Developer: Amanita Design
Publisher: Amanita Design
Adventure - PC
HDD, 6 Save Files
Yes, yes, another PC point-and-click adventure game. This may be the last one I review for a while (although, I'm working on the original Myst so I could be lying) . But what an amazing point-and-click adventure this is.
What sucks you in immediately are the hand-drawn visuals and a soundtrack that feels choreographed to each situation. machinarium oozes atmosphere. You feel like you're in a post-apocalyptic alternate world populated only by mechanical entities. Characters squeak as they move. Most of the overworld has a cold, rusty and abandoned feel to it.
One charming detail I enjoyed is the way the story unfolds. The story is told not in cutscenes or text, but through simple pictures and animations in character word bubbles. This gives the game more of a universal appeal, not having to deal with language and complements the game world that much more.
But the heart of machinarium is its puzzles. Every step of the way, you're in the midst of trying to solve one or multiple puzzles. Sometimes you're stuck in a room, and need to find items and manipulate objects to figure a way out. Other times, you come across a locked boxes which require deciphering logic puzzles to open. There are a lot of creative puzzles scattered throughout the game, and no two are the same. Many will challenge even the best puzzlers out there. I admit I had to resort to a FAQ on a couple occasions, but when I struggled through and finally overcame many of the puzzles on my own, the sense of accomplishment was incredible. Best of all, I love how machinarium offers the player an single hint for each room. It's completely optional, but will prove vital when you have no idea what to do.
machinarium is utterly brilliant. As far as puzzle-adventure games go, this is my favorite. It offers mental challenge after mental challenge, but you never feel like the game is unfair. Sure, it doesn't offer quirky humor or make you fall in love with the characters like other adventure games do. But in its focus to create a logic-based puzzle adventure game, machinarium is unrivaled. Kudos to Amanita Design for bringing it. Their next project, Botanicula, is just around the corner.