Pencil Test Studios/Versus Evil
Having failed miserably at making automobiles without cheating on
emissions tests, Volkswagen have shifted their focus to games.
Well, Armikrog does sound like it could be a
German-built ute. Instead it’s something infinitely more exciting –
a throwback to the golden era of point and click adventures. Think
LucasArts stuff like the Monkey Island series, and anything
by Sierra that had ‘Quest’ as the second word in its title.
We’ve arrived at the point of the review where we should provide
some story exposition. To this end, you variously flip between space
explorer Tommynaut, and his faithful colour-blind alien dog
Beak-Beak. In your quest (there’s that word again) for fuel for your
planet, you’ve crash-landed on Spiro 5 and become trapped inside a
humongo-fortress that just so happens to bear the title of the game.
Within the walls of this stronghold you’re challenged by puzzles
both fair and foul in order to progress and hopefully get the fuck
out of there with the pointing and the clicking and the n-hey-hey!
It’s all done in an utterly
gorgeous Claymation style, which isn’t particularly surprising as
those peeps with Aardman aspirations behind The Neverhood
and platformer fave Earthworm Jim are involved. So,
Armikrog looks the part. It also sounds it, with numerous
engaging, catchy and otherwise non-crappy musical accompaniments.
If only as much love had been lavished upon the actual game.
It’s quite short, and this is despite the vast amount of schlepping
back over already covered ground to change this button or remember
that bizarre-o symbol.
In much the same way that Tommynaut has NFI what to
do, so do you initially, as it’s all trial and error. Some will like
this, but some game functions – like being able to switch control to
Beak-Beak - should be signposted.
To quote Devo, it’s a
beautiful world – but the cynicism in that song is relevant to
Armikrog, for sadly the gameplay doesn’t match the sound and