It's the wasted potential that hurts the most. Armikrog begins with a catchy song, a gorgeous claymation planet, and a hero facing off against a wonderfully designed monster with a tongue so long that its mouth comes fitted with a winch. It's imaginative! Beautifully made! Exciting! Creative! Lots of other enthusiastic exclamation marks! You may have seen it already. All of this was in the Kickstarter pitch video, which not too surprisingly helped the developers raise a cool million dollars.
The Armikrog we eventually got - the whole tedious thing - consists of walking around an almost entirely empty fortress, solving incredibly turgid logic puzzles, and often doing so in near-silence because the background music seems to decide at random when it's going to put in an appearance. Four minutes of crowd-funded optimism leads to about four hours of sub-Myst level dreck.
Not only is this one of the dullest adventure games in ages, it's also the kind that makes you question if anyone involved has ever even played one - including its spiritual predecessor, The Neverhood. It's almost impressive how poor it is as an experience, with only very occasional moments where the clay backgrounds are used as interesting scenery instead of just simple rooms full of random floopydoop, or a place to put floating sigils needed for the main puzzles.
UPDATE 19/08/2015 8.48pm: Armikrog has been pushed back another three weeks and is now set for an 8th September release.
"As we're approaching the finish line, we've come across some details in the game that we really want to address. Some of the issues are about tuning, while others are straight-up bugs fixes," developer Pencil Test stated in a backers-only Kickstarter update.
"We've enjoyed and appreciated your overwhelming support throughout this whole production, and we want you to be proud of the game that you've backed."
As prophesied in March, Earthworm Jim creator Doug TenNapel has launched a Kickstarter for Armikrog, the "spiritual successor" to his 1996 claymation point-and-click adventure game The Neverhood.
Developed alongside other The Neverhood and Earthworm Jim vets Mike Dietz and Ed Schofield at Pencil Test Studios, Armikrog is a point-and-click adventure that follows the exploits of a space explorer named Tommynaut and his blind alien, talking dog Beak-Beak.
Beyond the core team, Pencil Test Studios has accrued some serious talent on this project, including the voices of MST3K's Mike Nelson, Napoleon Dynamite's Jon Heder, and Rob Paulsen, the voice of Pinky from Pink and the Brain. Additionally, The Neverhood composer Terry Taylor is on board, which is definitely good news as The Neverhood contained some of the most bizarre tunes of any game I've played.