Wot I Think: Armikrog

As we warned you earlier today, Armikrog [official site] is in no state to be on sale. Riddled with bugs, some game-breaking, and presented in an unfinished way, this needs a fair amount more work before you should think about buying it. However, what if you already did as one of the 18,000 backers who gave it a million dollars on Kickstarter? (I was not amongst their number.) Well, here’s wot I think.

Sometimes second impressions can really count.

Armikrog opens so marvellously. After a long, fun cartoon title sequence with accompanying song, there’s a completely wonderful stop-motion animated sequence in which hero Tommynaut and his dog-like friend Beaky, escape the maw of a giant beast. The animation is stunning, and brilliantly imaginative – the beast’s long, sentient tongue on a winch in its mouth is especially great. It’s such a welcome.

And then the game proper starts and wow, the quality drops from sky-high to flapping on the ground. A bare room, a barren standard Windows cursor arrow, no mouse-over descriptions or highlighting for interactive objects, and voice recording that sounds like it was done in a barrel in a cave at the bottom of the sea. Jump to Options to see if there’s anything you can improve, and it only offers you subtitles. Literally no other options. (Oh, but you know what is in Options? Save/Load. Don’t find it there and assume the game is saving your progress? Ha ha! No.) Ho boy – after months of repeated delays, this still looks like a half-finished game.

Nothing can be clicked on for a description, nor an indication whether it’s going to be interactive or just background decoration. Controls are seemingly on the mouse only, but there’s no explanation of what does what, and despite having picked up an object, there’s no clue how to access the inventory. I can control Tommynaut or Beak-Beak, but neither speaks nor reacts to anything. In one instance, it turned out attempting to access the inventory was my mistake. I didn’t need to, as simply clicking on the broken switch – which was previously inert, offering neither description or failure message when I clicked on it initially – was enough to make use of the lever I’d collected. Tommynaut automatically selects it and uses it for himself. Wow – an adventure game where I don’t even get to select the inventory objects.

So, first “puzzle” solved, I’m scrolled sideways into the next room, and once again the exquisite stop-motion animation loops for the characters are delightful. There’s this gorgeous fuzzy box-like creature, and I can shove him to the left by clicking on him. There’s a statue on the wall that comes to life and mutters nonsensical wisdom. Again, it looks so lovely. And then the mess of the game kicks in once more.

And so it repeats, every room a void of interactivity, items that will be vital for progress ignored when clicked on too soon. And then stuff started getting weird. Every time I clicked on something that apparently needed an item to work, I magically already had that item before I’d found it. This meant the game started unlocking in the wrong order, until eventually I hit a complete dead end when a vital cutscene wouldn’t trigger. I had to start the whole damn thing again.

Able to play the game in the correct order this time, I really began to encounter how terribly it’s put together. Even if the litany of atrocious bugs were fixed, this would still be gibberish. Puzzles are solvable, but tiresome. A particularly hateful (and thrice repeated) puzzle requires that you somehow discern the correct order for a song by compiling objects on a baby’s mobile, but the sound is so disjointed they don’t naturally flow when you do. Most others are just the dreary block shoving or pattern arranging crap that haunt half-arsed adventures like a soggy ghost. And then came the moment that’s made me genuinely angry, rather than just bored.

To progress after a certain point, you need to fluke clicking the right thing in the right place at the right time with the right character, with literally nothing – NOTHING – to indicate it’s a thing you need to do. I’ll try to convey how unlikely it is. You play as the dog-thing by clicking on him (a thing you’ll do a lot by mistake thanks to the god-awful cursor), as he can disappear up small holes. Things go weird when he does, all wobbly and black and white, and at the end of these passages are other versions of rooms you’ve been to, this time with symbols on the walls that you need to solve a puzzle. Right, fine. Except, it turns out, to be able to progress you have to know to click on the octopus creature that acts as a lift between floors while in this alternate version of the top room. Clicking on it any other time does nothing, there’s no reason to click on it on that occasion which you’ve visited for a different specific purpose, there’s no hint or indication that it should be clicked on, there’s no rationale to that being the action that would continue the plot while so many other puzzles are still wide open. It’s beyond comprehension. I only found out about it accidentally while looking through bug threads on the Steam forums for the earlier news post, where others are shouting at the walls about how ridiculous it is.

And to be clear, that’s just the most egregious example of a problem that exists throughout. There’s a button soon after that when you try to press it, nothing happens. It’s non-interactive. Oh, but switch to the dog and he can press it. Of course – stupid me.

The music’s quite nice, when it doesn’t disappear. Or start playing two different tunes at once (which it does a lot). And while the art is generally wonderful, later in the game it starts taking short-cuts by awkwardly stretching assets so they look like a Photoshop disaster, rather than designing new ones. The characters speak so infrequently that when they do, I’m surprised because I’d forgotten again that they could. But the voice acting is splendid, even if the recording quality isn’t.

But the more you play, the more you discover that’s idiotically broken. There’s a major puzzle later in with a locked door you can just magically walk through without solving. There are objects that infinitely spawn. Glitches can get characters stuck on the background.

As if Armikrog weren’t already hateful enough, that repeated awful mobile puzzle? You have to solve while listening to a baby crying. And not the tiresome wailing that annoys you in a coffee shop – the sort of incredibly sad sobbing that makes a new father need to tear off his own skin.

Puzzles start repeating themselves until you wonder if you’re stuck in some sort of cruel Sisyphian torture, and the endless waves of silly symbols you’re supposed to decipher and give a shit about eventually drowned any interest I had left.

It’s so agonising that such a wonderful-looking game is so bloody awful. After two lengthy last-minute delays, I can see why the developers might have wanted just to be rid of it. Sucks to be the Kickstarter backers who can’t use Steam refunds, at this point.

There’s a chance the bugs could be patched out, although this really is in a sort of Arkham Knight place where pulling it and finishing it is the better option. But even if it ran without constantly breaking, it would still be a really dreadful adventure game. A gorgeous one – some of the most lovely animation I’ve ever seen in a game – but just so poor.

Armikrog is out now for Windows, Mac and Linux.

87 Comments

  1. LionsPhil says:

    So, one to watch a Let’s Play of, then.

    • Michael Fogg says:

      If you have the schadenfreudy inclination to watch others in fits of rage and frustration

    • HERP DERP NANOMACHINES says:

      Haha yeah or you could, you know, go outside?

      • Hebrind says:

        What the dickens would you want to do THAT for? The graphics are great, sure, but the AI is atrocious.

      • eggy toast says:

        Watching Let’s Play of Amikrog on my mobile device in the park mate.

      • LionsPhil says:

        You’re right, games are dumb, RPS should feel bad for ever promoting them and turn this into a website about cycling instead.

      • brutaldeluxe09 says:

        genuine questions, are you being serious or sarcastic? either way, why?

  2. Stellar Duck says:

    Indeed,
    A game about repeating puzzles and bugs?
    not a game for me,
    Indeed.

    Also, staring eyes tag is needed, surely. Two of them.

  3. Gunrun says:

    A hateful game from a hateful man then. Not really a surprise, The Neverhood while having lovely art also had really fucking awful puzzles based around trial and death and trial and error and death.

    • JoeX111 says:

      I’m so glad somebody said this. Aside from the bugs, this sequel sounds exactly like The Neverhood: A beautifully animated game in which you walk around and click stuff randomly, hoping it will solve puzzles designed around senseless cartoon-logic.

      • bledcarrot says:

        It’s exactly like the Neverhood, but super buggy. The bugs are crippling, and the game deserves to be panned for this reason, but for those of you who haven’t played the Neverhood, I’d take the criticisms of the game mechanics in this article with a grain of salt. Part of the charm of the original, for me and clearly others if its cult status is anything to go by, was the stripped back and simplified approach to both UI and the mechanics. No inventory, no descriptions, no ‘hold spacebar to highlight all interactive’ objects. Just click some of the more interesting objects and be delighted when sometimes something funny happens.

        The puzzle focus has always been little logic based puzzles, not ‘use X item with Y to do Z’. It’s just not that kind of adventure game. It feels a little unfair to judge it based on what it was never intended to be. They’re also not intended to be heavy dialogue or description driven stories. The Neverhood had even less than this game does. I personally always liked the fact that language never played a big role in the world, it gives that much more charm to the quirkiness and mystery when things are unexplained.

        I’m not saying they’re not valid criticisms, just that they’re really preferences about the kinds of games you might like, rather than ‘problems’ with the game itself. I wouldn’t want people scared off thinking this is a horrible game. It’s not at all, I’m relatively happy with it as a KS backer. Even beyond the bugs it has a few issues here and there, but for the most part I’m enjoying the hell out it. If you don’t mind something a little more pared back, and you’re in to logic based puzzles, the artwork and animation will make this an enjoyable ride for you…once the patch comes out.

        • RdCrestdBreegull says:

          Thank you. This game is not supposed to have an inventory, highlighting objects, lots of speech, etc. It is meant so that you have to click around… this is part of what made The Neverhood so great. It’s a puzzle game, but I guess in a different sense than what the reviewer is used to. I am also enjoying the hell out of Armikrog :)

    • fishyboy says:

      I highly doubt Doug Tennapel was involved in designing the puzzles. While I do think some of his views are pretty vile I don’t think I’ve encountered anything in his work that reflects that.

    • Matt says:

      You seem to be misremembering the Neverhood. There was literally only one- clearly labeled- way to die in that game.

    • Klarden says:

      You can die in Neverhood in only one place that basically says “if you do this, you die, so don’t”. It had some annoying puzzles, though. But good ones too. And it wasn’t buggy.

      • Oakreef says:

        You also sort of died in the bad ending but yeah it wasn’t a trial and error by death game.

  4. X_kot says:

    This appears to be a case where the creators would have done better by making a film rather than a game.

  5. reggiep says:

    Sounds like the devs were too busy spending their money than they were actually working on this game. Kickstarter fails again.

    • nld says:

      Well, not necessarily. It looks like the production budget mostly went into making nice-looking claymation, with UI programming and scripting as an afterthought.

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      “Kickstarter fails again.”

      This is a dumb thing to say. Do you say “publisher funded game development fails again” every time a AAA game falls on its face? The only reason you would use these words is if you are sitting around like a vulture waiting for confirmations to validate a pet hate you have.

      No, “Kickstarter” is not to blame here, just poor development. For every failed Kickstarter project, one can name several more that are successes.

      • Premium User Badge

        ErraticGamer says:

        Yeah, this absolutely doesn’t lie at Kickstarter’s feet. I’ve greatly enjoyed many of the games I’ve backed on Kickstarter (of which, lucky for me, this was not one); it’s been a tremendous success for me more often than a failure.

      • ffordesoon says:

        Yeah, that attitude always drives me nuts.

        I mean, listen, I’m an Armikrog backer. I didn’t put down too much for it – my love of The Neverhood and Skullmonkeys overrode my awareness that Doug TenNapel has views I find really disgusting, but only slightly. I’m sad this game is apparently so crap, and if I’d backed at a higher tier, I’d be angry.

        But when you fund any creative project in any context, there’s always a chance it might be a wad of garbage in the end. Sometimes the chance is higher, sometimes it’s lower, but there’s always a chance, and this is particularly true of art/entertainment, where enjoyment is a fairly subjective thing anyway. That’s not an indictment of crowdfunding or publisher funding; it’s just the nature of the beast. If you’re not comfortable with anything you back turning out to be crap, you probably shouldn’t use Kickstarter at all. Blaming Kickstarter for a shitty Kickstarted game is like blaming Paypal for letting you buy a game you end up hating. The blame lies at the feet of the project creator, not the service they used to fund the creation of the project.

      • Baines says:

        Kickstarter mostly shows a dirty little secret, that there are developers that might not be good at managing projects.

        I’d guess that a publisher either would have:
        A) Canned Armikrog mid-development, in which case we’d have another story about how big publisher X hates gaming or has no vision or whatever because it killed the super amazing Armikrog.
        B) Funneled more money and time into development, in which case we’d have another story about how big publisher X can’t get its business straight because it delayed another game. If the game finally released in a decent state, publisher X would get no credit. If the game still released broken, publisher X would receive the blame for releasing or even “rushing” a broken product. We might also get a story about how the game didn’t make a profit despite seemingly decent sales figures, with consumers again giving a dirty look towards the publisher.

        Developers would only really get blame if they had a track record of broken releases, and even then publishers might take the heat for not holding the developer to the grindstone (while simultaneously not being restrictive to the developer.)

      • w0bbl3r says:

        Well the problem here is that any fool with a bit of skill at making a good looking trailer and doing a bit of smooth talking for a couple of minutes about how awesome their game will be, can make millions (literally, millions have been made on kickstarter for games that should cost not even $100,000) because people “back” them.
        If they took their smooth talking and slickly edited 3 minute video to a publisher for funding, the publisher would say “show me something REAL, or piss off”. Which is how it should be.
        So easy for some numbnuts to manage to make a ton of cash, have no idea what to do with it, and then leave all the gullible fools out of pocket (sometimes by thousands), like in this case. Or Broken age. Or planetary annihilation (they pulled a doozy with that one). Or however many other disasters of developer management you would like to mention from kickstarter.
        In theory, kickstarter is a great idea. But there are a lot of things that are great in theory. But as soon as you actually put people into the mix, it soon goes tits up.

        • Nereus says:

          I’m sorry but this is just rubbish. Your co plaint is that sometimes investment goes awry. Sure, with a publisher there is somebody there to pull the plug on poor performance, and the money lost is theirs alone, but that comes at a cost. The games have to serve what the publisher wants. That means multiplayer in games like Spec Ops, where it actually undermines the message of the single player. Imagine if shadowrun returns had been published by somebody like Konami or EA? We’d see microtransactions for equipment and extra turns, or in something like sunless sea we might have seen the story told via audiologs rather than the beautiful fiction we got. Things designed to make it easily digestible. We might have seen pillars of eternity attempt to emulate dragon age. We wouldnt be seeing a battlemech revival. Art games like sunset would never have been made ( for better or worse). Wasteland 2 would have been a fallout 3 clone in as much as the publisher thought they could legally get away with.

          We get the developers vision for a game, whether that is worse or better than what we might have gotten with the product being treated as a business output is up to the user. But i prefer indies because they are often free of this influence, if you like your uber polished but often rather sterile AAA games then kickstarter isn’t for you.

          • Fiatil says:

            I just want to say that everyone’s responses to this are amazing. A kickstarter project failing is not a symbol of the kickstarter model being a failure. Traditionally published games fail quite a bit too; it’s just something we’ve become used to over our time loving videogames, and there’s an intense level of scrutiny on kickstarter by some who really want to be proven right that it’s a scam.

            I think the OP would be shocked to find that corporate finance (AAA publishing in this example) isn’t an exact science. A lot of it is about having the money to spend, and hoping the 1 project that succeeds makes enough money to cover the losses for the 9 projects that didn’t.

          • Sleepymatt says:

            It’s exactly as Fiatil says, and not just in the computer games industry. Just look at internet start-ups in California – for every Google, Facebook or Strava that has made it to the big time, thousands of companies have been born, chewed through their investment capital, and died without a trace. That doesn’t stop venture capitalists investing, because being in at the start of the next Google is worth a whole lot of bad bets, assuming you have the money to start with.

            The take-away lesson being, don’t throw your money down unless you can afford to lose it with nothing to show for the investment.

        • Martel says:

          That’s a pretty bold statement to make without any citations. What references are you referring to?

        • malkav11 says:

          So far the number of Kickstarter failures is remarkably low, actually. But it’s also nonsensical to suggest that going through publishers prevents games from being released in this state. Just look at another release this week that appears to be every bit as much a trainwreck if not more: Tony Hawk Pro Skater 5. The difference is that Armikrog is a game with a nearly unique style and personality in an underserved genre with a $25 pricetag, whereas Tony Hawk is a full price release in a heavily populated franchise that appears to have been pushed out largely to make a quick buck before Activision’s license expired. (Not that the Tony Hawk games are universally bad, or anything. Just…much more saturated.)

      • MadTinkerer says:

        Remember, kids:

        Shadowrun Returns does not already have multiple sequels. Freedom Planet is not on the Wii U. Pillars of Eternity has no expansions. Wasteland 2 definitely didn’t happen. Shovel Knight does not have an AMIBO. Tabletop Simulator isn’t a thing! NO NEW TEX MURPHY GAMES HAVE BEEN MADE RECENTLY YOU LIARS!!! NO ONE THINKS FTL IS A GOOD GAME!!!!!

        Sunless Sea? Xenonauts? Race The Run? Spintires? Lifeless Planet? Distance? Risk of Rain? Planetary Annihilation? Mercenary Kings? Edge of Space? Chuck’s Challenge 3D? No Time To Explain? OCTODAD!?! NO STOP MAKING UP GAMES THAT DON’T EXIST

        Okay, calm down…

        Look, at best you can only expect mediocrity from Kickstarter. Only frauds, con artists, and the miserable dregs of the most incompetent ever try to have their projects crowdfunded. There never has been nor ever will be a good game coming from Kickstarter, and even if there was you should stick your fingers in your ears and sing loudly like this LA LA LA LA LA NO SUCH THING AS A GOOD GAME FUNDED FROM KICKSTARTER LA LA LA LA LA KICKSTARTER IS 100% FAIL LA LA LA LA LA!!!!

        debvlqunv;unwev;linwav;oinwa;oevhn;Kikkkstaaarrrrtttuuuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

    • Ravenok says:

      Kickstarter fails again?

      I see a released claymation game, which is a spiritual successor to an old classic loved by many.

      Yes it has bugs, hopefully they’ll be fixed.
      Yes it’s too short, sadly.

      But a released game.
      That’s way more than any other “failed” kickstarted managed to offer so far… Don’t include this in that group. This kickstarter was run beautifully, the team managed to raise a very, very, very small amount of money for what they made, and they stretched production to last longer, who knows out of what budget.

      I feel perfectly OK with what I got in return and I’m happy this game exists now. I won’t say this is the amazing adventure I was hoping for, but that was expected when the game received such lukewarm attention to begin with, when the kickstarter launched.

      If you didn’t back it, don’t complain. Those who backed it are the only ones allowed to, and I don’t see a major backlash so far.

      • RdCrestdBreegull says:

        I backed it and there’s nothing I’m not satisfied about so far. Honestly I don’t understand what anyone’s complaining about. Maybe they never played The Neverhood? Maybe they just “don’t get it”? Armikrog is just what I wanted it to be and I’m having a great time playing it.

  6. Christo4 says:

    This is why i strongly believe that, unless it’s a well known studio with experience making games, or at least well known people that had experience making games, every game from kickstarter should have at least a demo.
    Could have prevented stuff like this from happening.
    And really, didn’t they ever play an adventure game before making this one? The complains written in this article could have been easily solved in the early stages of development i think, but it’s like they never even tried, imo.

    • LimEJET says:

      It is people from a well known studio who have done numerous games in the past. They have created adventure games before.

      • w0bbl3r says:

        People from a well known studio isn’t the same as a well known studio. Not by a long shot.

      • Christo4 says:

        Then why the obvious faulty gameplay design? No inventory, no pop-up or voice to tell you if something is working or not, or other things that were looked over as said in the review.
        It’s like they were only the artists and never even played the game.

        • bledcarrot says:

          See my post above in reply to Joex1111. This isn’t faulty game design, it’s intended to be a largely language-less world and a stripped back UI. Might not be your cup of tea, but that’s part of the charm of the Neverhood and why it has such a cult following and got kickstarted in the first place.

        • RdCrestdBreegull says:

          There’s not supposed to be an inventory nor any hints or anything of any kind. This is how the game is supposed to be, and this is how The Neverhood was. Imo these were not valid criticisms by the reviewer because these things were never going to end up in Armikrog and they never will.

  7. Arathain says:

    “And not the tiresome wailing that annoys you in a coffee shop – the sort of incredibly sad sobbing that makes a new father need to tear off his own skin.”

    I know exactly what you mean. It turns a 30 minute car journey from a minor chore to an emotional mangle. I’ll pass on the game for that reason alone.

    • spindaden says:

      I spent over an hour singing nursery rhymes at the top of my voice to stave off the tears and vomit from the back seat on a particularly arduous drive up to Edinburgh recently.

      Babies eh?

    • Nux says:

      Interesting… Baby cry doesn’t bother my at all. Probably because I used to babysit children.

      BTW. You do know that you can turn of the sound for a moment? ;-P

      • Premium User Badge

        John Walker says:

        In a puzzle reliant on your correctly arranging the order of a tune… no you can’t.

        • Nux says:

          No, it’s not about the tune. You just need to order the puppets. At first there are only 3 of them so at most you will have them in the right order on a second try. Next time you should have at least remember the 3 ones you were putting on so you have to order 4. And if don’t write them down that time you can only blame yourself for not figuring out that there will be a third repetition ;-).

          Pencil and paper. It’s a requirement for all games like that. Or tablet if you don’t like paper ;-).

          • RdCrestdBreegull says:

            Yup, this is very much a pencil and paper kind of game :)

            The mobile puzzle didn’t bother me at all, and I was surprised to hear anyone mention anything about it… Really, I completed the puzzle and that was it. No biggie.

  8. Author X says:

    This review was greatly improved by seeing an ad at the bottom calling Armikrog “a game with heart.”

    Yes, apparently a game with a beautiful exterior and a black, hateful heart full of contempt for anyone that dares to play it.

    • silentdan says:

      I think this is actually to RPS’s credit. If advertising and editorial are so segregated that they openly conflict on the same page, you’re seeing robust editorial independence in action.

      Should they decline advertising from games they’ve negatively reviewed? Maybe, but I don’t think it’s necessary. Like most sites, RPS doesn’t endorse the ads they display, so I don’t feel like they’re saying ” is great!” and ” sucks!” but rather ” is available for purchase!” and “But maybe don’t act on that right away.”

      • Author X says:

        For what it’s worth, I don’t see any problem with that at all. The only conflict would be for whoever bought the adspace for putting the ad right under a long and detailed explanation of why it is a terrible game, and will likely still be terrible even if the worst technical issues are fixed. They wasted their money.

        And really, that’s not even much of a mistake as release a game in such a bad state to begin with.

        • Martel says:

          I’m pretty sure the ads are handled by a third-party and completely independent, so the people purchasing ads have no idea what article it’s going to be on nor do the RPS people know what ads will be on the same article. It can make for some funny situations though.

          • Yglorba says:

            The ads probably use some degree of automated keyword-detection to put them someplace where they’re likely to be relevant to readers. Unfortunately, automated keyword-detection algorithms cannot yet distinguish the context those keywords are used in, so the poor algorithms don’t realize that this particular context is hardly likely to make anyone want to buy Armikrog.

    • silentdan says:

      Gah. I wrote “less-than-symbol X greater-than-symbol is great/sucks” and didn’t think about how that would get interpolated. My apologies for the clarity failure.

  9. Michael Fogg says:

    The game is so shoddy you’d almost think they put it together with Play-doh

  10. Artiforg says:

    Thanks John, you’ve put into words exactly how I feel about the game. I am a kickstarter backer and am massively disappointed. One thing you didn’t touch on was how the first child calming puzzle appears. You leave the room then it starts crying then without any warning (no comment from Tommynaut or Beak Beak) the puzzle appears. There’s no instruction that you need to calm the baby just a load of toys already attached and a load not attached. I don’t even recall picking that item up. As you say you need to listen to the music to work out what to put where but the keening of the child sets your teeth on edge and has loud enough volume to stop you from being able to concentrate. I ended up using trial and error to complete it. I’ve not encountered it a second time but that now fills me with dread. The missing context sensitive cursor, lack of descriptions, inventory and any feedback from the characters when you attempt to click on something that they can’t use yet has made me frustrated and partially regretting my backing. As reggiep says in the comments earlier it seems the money went into the animation, sets and models and absolutely none of it on the game itself. Having said that, the animation is lovely and looking through the bars in the first room a few times really shows it off. Shame the game surrounding it is so bad.

    • Artiforg says:

      Sorry, I’m a moron. I meant to say “nld” said earlier the money went into the animation rather than the game not reggiep who did mention that they’d spent the money.

    • Azeltir says:

      The lullaby puzzle occurs three times, each time adding more pieces you need to attach. It seemed like a complete waste of time to me. And I couldn’t really see a better way to do it other than trial-and-error, given that many of the measures sound nearly exactly the same and that there isn’t a good way to determine which goes where other than seeing the execution of the puzzle say which parts are wrong. The fact that half of the time on that puzzle is spent on the non-interactive parts of the song is also silly.

      • Thornback says:

        They also repeat a block sliding puzzle three times. The first time was actually fine, but the other two times were just awful.

        • Azeltir says:

          Eh, I thought the third time was an interesting enough twist on the concept that I didn’t mind it. The second one was pretty boring of a repeat though.

    • RdCrestdBreegull says:

      Artiforg, did you ever play The Neverhood? It didn’t have a context sensitive cursor, descriptions, inventory, nor character feedback.

  11. waltC says:

    Well, obviously, this is a game meant for tots still in the crib, the equivalent of Fisher-Price “educational” toys for tots–where it’s all about colors, flashing lights, cute tunes & giggles galore. No rhyme or reason needed. Now where did I see that “recommended for players up to three years old” advertisement…hmmmm…?

  12. brutaldeluxe09 says:

    this game sounds like it is a physical metaphor of Doug’s crusty political outlook

  13. oyog says:

    The things you go through for us, your readers. John, you are a true hero.

  14. haradaya says:

    Much of this sounds like The Neverhood over again. Was hoping this would be a spiritual successor, not a reincarnation.

  15. Nereus says:

    I don’t think I’m old enough to have fully thought out opinions because I am pleased this seems like a flop if only due to the fact one of the creators doesn’t deserve financial success.

  16. NihlusGreen says:

    One Steam reviewer claims to have encountered a bug where they actually finished the game by accident after an hour of play….shame looks lovely

  17. Thornback says:

    The sound in general is probably one of the biggest sins for me.

    The speaking happens so rarely that it was only after two hours I got a mild suspicion that Tommy was Mike Nelson of MST3K, who I’m a big fan of too.

    And I can’t remember hearing music for anywhere other than the FMV sections. And I love Terry Scott Taylor’s music from Neverhood and Skull Monkeys as well!

  18. Juan Carlo says:

    It’s kind of depressing how few of the high profile kickstarters have panned out. This one had famous voice talent, a famous designer, and people with experience in the field–yet it was still completely botched. I feel like in order for me to have faith in a kick starter these days they need to advertise that they have people with actual project management experience on video games. At this point, I’d probably be more likely to fund a mediocre concept game from an overlooked genre I like that has a solid project manager than a game with a really great concept that doesn’t.

    Who would have thought that the result of kickstarter would be making the “evil” video game companies who we thought were shitting on the dreams of brilliant game designers more sympathetic. Turns out giving the Tim Schafers of the world tons of money and no restrictions will not result in a better game, or even, a playable game.

    Score one for the bean counters, middle managers, and “no” men, I guess.

    • gwathdring says:

      What are you talking about? High profile Kickstarters have been successful, too.

      Christ the confirmation bias moaning throughout this comment section is baffling. The game is shit–it’s not a sign of anything larger. It’s just a shit game.

      • malkav11 says:

        More consistently successful than ones by random little guys, even. At least in my experience.

  19. DevilishEggs says:

    Further evidence that nothing goes south quicker than an adventure game.

    I enjoy my share of “fiddle with blocks and shapes” puzzles, but games containing a lot of them should almost be marketed differently. Maybe as puzzle games. Once you’ve left the inventory and conversation systems long behind and are dealing with a higher degree of abstraction, you’re not so much an adventure game anymore. Not even with a scintillating story (looking at you, Microids).

  20. languidbaboon says:

    Where’s Wallace and Gromit (the game)?

    • malkav11 says:

      Telltale made five episodes of one. Though not, alas, stop-motion animated. And it’s no longer being sold as their license ran out and has not been renewed.

      • languidbaboon says:

        Thanks for letting me know, I had just assumed only the movies existed. I’ve nabbed a copy from Amazon.

    • Ejia says:

      Funny, I was just about to ask what other games there are if I liked my claymation more Aardmanian in nature.

      • brutaldeluxe09 says:

        I’m currently playing through The Dream Machine, maybe not completely comparable but uses the stop frame animation technique. Enjoying it so far.

  21. grrrz says:

    so I’ll be waiting for the last installment of the dream machine then.

  22. Vermintide says:

    Could someone fill me in on Tennipple’s disgusting views? I don’t tend to keep up with the celebrity Dev gossip mill, but you’ve got me curious.

    • eggy toast says:

      He said something bad about The Gays or something

    • Klarden says:

      I believe, he is a very conservative catholic guy who is very much against the idea of same-sex relationships, among other stuff.

    • Philomelle says:

      TenNapel basically manages to outdo even George W. Bush Jr. in terms of being a caricature of a hyper-conservative mindset. The guy is [sorry, you can’t make accusations like this without evidence – Ed], and I’ve heard from multiple people who dealt with him personally that he’s a very fervent creationist.

      There was a time when he ran a webcomic where not only did he produce rants along the lines of everything you’d expect from someone described above, but the comic itself was a thinly veiled rant about how oppressed and disenfranchised straight white men are in 21st century.

      He’s basically every preposterous right-winger stereotype rolled into one person.

    • brutaldeluxe09 says:

      I’ve read some of his blog pieces previously and can only really comment on his economic outlook, which as far as I could tell pretty much only goes as far as to say capitalism is great and that ‘the left’ should stop moaning as it’s ‘the right’ who create all of the jobs (of course he fails to mention that these jobs are largely made up of things people don’t actually want to do).

      There are some funny/interesting/alarming quotes to read through if you can be bothered, stuff like, everybody’s dream job can only ever be that of one working for large corporate because you know. Complaints about the fact ‘the left’ are always so anti-consumerist (not the TB kind by the way, the definition of which he seems to have transformed himself) when in fact nobody has ever made us buy this stuff we don’t need. He even complained about how a tax break for artists was coming to and end and how much that going to hurt him and his friends financially and that this in turn will hurt the poor because all artists are employed by rich people as it’s only rich people who are capable of owning large companies! Arrggghhhh

      I could give you a lot more reasons for why I’m conservative but I couldn’t give one for being liberal.

      • brutaldeluxe09 says:

        UPDATE: “I could give you a lot more reasons for why I’m conservative but I couldn’t give one for being liberal” is a quote from his blog where he simultaneously complains about how it’s unfair that a large company own his IP of Earthworm Jim and how he feels that is unfair and how he should be able to pass his IP to his family (presumably he’d not want to have to pay inheritance tax on that).

  23. daphne says:

    Not sure what’s worse… to have a Kickstarter never materialize or have it turn out to be utter tripe because it’s apparently designed by incompetents.

    • bledcarrot says:

      I backed this on kickstarter at the $20 tier and, bugs aside, I’m petty happy with it to be honest. It’s a worthy spiritual successor to the Neverhood and a pretty enjoyable experience. People love bashing kickstarter as soon as it doesn’t deliver THE GREATEST GAME IN THE WORLD THAT ALL THE FANS HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR. But I paid $20 for a pretty awesome game that, again bugs aside, pretty much delivered exactly what I expected. Most of the criticisms about the game (no inventory, lack of descriptions, no dialogue, focus on logic based puzzles) are all things that I loved about the Neverhood and part of the reason why I backed it. So, I mean, as far as those criticisms go…if they’re things that both you, then this game was never meant for you in the first place.

      • RdCrestdBreegull says:

        I am satisfied as well. Everything I expected and it’s exactly as it should be. Thought we’d never get anything like this and a couple decades later we get something nice :)