Machinarium

Amanita Design

 

Format: PC

Reviewed: 23/05/2017

 

The Plot: Josef the robot is dumped on a scrapheap, outside of the titular city of Machinarium. He must reassemble himself, return to the city and investigate the what exactly those fiends the Black Cap Brotherhood are up to and find his beautify bride; all by the medium of inventory based puzzle solving of course.

 

 

The Review: Machinarium, like all of the Amanita Design team's games, is absolutely stunning. Fantastic hand drawn vistas and quirky characters make this game, even several years after launch, one of the most breathtakingly stunning available on PC. 

Machinarium's Beautiful Vistas

I told you it was beautiful!

One thing that will take some getting used to for veteran point and click em-upers among you is that only things within the reach of our plucky protagonist will reveal themselves to be interactive. You can just swipe your mouse randomly over the screen hoping it will who you the next step, this game needs a little more thought than that. The same can be said of some of the other puzzles too, while there are the genre standard 'use the rubber chicken with the pulley in the middle on the cable to cross the gorge' there are also some more fiendish puzzles that feel like they've come straight from a Mensa IQ test. Not that they're stupidly difficult you understand just they are more spatial awareness or memory based than just use x with y.

 

To make things a little easier Josef tosses items he no longer needs keeping your inventory trim and most puzzles only require you to go between a couple of screens so if you have to resort to mindlessly clicking on things at least you don't have far to go.

 

If you're still struggling the game the developers have added a guidebook in the game, the trick being that to unlock it you need to complete a side scrolling shooter mini game that gets tougher each time you do it. Like all the other mini-games in Machinarium this game is well put together and a fun change of pace from the main game, it's better than some of the garbage you see people charging full price for on Steam...

Thought Bubbles Give Character

That dude doesn't look friendly... protect your sand castle little dude!

While the art style and the puzzles make this game what it is the reason I love it so much is the way Amanita Design have managed to cram so much character into the mute cast. Not only is the main protagonist a wonderful everyman but all the characters feel like they have their own personalities from the grumpy police robots to the individual members of the fiendish Black Cap Gang. Adding personality to robots is never easy and in this silent world it is made all the harder but the little actions of the characters and the fun thought bubble cartoons really flesh out the story and the individuals.

 

The Score: 8/10 - Machinarium is a brilliant puzzler set in a beautiful machine city filled with interesting inhabitants. It's worth playing for the art style and puzzles alone but when you factor in how much life they managed to breathe into mute robot characters it really does make it a must play for fans of the genre.