Armikrog (Wii U) Review

By Lex Firth 28.06.2017

Review for Armikrog on Wii U

Point-and-click games have gone through a huge overhaul since the days of King's Quest and Monkey Island. Modern reinterpretations of the genre - spearheaded in large part by hugely successful Telltale franchises like The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us - have placed story first, with the puzzles and exploration of classic games playing second fiddle to dramatic set-pieces and quick-time events. That's not necessarily a bad thing - The Walking Dead remains a hugely successful video-game series - but there are undoubtedly some yearning for the olden days. Does the classically-designed Armikrog offer respite for those gamers?

The game shares DNA with creator Doug TenNapel's 1996 point-and-clicker The Neverhood and it's easy to spot. It's a visually striking claymation adventure just like its cult classic spiritual predecessor, with suspiciously similar character design to boot. It would be easy, then, to expect such a game to share The Neverhood's surprisingly good plot, or fellow TenNapel creation Earthworm Jim's trademark humour - unfortunately, this is where Armikrog falls apart.

There's a promising start as the game's premise and main characters are introduced in the form of a musical intro - and as video game songs go, it's uncharacteristically catchy - and it's genuinely fun to watch, assuring players of a vibrant, funny experience to come. Immediately after, however, protagonist Tommynaut and his sidekick BeakBeak are thrown into a desolate landscape with a dull, obtuse sliding block puzzle in their way.

Screenshot for Armikrog on Wii U

The introduction is the most exciting the game's story ever gets - it progresses at a plodding pace, and the stakes never really feel too high, with lifelessly animated and voiced characters that lack any kind of personality. The humour is light on the ground too, with only a few scarce funny moments, and the ending feels rushed and unsatisfying, owing potentially to a small, Kickstarter-funded budget that just doesn't stretch to lengthy claymation cutscenes.

Perhaps an uninteresting story could be forgiven if Armikrog was a genuinely fun game to play, but it feels lacking in this regard too. It's demonstrably old-school in its design: expect plenty of backtracking, note-taking, and repetition here. The streamlining of modern point-and-click adventures shows up this classic take on the genre and makes it feel deathly boring, and the solutions to puzzles (even those right from the off) are far too often incredibly obtuse.

That said, there is definitely an audience out there for Armikrog - after all, it did attract almost a million dollars on Kickstarter back in 2013; it just so happens that it's an incredibly niche one. There will definitely be players out there hankering for a return for the point-and-click games of yesteryear, and while the gameplay definitely expects too much of genre newcomers, more seasoned veterans may find themselves more at home in jotting down symbols on a pen-and-paper, or backtracking through empty, previously-explored areas.

Screenshot for Armikrog on Wii U

Cubed3 Rating

4/10
Rated 4 out of 10

Subpar

Armikrog is often too old-school for its own good, and it's impregnable for those who don't know the genre for all its faults. Those that manage to scratch the surface won't necessarily be rewarded for their efforts, either, with a paper-thin plot and characters that are just too hard to root for. The art style (and opening song) may be enticing, but sadly that's all that this retro-styled point-and-clicker has to offer.

Developer

Pencil Test

Publisher

Versus Evil

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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