Arboria — Trolls, Trees, and Broken English

I would say that it’s like Dark Souls… if I played Dark Souls

In this game, you are a troll warrior tasked with saving the great Father Tree (or whatever they called it) by diving deep into the dungeon caves below, where the corrupted roots of the Father Tree reside, and you must heal them. On the surface (pun intended), this doesn’t seem like much of a premise, but it turns out that Arboria goes deeper than you think (pun intended… again). There is a lot of depth to its gameplay, not just because it happens underground. You have to mind which weapons you pick and which armour suits you best; plan your attacks carefully and anticipate your opponent’s moves. Going around and waving your axe-hand in every direction will only get you killed because of how serious the enemies are. So yeah, it’s a pretty clever game.

It also turns out that the game received positive reviews. I never heard anyone talk about it until now, and much to my surprise, I only discovered this game in the past month, although it came out a while ago. I think the game deserves more attention, and it would be nice if people could also recognise this game. But if nothing else, the broken English in the game definitely adds a bit of chuckle.

Trolls speak funny

What Broken English adds to the game is worldbuilding, which is my favourite kind of element, as some people may or may not know. They speak in such a way to demonstrate their culture of miners and primitive technology that they don’t even fully understand. But what if they aren’t using enough of it?

From what they speak, their Broken English is only limited to misspellings, often replacing “S” with “Z” and putting “Y” everywhere because it’s a vowel now. Their grammar is still very much intact, and I think that the Broken English could’ve been done better. It would be funnier, especially if their grammar was also broken.

It should only be Broken if the grammar is broken

If you don’t feel like tampering with the trolls’ dialect, then an alternative to that would be making the spelling and writing even more twisted and unintelligible than what it already is. So they want to say “Father Tree”, but instead they would say “Faazzaa Chree”. Now you realise how broken it can get.

Finally, there’s the ultimate combination of broken grammar and even broken-er spelling (great… now I’m speaking in Broken English). In this situation, I believe that most players will have no idea what the trolls are saying, giving away no context whatsoever to whatever is happening in the story. So sentences such as “you must save the Father Tree” become “yoo mahst seiv deh Faazaa Chree”. I bet if I didn’t say what that was prior, no one would have known what I wrote there. But even though nobody would’ve known, it would still be funny. Well… I find it funny anyway. Although as much as the Broken English in the game is an issue, for good or for bad, the real problem is that this game isn’t talked about. That or I’m just looking in the wrong places.

Did you hear of this game?

In Conclusion…

As for the Broken English, just add more of it. I love it when games don’t take themselves seriously and treat the world like one giant farce. This way, everything is fun and only inspires people to laugh, which is not something that most games are capable of. The real question is: how do you make Broken English work without it getting in the way of understanding what the hell is happening in the game?

Until I find an answer to that question, I think I found my replacement for Risk of Rain 2… for now, of course… because I’ll come back… eventually.

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