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No other game this year has surprised me this year as much as Welcome To Elk by Danish studio Triple Topping. The indie adventure is about the residents of Elk Island, a small community in the most rural of Scandinavia. It’s an anthology of short anecdotes from the island’s folk and can be anywhere from uplifting to downright dark. 

Before I played Welcome to Elk’s demo last month, I had assumed that these stories were fictional, but it turns out that these tales are very much true, and they’re told straight from the lips of those involved. 

You play as Frigg, a young woman who has arrived on Elk to start an apprenticeship under the town’s local carpenter. As she meets the island’s residents—around ten or so people—she begins to learn about the stories of people who currently live on the island and others that happened decades ago that have become part of the island’s communal memory. These tales create a sort-of island mythos, intertwining the lives of people who are still alive with the ghosts of the past.

(Image credit: Triple Topping)

Each day brings a new story involving different members of Elk’s community, like Anders, a friendly—if somewhat strange—chap who has supposedly died twice. There’s also Beth and her young daughter who unashamedly eat squirrels, and Sue, a woman who loves beer so much that her catchphrase is “No beer? I’m outta here.” The community is warm and welcoming, and slowly Frigg begins to settle into the slower paces of island life. 

[Welcome to Elk] walks the very fine line between comedy and tragedy with such balance it’s commendable.

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