlled by a single player or you can jump into split screen co-op to adventure with a buddy.

Borrowing from games like Uncharted with its climbing puzzles to Zelda: Breath of the Wild and its crafting Troll and I provides something for gamers of all types. That said it's not all roses for Sprial House as the game has been released with several bugs and other problems.

Troll and I is set in post-World War II Scandinavia. As the world recovers from war a rich businessman catches wind of a troll and sends hunters to capture this walking myth, dead or alive. These hunters inadvertently destroy Otto's home in their attempts to capture the elusive troll. In the ensuing chaos he runs right into the very thing the hunters are searching for, Troll. As Otto soon learns Troll has no intention of harming him and the two form a tentative bond around their shared loss of home. Despite being unable to communicate, Otto and Troll grow ever closer as the story unfolds. Through his actions and body language Troll makes it clear how he feels. This partnership is important throughout the game as both have unique abilities to be leveraged when needed. Otto excels at quick and stealthy attacks, using weapons, and crafting items to assist with combat and exploration. While Troll uses his brute strength to smash through groups of enemies with ease, by either sweeping them aside with a swing attack or throwing boulders. True to Scandinavian myth he is also able to use magic to heal, has a ferocious roar capable of stunning enemies and can even go invisible. Along the way you will find many puzzles requiring Otto's small frame or Troll's muscle to see you through often requiring switching between the two.

Despite what it has going for it, Troll and I is not without its problems. Initially you will notice the graphics are decidedly last-gen, this game would not have looked out of place on the Xbox 360 or PS3. Character models and cut scenes look dated but don't detract from the game overall. Unfortunately, the more glaring problems are technical bugs and a wonky camera. Many have reported trouble with enemies that can't be killed, getting stuck in terrain features and even full crashes. Perhaps the most annoying of these though is a bug that causes the camera to shake about uncontrollably for no reason. Further, the camera is downright frustrating. Often while solving puzzles or battling enemies in tight spaces you will find you are unable to find the proper view. Worse, you may not see much more than Troll's massive backside. As you can imagine this is less than ideal during combat, leaving you to guess what is happening while blindly button mashing.

The couch co-op offering is refreshing for a new release and the characters do not disappoint However, the game lacks polish and with myriad bugs it may feel like a chore to complete. An ambitious effort by Spiral House to redefine storytelling and companionship in games, Troll and I ultimately falls flat due to technical problems. At $49.99 it may be best to wait for a sale on this one, or at least a patch.

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