They Will Survive: Troll and I’s Survival Game Elements Draw Players Into Story and Setting
What I love about survival games is the feeling that I’m really inhabiting a threatening world. Playing a powerful hero can be great, but it’s hard to feel like you’re actually in a world when you don’t have to worry about everyday concerns like what’s for dinner or where you’ll spend the night.
There is an almost instinctual appeal to the challenge of conquering harsh landscapes such as those found in The Long Dark and Skyrim survival mods. While playing a super-powerful Dragonborn is great fun, Skyrim is meant to be a treacherous land; throwing that hint of survival-genre gameplay in there makes the world of Tamriel feel that much more real. It means that not only do I have dragons, bandits, and draugr to contend with, but also more relatable threats like cold, hunger, and thirst. My powers might be legendary, but the reminder that I am still subject to the laws of the world increases my immersion and draws me deeper into the game.
Though Troll and I is not a pure survival game—it’s more action-adventure with a twist of RPG elements—it does contain some facets of the genre. As survival games have rocketed to popularity thanks to titles like Minecraft, games like Troll and I are using elements like crafting, wilderness settings, and survival-driven stories to create holistic experiences tied together through the common thread of staying alive against the odds.
Story-Based Survival Themes Emphasize the Importance of Teamwork
Troll and I’s story is one of its most important features. Every mechanic ties back to survival as a theme, as the game follows two characters who desperately need one another to make it through the trials they face.
In the game, you play as both Otto, a young man, and Troll, a mythical creature separated from his family. Pursued by hunters determined to kill Troll for a bounty, they have to work together not only to avoid the hunters, but also the other supernatural creatures that are spilling into the wilderness. It’s as if the whole world is against the characters, and they have only each other to depend on.
Troll and I may not be a survival game in terms of pure mechanics, but it’s definitely a story of survival. Because you take on the roles of both Otto and Troll against insurmountable enemies, surviving is key to the experience; you have to keep the other alive because each character offers something important. Both Otto and Troll have unique abilities, such as Troll’s great strength and Otto’s agility, and both are equally necessary for success. Troll’s brute strength can help clear some barriers, while Otto’s agility allows him to slip between small problems to help his friend. Each character is important to the others’ survival, and it’s the mixture of their talents and knowledge that help them survive the harsh environment. It’s not just about keeping them alive because you like them. You need both characters, making the story not just about survival of the fittest, but rather the survival of the whole.
Troll and I’s Wilderness Setting Emphasizes Survival Themes
A survival game as we normally think of it usually takes place in the wilderness. It makes sense—while a city-based survival game would be an interesting twist, it would likely require a different set of skills. A wilderness setting pits characters against nature, removing the comforts of food, adequate shelter, and hygiene, thereby forcing the characters to learn how to handle daily needs on their own.
In Troll and I, the main characters live in the wilds of Scandinavia. Though they’re not dropped there after living in relative comfort, they do have to adjust to living on their own. Neither is equipped for life outside of their social group, and they must turn to one another for safety and security. They support one another through their skills, dealing with the outside threats of hunters and various supernatural creatures bent on their own survival in a harsh world.
Though Troll and I doesn’t go the full survival route with threats of starvation or dehydration, the wilderness is still packed full of enemies and obstacles. Troll’s strength and Otto’s agility will both be necessary to navigate the landscape, as boulders may block your path or a puzzle may stop you from progressing. And Troll isn’t the only supernatural creature out there; he’s one of many, and not all of them are as trusting—or trustworthy—as he is.
The wilderness setting includes difficult terrain, fearsome predators, and magical obstacles, all of which may be overcome with Otto and Troll’s abilities, provided they are willing to cooperate. While it may not be based directly on survival mechanics like thirst and hunger, the journey in Troll and I is still very much a story of struggle against a hostile world.
Settings like this force characters to grapple not only with the driving force of the story, but the world itself.
Troll and I’s Crafting Elements Channel Survival Games
Though crafting is not necessarily only a mechanic of survival games, it’s often associated with the genre. Giving players the ability to turn the materials they collect throughout games into useful objects, rather than just selling them to vendors, increases immersion. Everything you encounter carries significance, rather than just being so much junk to hand off to a vendor.
Troll and I isn’t a crafting game like Minecraft or The Forest, but crafting does play an important role. The game gives you the ability to take materials you find throughout the world and use them to enhance your weapons or create new ones. Like the crafting in Tomb Raider or similar action-adventure titles, it’s just one facet of the larger game, emphasizing how the characters survive despite their harsh surroundings.
As the game progresses, so too does the difficulty of enemies you encounter. Otto and Troll learn more as they grow, leveling up through skill trees that give you control over how their abilities improve. Improving your weapons reflects the ways that they learn more about their environment and what they need to do to survive, making them more adept at surviving the threats that surround them.
Survival and Friendship Make Up Troll and I’s Core Themes
Troll and I may not be a survival game in terms of genre, but it is absolutely a game about survival. By adopting some of the mechanics and elements that make survival games so much fun to play, Troll and I encompasses the best of both the action-adventure and survival genres, tying together mechanics and story seamlessly in order to craft an experience which will satisfy fans of action and survival.
Troll and I mixes the fun of action-adventure with a deep connection between survival and teamwork, creating a game that’s as engrossing story-wise as it is in gameplay. Preorder your copy now!