Personally, I haven’t heard of many games using claymation. When I saw Armikrog on the Xbox Store, I instantly wanted to try it out. I didn’t realize exactly what the game was but was pleasantly surprised… at first. To be blunt, Armikrog simply cannot keep up the things I enjoyed when I first booted up the game. Right from the beginning, Armikrog pulls players in with a goofy and high energy animation. This helps define what the main characters’ relationship is like and how dangerous the world around them truly is.
After this animation players find themselves in the first room of the game. I can’t decide if the fact that there isn’t any kind of tutorial here fits the game (so it’s ok) or is just obnoxious. This is because the basic premise of the game is simple enough while the more complex controls can be very hard to learn without help. Not only does the game not explain how to switch characters at this point but, for me, this was the last point in the game where I laughed. With it’s goofy claymation style, I assumed there would be more truly funny moments.
Don’t get me wrong, there were moments that could have been far funnier, but there was always something that ruined it for me. Whether it be the timing/delivery or just how frustrated I was from the previous puzzle. Some may argue that it’s my fault for not having more patience, but these puzzles simply became annoying and didn’t leave me with any sense of victory or relief. I dislike saying that so many things don’t work in this game because it looks so cool and wonderful. The problem is simply that nothing in the game holds a candle to the care and beauty put into the looks of the game.
One of the largest shortcomings of Armikrog has to be the puzzles and how often players are forced to take one of three actions. The first most players will try would be to simply memorize the clues they find throughout this short game. This would work if there wasnt’ so many odd puzzles or if they were spaced apart slightly better (e.g. The solution to the final puzzle can be found in one of the first rooms). The second and most common option will be to backtrack, which is what I did a lot of. Backtracking in Armikrog would be 100% better if getting around the world didn’t feel like such a chore (due to controls not optimized for consoles), or if Tommynaut (our protagonist) could run in any capacity. The final option would be to write down any clue the player comes across. The only issues I had with this was that some puzzles don’t benefit from this tactic and that the main time I tried it out, the clay style made it hard to determine a color which caused me to get the puzzle wrong for a while.
Like I said in the third option, some puzzles cannot be solved without simply figuring them out by yourself. Most of these aren’t too bad, but there is one in particular that feels completely unfair as the solution for the puzzle is the image of a character you’ve only seen one time. This is simply unacceptable and left a sour taste in my mouth. All of these problems are made worse when players notice how ‘meh’ the songs in background are.
I cannot stress it enough, this game is functional, playable, and looks absolutely wonderful. With all that said, there isn’t much else to this game and unless you’d like to play the game to observe the awesome claymation (or to net a fairly easy 1000 gamerscore), then there’s not much here for you. I truly wish I could praise the game more, but I simply felt that after my four-hour playthrough was just a slog simply to be able to aptly review the full game.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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