Machinarium is award-winning 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.
What We Think
Amanita Design, creators of Samarost and the subsequently beautiful Samarost 2 have released their latest title. Machinarium is an all new adventure, making use of the same point-and-click mechanics, but taking place in a metropolis inhabited by robots.
The art design follows the tradition of Machinarium’s spiritual predecessors and exceeds both titles notably. Every screen appears to be hand drawn, and lovingly detailed. Amanita has constructed an ancient clockwork world for a collection of forgotten automatons. The robot denizens are whimsical and endearing: if ASIMO had this much it-factor going for him, there would be one under every Christmas tree this holiday season.
Drop Right In
As you start the game, you’re dropped in a trash heap. You’ll need to move your cursor around the screen to find points you can interact with. First things first: Get back your missing limbs! There is no immediate explanation of what led to your being deposited out the back of a flying refuse bin, nor is any reason to progress presented to you (other than wanting your limbs back) at first. To proceed to the next screen, figure out the one you’re on. Get used to that setup!
Riddle Me This…
The game is one giant string of puzzles. Some of them are deceptively straightforward. Others will have you banging your head on the wall. Fortunately, the game offers you one hint per screen (which tells you what you need to accomplish, if not how to make it happen). If you really get stuck, play through the hint book mini-game located at the top-right of the screen. Make sure to study the diagrams well: once you close the book, you’ll need to play through the mini-game again to see those same hints, which can get a little tedious. The ability to carry items seems like a good idea, but any items you collect will eventually be expended in pursuit of conquering the latest head-scratcher. No trophies for you!
Out, Damn Plot!
Once you’ve cleared a few areas, you encounter the story’s antagonists. They are three school-yard bullies who used to enjoy tormenting your character when he was young, stealing trinkets, smashing musical instruments, etc, but have now made the logical leap to plotting to blow up city hall (??).
All you need to know is that they are jerk-bots, and must be stopped. Along the way, you must save the damsel. Even robots gotta save the damsel. The pictorial explanation animations that come from other characters are adorable and enjoyable to watch, but sadly, there isn’t a lot of depth to be found in this tale.
And I Am Outta Here!
The game is certainly longer than any of Amanita’s previous creations, but its overall length is totally determined by your ability to figure out the various puzzles in the game (most of which are really ingenious). The ending just sort of…happens. It fits the rest of the story’s tone, but lacks enough oomph to feel like you’ve been rewarded for your efforts. There are no bonus items to be found (at least to my knowledge) and as the puzzles and solutions are mainly static, there is little reason to play the game again, save for revisiting the astounding visuals.
This is a great game for puzzle fanatics! They will be rewarded with the next gorgeous stage, and the next frustrating quandary. However, if you’re the type who has ever managed to get stuck in a Chinese finger trap, you might want to pass on Machinarium.
Try out the Machinarium demo
Cost – $19.99 USD