#933 Machinarium

Posted: 1st July 2013 by Jeroen in Games
Tags: , , ,

251st played so far


Genre: Adventure
Platform: PC
Year of Release: 2009
Developer: Amanita Design
Publisher: Amanita Design

Recipe: Take a developer known for creating eclectic adventures like Samorost. Add in cute robots and rusty cities. Get some Rube Goldberg contraptions and make larger puzzles out of it. Put in a few bits of heart.

All of that together gets you Machinarium. A lovely adventure game we just had to finish. So we did. First game of the fifty, and it’s a charming start. More so when you compare it to other fifty starters like The Path.

Our Thoughts

Thanks to the people of Steam and free tools online we are seeing a large resurgence in point-and-click adventures. Not so long ago Time, Gentlemen Please! was completed by myself in the name of this blog. Now, I have done the same with Machinarium. What can I say, I’m a sucker for point-and-clickers if they maintain my interest for the first 45 minutes. In total it took about 5 hours to complete this game, one of those rare occasions that both the conditions of this blog.

The puzzles themselves are an interesting mix. While a lot are the usual fare, use as many items on as many objects as possible, the game adds in its own twists. First, the size-changing of our robot partner means that you have to try some things a few times to make sure you’re not missing out on anything, and its insistence on correct positioning is as much something to be careful with.

The more interesting puzzles, however, are actual puzzles. Sliding puzzles, moving pegs around boards and other minigames like it. It changes the game slightly, less adventury than we expected, but just as challenging – far more so, in fact. We got stuck a few times, but by using these puzzles progression felt more logical than unorthodox item combinations. Something else that helps is the hints system. If you want a quick pointer to what needs to be done then you have the light-bulb button that gives you a vaguer hint. For a more comprehensive hint (or solution) you have to successfully complete a scrolling shooter mini-game. I like to think this is just how our little robot friend accesses the deeper recesses of his brain.

Speaking of our little robot friend, just how cute is this game! For a robot city everything seems remarkably human. Robot animals populate certain areas (including  a cat you have to electrocute) and puzzles involve cooking down machine parts, vacuum-cleaner grappling hooks and growing pitcher plants. Not to mention the odd idea of having the heads of robot animals on the walls of your abode or a robot actually being bothered by a swarm of flies.

Unlike most adventure games there is really only one option; interact. This does streamline a lot of the gameplay so you can focus on the nature of the puzzles but there was one issue. In order to carry off such an interaction you have to be close to where you are clicking or nothing actually happens. It’s a small niggle but after a while it gets irritating. However, this is easily glossed over when you start playing with your robots ability to grow and shrink. One of the many cute reasons this is an adventure game worth sampling.

Final Thoughts

It’s not a long game, and the hint modes mean that it’s not that difficult anyway. It’s charming and, despite its occasional control issues, fun. If anything, it’s a stronger adventure game than its predecessor Samorost. One of those games that’s worth playing through.