Biographical adventure Welcome to Elk shares its unusual tales this month

(Image credit: Triple Topping)

Island exploration game Welcome to Elk is heading to PC on September 17, and if you've not heard of it before, it's definitely one to watch. The felt-tip pen art might make it seem whimsical, but it's a game that tells the stories of real people, and some of them are surprisingly dark. 

You wouldn't know this from the start of the fifteen-minute demo, which is available for free over on Steam. It begins with a surreal dream-sequence of the main character Frigg singing karaoke with a talking llama wearing a pirate hat. Totally normal by dream standards. 

Welcome to Elk is full of mini-games, and in this sequence I can press W, A, S, and D to make Frigg sing along. It's fun, and a little kooky. After waking up and exploring the island, Frigg skips to meet a friend and they go to the pub together where I take part in another mini-game. I have to pour the perfect pint, tilting the glass at just the right angle to get the perfect amount of foam. I do terribly, but it's all good! This is the direction I thought Welcome to Elk was going, a fun adventure with mini-games with a streak of silliness. But suddenly it all changes.

(Image credit: Triple Topping)

 After chatting casually with a character about how her family unashamedly eats squirrels, I'm transported to a distressing memory and caught completely off-guard. The screenshot above gives you an idea about what happens, but I don't want to spoil anything. The scene ends and a black and white video clip of a man starts playing and he recounts a real-life tragic event that involves the characters in the game—it's pretty harrowing. 

(Image credit: Triple Topping)

Welcome to Elk looks like it's filled with these accounts, and developer Triple Topping says that through these video clips you'll meet the living people who inspired the studio to make the game. I'm definitely excited to play more, even if I've got a bit more trepidation about exploring the island. 

Rachel Watts

Rachel had been bouncing around different gaming websites as a freelancer and staff writer for three years before settling at PC Gamer back in 2019. She mainly writes reviews, previews, and features, but on rare occasions will switch it up with news and guides. When she's not taking hundreds of screenshots of the latest indie darling, you can find her nurturing her parsnip empire in Stardew Valley and planning an axolotl uprising in Minecraft. She loves 'stop and smell the roses' games—her proudest gaming moment being the one time she kept her virtual potted plants alive for over a year.