Genre:    Adventure 

Developer:   Red Thread Games

Publisher:   Red Thread Games

Released:   May 29, 2019              

Requirements (minimum):


  • OS: Windows 7 or higher (64-bit)
  • Processor: Intel Core i5
  • Memory: 6 GB RAM
  • Graphics: GeForce GTX 670/Radeon HD 7870 with 2 GB VRAM
  • Storage: 10 GB available space
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Sound Card: Yes



By flotsam



Red Thread Games

Ragnar Tornquist gave us The Longest Journey and its follow ups, and now he brings us Draugen, a self-proclaimed “first-person, single-player psychological Fjord Noir mystery, set on the northwestern coast of Norway in 1923”.

The central character is Edward Charles Harden, an American from Hanover, Massachusetts who has travelled to the isolated village of Graavik to search for his missing sister Elizabeth (aka Betty). He is accompanied by Lissie (aka Alice), his gregarious young ward. The lack of a ferry to bring them to the village, requiring Edward (aka Teddy) to row them both in a small boat, is immediately less strange than the apparent lack of people. The villagers must be somewhere, and Edward and Lissie set out up the hill to seek them out.

The tales that follow involve loss, grief, delusion and perhaps hope. Also faith, or its absence; “God is not here”, says a sign on a boarded up church. One tale concerns Edward and his search for Betty, the other what has happened in the village. Both unfold together, and neither is neatly tied up. Which isn’t a criticism, just an observation.

It is probably worth stating early on that this is only just a game. Puzzling is almost non-existent, and what small amount there is is extremely gentle. You find two or three objects, locate one or two pieces of important information, and having them will be enough (e.g. Edward will use the door key once he has it). You will never not know where to go next, or even how to get there, and often you will be following Lissie, who can be found by calling out to her. This generates a visible pulse which you then head towards. Items of interest in the game world will have a small white circle indicating they are indeed interesting. Approaching close enough will generate a word, or perhaps more than one, indicating an available action or perhaps offering a choice of ponderings or response or what to do next.

To me, Draugen was more an interactive story, no less enjoyable but worth being aware of.

Graavik looks a treat, and its well worth pausing to look at, perhaps even to sketch, the vistas that exist. Character modelling was almost as good, and the textures and details in the hands in particular warrant mentioning (if only because I couldn’t help but be impressed each time I saw them in close up).

Edward is well voiced, Lissie a little less so. Her turn of phrase (old bean, old sport, etc.) is also overdone and can be jarring. She is though an effective counterpoint to Edward’s broodiness, either indirectly through positive encouragement or more directly by confronting him.

The mood is, overall, somewhat sombre and at times foreboding. The score does an excellent job of keeping it there, but is not always present, which is another good thing. Not everything has to be musically accompanied, and the sounds of the environment are more than sufficient input for the ears.

The twist mid game had crossed my mind as a possibility, so it wasn’t a surprise, but I was happy with how it unfolded. It had done enough to have me wondering but not so much that I was convinced in advance. Which grounded the development far more than a complete “left turn”. It was reflective of the strength of the writing and the telling of the tales.

Played in the first person, you move around Graavik using the WASD keys and steering with the mouse. You have complete freedom of movement and can look all around and in every plane by panning with the mouse. It's the most natural and real interface and always my favourite. Left click interacts with the world, and a small number of mappable keys perform other actions (e.g. open journal, call for Lissie).

Most of Graavik will be available to you from the start, although two locations only open up later in the game. However there is plenty to admire and explore from the beginning, and while a few hours will likely see you through, you might easily spend another couple going more sedately, unrushed and unhurried.

The game concludes promising more of Edward and Lissie, and I for one will be back.


I played on:

OS: Windows 10, 64 Bit

Processor: Intel i7-6700 4GHz


Video card: AMD Radeon RX 580 8192MB


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