Welcome to Elk Review
In Welcome to Elk you play as Frigg, a young woman from Denmark who takes an apprenticeship at the woodworking shop on Elk. Elk is a tiny island with a single small village somewhere in the near arctic latitudes, and it doesn’t take Frigg long to meet every resident and learn that there is a surprising amount of intrigue for such a small place.
Gameplay consists primarily of talking with the residents of the island and learning about them and their stories. Each chapter in the game takes place over the course of a day on the island and begins with Frigg waking up from a dream and ends when she goes to sleep for the night. The island of Elk is presented in black line drawings on a white background, a style that both depicts the insignificance of the isolated and frozen island and emphasizes what is important in Frigg’s journey because all characters and the few interactive objects in the game appear in color. There are some mini games weaved into the game as a part of the narrative, but they’re all pretty simple from a gameplay perspective. They’re there not so much to make this game more of a game, but to add to the experience.
Welcome to Elk isn’t so much a game as it is an experimental narrative experience. For the most part I’m the type of gamer who prefers more gameplay in his games, but there’s something about Welcome to Elk that intrigued me and I would have played it through to the end even if I wasn’t reviewing the game. Welcome to Elk is almost a thought experiment in meta storytelling, with tales wrapped within tales wrapped within the tale told by the game. The game’s developers took real-life stories of Danes who spent time living in Greenland and wove them together into the story of Elk as experienced by Frigg, which in turn serves as an exploration of metaphysics. If I described it in any more detail, I would ruin the experience in the telling. It will only take you a few hours to get through Welcome to Elk, but you’ll be thinking about it for some time after you’ve finished it. If that sounds intriguing to you, then I encourage you to take the time and experience something that’s not quite what you’d expect from a game.
Final Rating: 85% - Your time on Elk will be short but memorable.