Personally, I’m not a big fan of the genre, but even in the cases where logic seems to be something that the developers forgot about almost entirely, they still have enough character to see them through, solid writing full of wit that brings the world and its inhabitants to life. Armikrog, sadly, does not. And whilst there are times when the backgrounds can be quite eye catching, there’s simply not enough here to entice gamers to bother finishing one playthrough, let alone multiple ones – all the more remarkable as the game is only four hours or so in length. Believe it or not though, it also feels as though it has been padded out somewhat to reach this diminutive size thanks to a whole lot of backtracking through the bare corridors and utilitarian rooms that comprise Armikrog’s lifeless locales.
When I said that the game progresses in near-silence, that wasn’t just aimed at the lack of a soundtrack, it’s the dialogue too, which, in the sporadic moments when there is any, drifts out of the screen in a seemingly non-diegetic fashion, sure the characters are there, but there’s nothing in the way of facial animation to show that they’re actually conversing. Dialogue amounts to little more than the occasional “thank you”, there are no witty exchanges between the principal characters of Tommynaut and Beak Beak, but this problems extends out beyond being a merely stylistic issue, it worms its way into the core mechanics. As there is so little dialogue, there are no exchanges that relate to any of the conundrums placed before the player, so there are no audio cues whatsoever to assist in their solution, no indications that the player needs to switch characters, nothing. This may have been a means through which to stretch out the game by leaving players scratching their heads for an extra five minutes, but ultimately, all it really amounts to is bad game design. This is coupled with an on-screen cursor that also offers no help whatsoever, it doesn’t change when hovering over an interactive item in the scenery, and as there are neither audio or other visual indicators to assist in identifying what objects can be used. This means that players will likely resort to simply clicking on everything that they can see, and that, again, amounts to little more than laziness on the part of the developer, Pencil Test studios.