The 1996 point-and-click adventure game The Neverhood was a cult classic, so when its creators launched a Kickstarter to fund a spiritual successor some three years ago, they comfortably met their target. Whilst Pencil Test Studios haven’t quite managed to bottle lightning here, the obvious passion project radiates a warmth that makes it unquestionably endearing.
The obvious passion project radiates a warmth that makes it unquestionably endearing.
A look at the wonderful world of Armikrog.
You’ll spend most of your time on Spiro 5 solving a range of puzzles that gate progress, but rest assured that solutions are never outlandish enough to deny being reached naturally through the clues you’re provided. Another LucasArts pitfall is dodged by the inclusion of a cursor that snaps to interactable objects, ensuring you won’t miss anything important and need to undertake an ensuing pixel-hunt.
Whilst some puzzles are reused numerous times, the game’s short runtime meant they never had chance to become stale. Perhaps the most interesting of the bunch involve splitting Beaky from Tom to gain a new perspective. Beaky’s blindness is portrayed through a desaturated and rippling filter that allows him to sense otherwise invisible symbols in the environment - which you might want to draw, unless you like backtracking - and communicate with aliens to gain cryptic insight.
In the few hours it takes to reach the credits, not much honestly happens, but the chilled pacing makes for a refreshingly brave change of pace. It’s clear a sequel is planned, though it’s one of those instances where you can’t be certain it’ll ever actually materialise. We certainly hope that fear is without foundation, as what little there is of Armikrog is incredibly charismatic and likeable. Despite its issues, our beaming grin never faltered - to put it simply, Armikrog made us happy.