Monday 12 October 2015

Armikrog Review (PC)

Funded via Kickstarter and much delayed, the spiritual successor to the Neverhood and Skull Monkeys has now finally made it’s on the PC. Whether it’s actually in a state to have been released at this stage is another thing entirely.

It all starts out very well with a beautiful claymation style that is simply breath taking. It looks gorgeous and our two protagonists Tommynaught and his pet talking dog thing Beak-Beak are likable and voiced with humour and a lot of character. After an impressive cut scene where you are chased by a fluffy monster thing the game begins properly and quickly it begin to unravel.

The game is a point and click adventure but lacks most of what we have come to expect from the genre. The first major issue is the mouse cursor. Normally the cursor in these sorts of games changes in some way to indicate that you can look or interact with things. Not here, it just stays like a mouse cursor with no feedback given to the player about what you can do.

This in itself wouldn’t necessarily be a problem but clicking on things results in nothing at all. Yes, no description of the object, no text, nothing. You have absolutely no feedback at all with regards to what is an interactable object and what isn’t. If you can pick up an object you walk over and grab it but no indication is given to what you have actually got and you can’t access an inventory either. There’s no way of telling what you are carrying around or examining it. If you happen to click on the thing the object goes with you will automatically take it out and use it.

It’s a baffling decision and must have been brought about through time and budget issues. There is clearly no way it could have been originally envisaged like this. We endeavoured to adventure on hoping we would get used to the game and for a few rooms it did seem to improve. We managed to get some fluffy thing moved to act as a ladder and Beak-Beak went through a little hole which sent everything all trippy but sadly, the fun didn’t last long.

Time and time again we came up against irritating puzzles which required panels to be moved, or thing to be slid or turned. The sort of puzzles that turn up about once a game in other point and click adventures and end up being the bit everyone hates. The puzzles arrive with no explanation as how to complete them and no context as to how they relate to anything. It makes the game incredibly disjointed and frustrating and after even an hour we were tiring very quickly of it.

Even the options menu is poor with the ability to save, load and change the sound level. That’s it. There’s also very little confirmation that you’ve actually saved your game. When you return to the game you can’t continue from the main menu screen either and have to go into the options menu again to load. 

The fact it grew tiresome so quickly despite looking so amazing is a real shame. It is clear that a lot of care and attention has gone into the look of the game and it’s one of the most unique aesthetics we’ve ever seen. But you can’t hide the fact the rest of it is frustrating, seemingly unfinished and even a bit broken in places. Though patches have been put in place we still found some issues with things not working how and when they should.

Overall, it’s a harsh thing to say but this reminded us of Rise of Robots. It’s all style over substance and beyond that it is does its very best to annoy and irritate the player. It may well be a case of over ambition but in its current state we can’t recommend Armikrog to anyone. It’s just not up to the standard we expect of point and click adventures.

Overall 3/10

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