I’m in the process of reviewing the long-awaited and repeatedly delayed spiritual successor to The Neverhood, Armikrog [official site]. And when I say “in the process of”, what I of course mean is, “starting the whole thing again because it’s so damned broken that it won’t trigger a vital cutscene meaning I can’t carry on.” And that’s just one of very many glitches and issues I’ve hit, and they’re just a small fraction of what’s being reported in angry Steam fora.
You might want to hold of buying this until some hefty patches have arrived.
And it’s a real shame, because the animation is just stunning. Some exquisite stop-motion work, in gorgeous sets, makes it a real visual treat. But right now, that’s where the fun ends. It really is a colossal mess, and that’s despite a release day-announced delay at the start of last month.
From the god-awful menus (broken in some languages, requiring you to change the language settings of Windows to fix!), and the optionless options which insanely contain Save/Load, to the default Windows cursor, it feels deeply unfinished. There’s no object highlighting to an extraordinary level, where objects that will soon be useful don’t react if clicked on before they’re ready. There’s certainly no “look at” option, but Armikrog goes even further with stripping down the adventure to almost nothing, by not even having an accessible inventory either. It’s done for you when you arbitrarily click. And arbitrary it really is, as the character magically produces objects before I’ve found them, opening the game up in all the wrong order.
Sound is a disaster, with voices often sounding like they’ve been gagged and sealed in a barrel, the music occasionally just vanishing. And for one character in one location, the voice has disappeared meaning they pantomime in silence. And now I’ve reached a point where, perhaps because I’ve inadvertently solved puzzles I shouldn’t have the parts for yet (although it’s anyone’s guess), it won’t trigger the introduction of one of the game’s key characters – the baby. The only reason I know this is because after clicking around randomly at every pixel on every screen, I gave up and wondered if anyone had made a YouTube walkthrough yet – thanks random Russian guy who has, because I got to see what should have happened when I went into the baby’s room, and now know I need to start the whole shitty thing over again.
So yes – don’t put yourself through this. Yet, at least. Although that doesn’t bode well, as one of the developers when asked about the barrage of bug reports rather extraordinarily replied on the Steam forums saying,
“There are a few minor issues, but the game is done and we’re quite happy and proud of it.”
I’m going to do my best to finish the game so I can enjoy the amazing animation, and will have a review if I’m able.