Armikrog is a 2015 Point-and-Click Game created by Doug TenNapel with Pencil Test Studios. Funded on Kickstarter for release on PC, Wii U, and Playstation 4. It is a Spiritual Successor to TenNapel's earlier games The Neverhood and Skullmonkeys.
The game follows interstellar explorer Tommynaut and his intelligent dog Beak Beak. Searching for a rare element called P-tonium to save the planet Ixen, the two are flying in outer space when suddenly they hit a meteor, causing them to crash. Soon after they crash, Tommynaut and Beak beak find themselves in a bizarre Death World, where they are locked up in a fortress called Armikrog. From there, they must escape the fortress by putting their heads together to solve the puzzles inside.
Armikrog provides examples of:
- All There in the Manual: The actual names of P's adoptive mother and father, how the "soul transfer" machine works, the in-universe origin of the word "Armikrog" and how the fortress came to be are all given within the resident Hall Of Records expy, among a few other things.
- Animals See in Monochrome: Downplayed. Whenever Beak Beak is in a separate room from Tommynaut, the screen only allows the viewer to see beige, black and blue.
- Arranged Marriage: Deconstructed within the prequel novel in regards to Meva. She was pressured into marrying a man she didn't love by both her family and the man's and that the man was just marrying her to have better influence over the workers. She was fine with it at first, until she noticed an act of true love Tvark accidentally did (which could've gotten him killed given that he was a slave at the time). It was this act that eventually lead her to meet Tvark in-person, someone she will eventually love for real.
- Animate Inanimate Object: Near the end of the prologue, Tvark decided to transfer his soul into a water generator he had accidentally broke just to see where he went wrong. It was there that he discovered that the water generator was, in actual fact, a matter generator which he used to great effect in order to make Armikrog.
- Baby Talk: The only word P knows how to say is her own name, which she says once within the entire game (twice if you count the prequel novel). All the other times, she's usually seen cooing and gurgling like an actual baby.
- Big Bad: Turns out to be Vognaut.
- Bizarre Alien Biology:
- Beak Beak is described as a "dog," but he's a dog with two horizontal ridges instead of eyes, the ability to speak and the ability to sprout wings after eating bugs.
- P burps up the most powerful fuel in the known universe when she giggles, and the game's textdump notes that she doesn't seem to eat, but she certainly defecates.
- Brought to You by the Letter "S": Tommynaut has a giant "T" on his upper body.
- Cain and Abel: Vognaut is the Cain to Tommynaut's Abel.
- Canine Companion: Beak Beak. Well, an alien canine in this case.
- Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": Beak Beak isn't exactly a normal dog, as one can tell from his appearance (and ability to speak).
- Clarke's Third Law: The Octovator within the first building refers to the act of research as "sciencemagic", implying this to be in full effect within the setting.
- Chekhov's Gun:
- The Emerald Room, which you encounter very early in the game, doesn't serve much of a purpose until it's involved in the final two puzzles.
- The hint for the very last puzzle in the game is located in one of the starting rooms, at which point it isn't exactly clear if the picture means anything at all.
- The unusual symbols that appear during the "speeches" by the Octovators clearly correspond to specific words and things they're describing, but since they speak an alien language, the symbols are meaningless to the player. Until you "switch" them to English, which allows you to pick out the correct symbols for the console in the Emerald Room.
- Death World: Immediately after waking up on the planet, Tommynaut is almost eaten by a long-tongued predator.
- Diving Save: Once Vognaut accidentally blows up his extraction machine, Tommynaut performs one of these to save P from hitting the ground.
- Enter Solution Here: Probably not to the extent of its predecessor, but there are puzzles of this type, such as the three-symbol lock near the beginning of the game. Then again, a fan of The Neverhood would likely be savvy enough to expect this and keep some pen and paper (or a phone with a camera) handy.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": While the novel that serves as the game's equivalent to the Hall of Records gives out the actual names of P's parents, the Octovators calls them "Mother" and "Father".
- Expository Theme Tune: The game's opening cutscene tells you all you need to know in catchy song form.The people of planet Ixen
Are surely going to die
Without the power of P-tonium found
On planet Spiro 5.
Our hope was brother astronauts
Vognaut, Numnaut and Tommynaut.
Two are dead, Tom's all we've got.
This kid is green, do we have a shot?
- Expy: A lot of elements of this game borrow from The Neverhood.
- Tommynaut feels like an obvious stand-in for Klaymen and Tvark's ghost acts like Willie Trombone, offering hints to the player, while in the backstory, he feels like an alternate take on Hoborg.
- Vognaut is a blatant retread of Klogg's character. He's the main character's brother, corrupted by his own greed. He disposed of the previous inhabitants of this world, leaving him alone in it aside from a few other creatures. Vognaut is shown wielding a jagged knife, just like the one Klogg used to try and kill Hoborg.
- The room after the one with the puzzle involving the colored planets is this to the Hall of Records from The Neverhood in which one can read an entire novel worth of text that essentially serves as a prequel to the game itself.
- The Octovators are one to Willie's discs, discussing the lore of what happened in the game right before the player character showed up. The final Octovator even hands over the key to activating the console in the Emerald Room, just like how the final disc gave Klaymen the key to accessing Klogg's lair.
- Face Ship: Tommynaut's spacecraft has eyes and spiky hair that make it look like a head, and there is even a monogrammed T on the forehead, but it doesn't really resemble his head.
- Friend to All Children: Tommynaut immediately bonds with baby P.
- Genius Loci: The Heart of the Mountain (and, by extension, the "soul transfer" device that uses it as the source of its power) has the ability to transfer one's soul into nearly anything, up to, and including entire landscapes. For a brief moment within the game's prologue, Tvark had accidentally transferred his soul into the mountain he was mining, and before the events of the game, Meva transferred her soul into Armikrog itself to help protect it.
- Happily Adopted: After finding out they can't have children of their own, Tvark and Meva become P's parents after finding her in a crashed spaceship. P's biological parents starved themselves in order to keep P alive.
- The Hero: Tommynaut aspires to be this, which is why he's always striking heroic-looking poses.
- Heroic Sacrifice:
- Beak Beak unplugs the extraction machine in time to save P's life, but not without getting shot by Vognaut immediately after. Although he does come back in the ending as a ghost.
- Tvark, in the Octovators' story. He was murdered by Vognaut while trying to protect his family.
- Hint System: Tvark's statues found throughout the game essentially play the same role as Willie's notes under the Nursery in The Neverhood: clicking on them causes Tvark's spirit to share a piece of advice regarding some of the puzzles.
- His Name Really Is "Barkeep": It's implied via backstory information (or, more specifically, a brief mention of his predecessor) that Tommynaut's full name is Tommy "Tommynaut" Naut.
- Humongous Mecha: There's a section of a wall depicting several huge robots, and a related puzzle in which you must assemble a picture of a similar robot. The ending movie reveals that this robot is actually a transformed version of the Armikrog fortress itself.
- In-Game Novel: An expy of the Hall of Records from The Neverhood, which is only a screen long, but still serves the same role of providing extensive backstory without forcing the player to learn it.
- Jump Scare: In the first room of the fortress, looking through the window enough times will have the fuzzy four-eyed predator pop up to scream in your face.
- Kick the Dog: Vognaut shoots Beak Beak, killing him instantly.
- Language Barrier: The Octovators tell the events that lead to the game for what happened, but they speak gibberish. Once you flip a certain switch, they speak English.
- Long Pants: Tommynaut wears those.
- Love at First Sight: Subverted in that it's specifically stated within the prequel novel (viewable in-game) that Tvark, the viewpoint character, doesn't believe in "Love At First Sight" even when he experienced something similar when he saw Meva's face for the first time. He eventually grew to love her deeper than he imagined.
- The Magic Goes Away: Implied to have happened to the inhabitants of Planet Irvine during the prequel novel in that it's specifically stated Tommynaut's predecessor's spaceship ran on magic "back when it was real".
- According to backstory information, the "soul transfer" machine uses a rare magical artifact called the "heart of the mountain" (which, as its name suggests, can only be found embedded within mountains) as the basis of its power.
- The spaceship of the last visitor from Irvine (who happens to also be a "Naut") is explicitly stated to had been running on magic (back when "it was still real").
- Mr. Exposition: The Octovators located throughout Armikrog each tell a piece of what happened before Tommynaut and Beak Beak arrived. However, the language the Octovators speak sounds like gibberish until you flip a certain switch.
- Not Quite Dead:
- Contrary to what is said in the opening cutscene, both Tommynaut's brothers are alive. Vognaut is the main antagonist, and Numnaut was just lost.
- Beak Beak can count as well, since he comes back as a ghost.
- And so does Tvark.
- Obviously Evil: One look at Vognaut, and it's pretty obvious that he's the bad guy. It's implied he turned out that way due to his greed.
- One-Word Title: Also The Place, as the game is named after the fortress the game is set in.
- Our Souls Are Different: They equal to one's own consciousness within the setting. In addition, anyone who had their souls transferred into an otherwise inanimate object will find themselves fully aware of what said object is, what it can do and, if applicable, what data's stored within the object's databases. They are also able to control the functions of said object.
- The Place: The game is named after the fortress the game is set in.
- Planet Looters: The reason Tommynaut and Beak Beak travel to Spiro 5, the planet containing Armikrog, in the first place is to retrieve a material called P-tonium, which is essential for the survival of Tommynaut's race.
- Posthumous Character: P's father, Tvark. He appears as a ghost projected through his statues and gives Tommynaut advice on how to solve puzzles. He was murdered by Vognaut before the events of the game.
- Production Throwback: The game contains several subtle nods to The Neverhood besides the obvious expies and reused mechanics. For example, pay attention to the dagger that Vognaut is shown wielding in one of the Octovators' backstory video, or to the sound effect used when Meva brings Beak Beak's spirit back to Tommynaut at the end of the game.
- Sapient Ship: Tvark briefly transferred his soul into the ship he and his family were traveling on in an act of desperation, temporary transforming himself into this.
- Sealed Good in a Can: P's mother, Meva. She used a machine to transfer her soul into Armikrog, the fortress, itself. She can never become human again because Vognaut destroyed the machine.
- Science Fantasy: The game has astronauts, laser guns, alien planets, aliens, magic, ghosts and a magical artifact called the "heart of the mountain" that allows one to transfer one's soul into anything, all in one game.
- Sequel Hook: Tommynaut, Beak Beak and P set to find Numnaut after learning he's still alive in an unknown planet.
- Starfish Aliens: One fuzzy predatory creature has four eyes and a tongue with its own pair of eyes that can wind up on a wheel-like structure in its mouth. It hunts eyeless beaked creatures that move around on single wheels.
- Stomach of Holding:
- Like Klaymen, Tommynaut stores items inside himself. He goes even further by apparently being able to do this with living creatures.
- Beak Beak fetches items that are out of Tommynaut's reach by swallowing them and coughing them back up once he is close to his partner.
- Teamwork Puzzle Game: A number of puzzles involve having Beak Beak sit on top of a switch, enabling Tommynaut to pass through a locked area. Beak Beak's ability to fit through small passages and his unusual vision and later - his wings also play an important role.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Tommynaut's first reaction when he sees his thought-to-be-dead brother Vognaut, now horribly mutated by his greed?Tommynaut: You look funny.
- Uptown Girl: Part of the In-Game Novel tells the tale of how Tvark (a dirt-poor slave miner) and Meva (a wealthy upper-class woman) came to find and love each other.
- Villain Ball: Tommynaut goes to Armikrog to obtain P-tonium, and, by extension, P, the baby who creates it when she laughs. So is Vognaut. What makes Vog evil and Tommy good? He decides the best way to get the freely-offered material is to forcefully extract it from P, killing her. The game mentions him being greedy, but's largely an Informed Attribute, since every major character of the story is after the same thing anyway, and there's no real reason he can't indulge his 'greed' while keeping P alive and well - like Tommynaut does.
- That's not even including the idea that Tommynaut's discovery of P creating P-tonium by laughing gives an exponentially larger amount than Vognaut's method of extracting it simply by keeping the supply available with P being alive. Vognaut is so blinded by his greed he fails to see a route that would grant him more.
- Vocal Dissonance: The Octovators are multi-eyed, tentacled alien-elevator hybrid things. Three of them speak with smooth feminine voices, while one Octovator has an awkward stutter.
- Would Hurt a Child: Vognaut has no qualms about draining P's energy, despite the fact that she's a baby, and the process would kill her.