Armikrog is the creation of Pencil Test Studios. Their 2013 Kickstarter had them reach their target funds in no time with over 18,000 backers. With that many people willing to put up money then big things are expected from Armikrog, read on to see if it makes the grade.
Pencil Test are most famous for their animation skills. Their portfolio includes the likes of God of War Cinematics and major fast food chain adverts. With that amount of experience then you know you’re in safe hands. Armikrog uses claymation as it’s main theme. The whole game including the cut scenes are claymation, and when I say the whole game I mean everything!
Earthworm Jim designer Mike Dietz is one of the founders of Pencil Test and he is the inspiration behind the characters and their design.
Armikrog is a point and click adventure game that has you controlling a fallen astronaut called Tommynaut and his blind dog Eekbeek. Both characters are controllable and you will need to use both to solve puzzles and access various areas in the game. There are items to collect that help you proceed and your inventory is kept inside Tommynauts stomach…yep his stomach and no, that’s not the strangest thing in this game.
As you advance to different areas it’s not always clear exactly what it is you need to do. This can lead to a bit of frustration at times. With that said the feeling you get when you solve a puzzle is worth it. As with most puzzlers something you do in one room will help you in another and Armikrog is no exception. It’s not uncommon to find yourself going back to an early area to press a button that wasn’t available when you were there, just to proceed.
The claymation is amazing. There is no denying that an awesome amount of effort has gone into the looks of this game, and it has paid off. I absolutely loved the animation and artwork the game, even if a few times I had to take a second look just to make what I was seeing, actually existed. The sound in the game isn’t that great but the whacky psychedelic music was enough distraction to let that slide.
In terms of controlling Tommynaut and EekBeek, it’s pretty straight forward, just point the cursor, click and they will follow. This type of game-play probably works better on PC but it’s no problem using a controller. The issue is that there are no instructions on which button does what. I barely found out how to change control of characters by pressing every button at once in frustration.
The pathway is not always clear and the objective takes some thinking about at times. I will give you an example, in one room you find a baby under a rug (I told you it was strange), the baby is crying and needs consoling so naturally you need something relaxing for the baby to listen to. You’re presented with a hanging cot toy that plays music, each hanging toy has it’s own section of music and you click on each to hear it. The objective is to complete the series of soft toys so the tune soothes the babies cries and you can move on. What it doesn’t tell you is you can drag and drop the toys to change the sequence manually. Again, an all button press frustrating moment made the solution possible.
Overall Armikrog is a superb, quirky little puzzler that looks brilliant. Even the frustrating moments are followed with a sense of achievement when you crack the puzzle. Speaking of achievements it’s not shy in throwing some gamerscore at you either. I would recommend Armikrog to be one of those games that sits in your library and when all the triple A titles aren’t floating your boat, this one will keep you going. Pencil Test have done a good job and I hope they make more of this type of stuff. Here’s a video of Mike Dietz himself explaining some things about Armikrog.