Armikrog is a stop-motion point and click adventure game that is also a spiritual successor to cult clay animated point and click game The Neverhood. Not only is it the spiritual successor but it also features many of the original team that worked on it. This includes Doug TenNapel, the man that created The Neverhood and Earthworm Jim.

It’s important to mention all of this to put in to context what Armikrog is. It is something with history made by a team that includes some extremely talented people. That’s why it’s such a shame how much it falls short.

As you start the game you are met with an opening animation that looks lovely. The cutscenes in Armikrog show off some really nice animating skills and the vocal talent does a good job. Considering the vocal talent includes Napoleon Dynamite’s Jon Heder and Animaniacs Rob Paulsen this shouldn’t be a surprise.

The problem is there aren’t really that many cutscenes throughout the game that utilise the voice talent. For a game billed as a “comedy” the lack of any real rapport between characters seems odd. It’s something that point and click games have had for years, especially those with a comedy focus. This could be eased if there was general conversation struck up as you explored.

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Unfortunately you spend large amounts of time in silence despite having a companion throughout the game. The lead character, Tommynaut, and his pet, Beak-Beak, spend their time crash landed on planet Spiro 5 trying to find a way out of the fortress Armikrog. Rather than making wise cracks or giving each other hints as you’d expect of a buddy dynamic in a point and click game there is next to nothing. It’s not even made particularly clear that you can control Beak-Beak and that he is key to solving some puzzles. In some cases he’s also the only one that can press a button, despite Tommynaut having clear access to said button.

This lack of explaining is an issue highlighted by the fact that some of the puzzles require going places and paying attention in places most gamers wouldn’t think twice of. All it would take is a simple line of dialogue after a certain amount of time making no progress but there’s nothing. It’s a level of inaccessibility that makes the game difficult to recommend for anyone but the most old school of point and click fans.

For the puzzles that aren’t environmental observation based, most of them take so long to reach a fail or succeed state that it quickly turns from brain teasing to boring. That is never a good thing to happen in a game. For the few puzzles that do work, though, they’re quite fun. However, despite the reasonably short nature of the game there is a fair bit of puzzle recycling which may annoy some.

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It seems that the determination of Armikrog to be an old school throwback to point and click games failed to learn from newer takes on the genre. Armikrog would’ve felt like a dated experience in the late 90s let alone 2016. The controls on PlayStation 4 are simple enough to get to grips with and the smart cursor helps to highlight things to click on. This is quite handy as several items are easy to miss due to the colour scheme of them and their placement on the screen.

On PC Armikrog would be a slightly better experience. It struggles to make the transition to controller well and the subtitles are still sized for a PC monitor rather than a television screen. It’s hard to really pinpoint what would make Armikrog a better game as there’s so many issues with it. There is a definite charm to it though, thanks to the visuals and audio that make it a pleasant experience when you’re not stuck on a tedious puzzle. It’s just a shame that the game feels so dated and the tedious puzzles are far too frequent.

You can check out my let’s play video of the game below.



Author

Brett Claxton

I like video games. That's why I write about them. I've played them for years and in that time I've found a love for creepy horrors, indie darlings and the oddities that come out of Japan. Although my main purpose on the site is to write up news and reviews I'm also one of the main Let's Play video creators of the team (or, as I call them, Brett's Play videos). You can check them out here: https://www.youtube.com/user/Bretteh2