Looks like my Christmas break is over.
Another successful kickstarter and for that I thank the gaming gods. I have a couple of pledges that are several years old and there is a strong chance that I’ll never see the reward (despite the constant excuses from the “kickstartees”).
Armikrog is the kickstarted creation of Pencil Test Studios, an animation studio who were responsible for creating the Neverhood and Earthworm Jim, a couple of video games where the latter turned into a TV series. Pencil Test Studios seem to specialise in two things: Claymation and strangeness, and Armikrog seems to have copious amounts of both.
You play a space adventurer named Tommynaut who crash lands on an unknown planet with his dog-like, colourblind companion, Beak-Beak. You discover that you’ve crashed just outside a strange fortress named Armikrog.
Inside the fortress, you embark on a point and click, puzzle adventure to discover a way to get off the planet and the myseries of Armikrog. Armikrog uses claymation with some small cartoon animations thrown in there. It’s important to note that the claymation has an incredibly raw look to it, which I assume is intentional, like old-school Wallace & Gromit or The Trap Door.
Unlike most point and click adventures, there’s no real inventory management as most items are more or less given to you upon completion of the puzzles, which are the meat of the adventure. And even better, they are all rather intuitive logic puzzles. When you put your mind to it, they are all possible to complete without trawling through google for walkthroughs.
The story itself is simple in construct and while you have to back-track every now and then, the back-trackings flows naturally and often requires to approach the same place from a different route.
The characters lack a bit of personality, and as such, any real motivations behind their actions and the events that take place. But I didn’t find this too disconcerting as the main focus is the puzzles.
My only real criticism for the game is its steep price for a max of two hours (give or take) of gameplay. Even this criticism I’m reserved in making as I’m aware of the amount of time and effort that goes into making claymation films (I’ve watched those Wallace and Gromit behind-the-scenes films). Then again, this was a kickstarter with close to a million dollars invested into it.
Despite all this, still worth the play and an examplery point and click adventure.
Armikrog is the spiritual successor to the Neverhood, so don’t expect anything ground-breaking besides a wacky style rarely seen since the 90s.
To put it simply, Armikrog is an excellent, puzzle-based point and click adventure which is easy to play, but no so easy as to not be challenging. While it lacks a little depth, this shouldn’t be a hindrance as you play.
Worth playing, even if you never played Neverhood, but maybe wait for a sale.
|Armikrog is currently available on Steam, Greenman Gaming and Direct2Drive for $24.99 USD, GOG and uPlay for $28.99 AUD, the Wii U and PS4 (I think)
| The next review in 3 weeks will be on Life is Strange