Armikrog is a stop motion point and click adventure game by Doug TenNapel in conjunction with Pencil Test Studios. This partnership was behind the classic Earthworm Jim franchise, which is quite evident in the art style. Armikrog was funded through KickStarter and is a sequel to The Neverhood a point and click adventure game released in 1996.
You play as a humanoid alien called Tommynaut (Tommy) who is one of three astronauts sent to find the fuel p-tonium. This fuel is required save his people on planet Ixen from certain death. Tommy and his faithful canine companion Beak-Beak crash land on the planet of Spiro 5, a dangerous world believed to contain a source of valuable p-tonium. The dynamic duo is almost eaten by a monstrous creature only to escape and be trapped in a strange building with no obvious way of escape.
Tommy and Beak-Beak’s motivation quickly changes when they stumble across a baby called P and get sucked into a dangerous game of cat and mouse with Vognaut, a brother astronaut who was lost and presumed dead.
It then falls to Tommy to save P from Vognaut and return her to her parents, wherever they may be. Aside from the opening sequence, the story is told to you by giant squid like aliens scattered throughout the game. These creatures speak in an unknown alien language which adds a sense of mystery and intrigue to the story as you are not entirely sure what happened to P or her family. It is not until you turn on the translator at the end of the game that the full story becomes apparent as the squid things repeat their parts but in English this time.
Armikrog is a solid, but somewhat easy puzzle game.
The surrounding environments and set pieces hold the keys to progression and an observant gamer would find no trouble in breezing through the challenges. One downside is that the same puzzles, and by extension solutions, are repeated throughout the game, as such the difficulty decreases as you progress. It is also quite a short game.
I was able to complete it in about 3 hours, including getting stuck on one puzzle for about an hour.
Each room features objects which Tommy interacts with to open another room or obtain an object. However, some objects and areas can only be used or accessed by Beak-Beak. When Beak-Beak accesses a new area the world becomes black and white and pulsates with strange energies that only Beak-Beak can perceive. This is an intriguing and delightful design choice as it provides a contrast to the standard look and feel of the game.
The music is one of the highlights of the game. The music ebbs and flows, with rich and wonderful tones. Even after a short session of play, I found myself humming these little earworms for hours afterwards.
The wonderful music is complimented by great voice acting which really helps to immerse you in the game. The dialogue is a bit stilted with writing that is solid but somewhat generic. However, the voice actors are somehow able to bring the plot to life and get you hooked on the story.
As a big fan of stop motion and clay animation, I absolutely loved the art style of the game. It is a wonderful blend of clay set pieces and part clay animation, part CGI. The art style is very reminiscent of Earthworm Jim, which is not a surprise as they are made by the same people.
This art style is quite welcome as it adds a sense of familiarity to the game and helps to engross you in the story, not to mention looking fantastic. The cut scenes are the best part of the game, as the art style and animation combine to produce wonderful little nuggets of entertainment. I had a little thrill of excitement every time there was a cut scene and a little disappointed every time they ended.
The colour pallet is full of rich earthy colours, which really bring the world to life. Lots of shades of brown scatter the set pieces enhancing the perception of a foreign hostile environment. The use of varying shades of brown also serves to enhance other colours, drawing the eye to objects not necessarily readily apparent and conveying a real sense of importance on otherwise mundane objects.
Armikrog is just like every other puzzle game, in the sense that it is not as fun the second time around as you already know the solutions to the puzzles. However, I still found myself constantly replaying the game if only to watch the cut scenes, or listen to that wonderful music again.
I found the second, third and even fourth play though to be just as enjoyable as the first as I was finding extra information and nuances in the story with every additional play through.
Now released on console, the funky styled claymation game has retained it’s point and click and we see on PC (and with it’s predecessor; The Neverhood). Armikrog is not a challenging game and neither is it long, however, these downsides are made up for in the art style, and music. It is definitely worth a play if only to listen to the music.
It is a good point and click game for both fans and non-fans of the genre and fans of The Neverhood, Skullmonkeys (PS One) and Earthworm Jim alike, but this title also has something for everyone and does not discourage new players with insane difficulty spikes, definitely worth a play.