In a Nutshell: This is a point-and-click adventure about a robot trying to save his girl and the leader of the city and was one of the 2009 PAX 10.
“Machinarium is an independent puzzle / adventure game developed by the makers of popular web-games Samorost and Samorost2. A little robot who’s been thrown out to the scrap yard behind the city must return and confront the Black Cap Brotherhood and save his robot-girl friend. The game takes place in a strange rusty metallic city populated only by robots. The story is about a little robot who has been unjustly thrown out to the scrapyard behind the city. In the game he returns to the town where he meets the bad guys from Black Cap Brotherhood – they are just preparing a bomb attack on the central tower where the town ruler has residence in. Of course our hero must stop them and also rescue his friend robot-girl.”
- Fun Rating: Really Fun
- ESRB: n/a
- Players/Mode: single-player / campaign
- Game Duration: 5-12 hours
- System: PC (Windows, Mac, and Linux)
- Developer: http://amanita-design.net/
- Website: http://machinarium.net/
- Cost: $20 from the Dev
- Demo: Web demo
|Would I play this again?||Yes|
|Would I recommend this game?||Yes|
|Was the story good?||Very cute|
|Was the music good?||It was brilliant|
|Were the graphics good?||Stunning art|
|Was this game difficult?||Yes|
|Was this game frustrating?||No|
|Was this game offensive?||No|
|Was this game worth your time/money?||Yes|
Playing the game
You are a robot on a mission. To move around, point the cursor and click where you want your robot to go. The cursor will change to moving legs if you can move there. Sometimes you’ll need to stretch or squash yourself to get to higher up or lower down things, respectively. By pointing the cursor on yourself an up/down arrow will appear and then you’ll need to click on yourself and drag up or down.
As this is an adventure game, you’ll need to pick up and use items and talk to other inhabitants. Move the cursor to various objects to see if you can interact with them (the cursor will change to a hand if you can). Your items will be in an inventory accessed by moving the cursor up to the top of the screen. This is also where you can try to combine items for better use. In addition to your inventory, a help button and walkthrough book can be found at the top of the screen. These helps will give you a clue for the area you’re currently in. The book requires successful navigation of a lock mini-puzzle where you need to avoid walls and blast spiders. Use the up and down arrows and the space bar for navigation and firing.
What the game gets right
This game starts off by providing such sights and sounds as to regale your retina and tickle your tympanic membrane. But lest you think the substance of this game is just skin deep, there are some extremely clever and challenging puzzles in this game. Not only clever, but some require action on your part beyond thinking and clicking.
Some of these puzzles are really difficult. (They were for me, anyway.) Each area of the world has at least one puzzle in it and you are provided with a fairly obvious hint that is accessible by clicking on it. However, if you find yourself stuck like I did, the game also provides you with the complete solution for the area you are in via the locked book. The existence of the book, and the lock on it, are ingenious. First, even to open the book, you have to get past a minigame which gives you time to wonder if you can solve it without the book. Next, unlike looking for the solutions online, I didn’t feel like I was cheating. Lastly, you still have to decipher what the book is telling you making it just as much a part of the game.
And, to round it off, the developer took a refreshingly creative approach to dialogue. Exchanges between characters in this game come in the form of thought bubbles with simple animations.
What the game gets wrong
The only thing I found that could maybe have been better was the inability to escape from a “dialog” bubble exchange that you’ve already seen.
Sum it up
Though probably closer in style to Neverhood, this is the most beautiful and challenging adventure game I’ve played since Myst and Riven. My wife saw the first few screens and played the game with me all the way through (we had to practice sharing).