“SteamPunk Week: Machinarium” by Silenced Requiem


What I Expected:

At first I didn’t know it was a game, it was just too darn pretty. But as I figured out, it was a game, and it was a pretty one. As to what kind of game…I had no idea initially. I sat staring at my screen for a minute or so trying to figure out what was going on at first. And then it clicked, Ohhhh, it’s a puzzle game where you click stuff. I GET IT.

I had originally wandered across Machinarium maybe a year or so ago, then my computer’s hard drive failed and I lost the link to it. Until recently it was given to me. So I reinstalled it, remembering those few days I played the demo oh so long ago…still hoping it would run on my computer.

AND IT DID. it’s pretty and runs on my laptop! I shouldn’t really be surprised, it is after all 2-D. But I’ve learned not to get my hopes up too high.

What We Got:

A nice puzzle/adventure game set in a sort of grungy world inhabited by robots. There is no real text or dialogue in this game. Everything is explained through drawings or animations. When the robots communicate with each other it’s through small animations in one of those comic book speech bubbles. This works a rather better than I thought it might.

So you start out following Josef after he’s been dumped in the scrapyard, the poor bloke. He’s in pieces, quiet literally, and your first challenge is to reassemble him. This first level pretty much teaches you the basics of what you will need to know to continue with the rest of the game: Be observant, click everything, Josef can make himself shorter/taller, you can put items together to make a new item, and when in doubt there’s hints and a walk-through.


As soon as our little robot is rebuilt he waddles off to the city, where if you complete that puzzle he finds his way in. Making his way around he overhears some other robots making plans to blow up the city tower. Josef is caught and dumped in jail, (yeah, poor little guy has no luck). From there we follow him from his cell and through the city as he helps citizens of the city and eventually finds out what the robots from before were up to. Some of the puzzles can be a little difficult, I know for me one of the early ones that involved pressing all these switches and waiting to see what happens became difficult to sit through after a while. …Yeah I know, I could have used the little light bulb that didn’t help me much. I knew what I had to do, but figuring out how to do it is a completely different matter. So finally after watching Josef swivel his head in frustration for a while I went to look at this so-called walk through.

It wasn’t what I expected. I guess I expected big arrows telling ‘here stupid, this is what you do.’ Instead I was greeted with a mini-game before I could get the information I wanted. It was a pleasant surprise. On the cover of the book is a little screen with the mini-game. The mini-game itself is a side-scroller that is pretty much like those old arcade games where you have the little spacecraft that you shoot missiles at things and avoid obstacles. In Machinarium’s your spacecraft is a key, your obstacles are bricks, and enemy airships are spiders. The point is to make it through everything unharmed so the key can get to the lock. Unlock it and there’s your prize, that fantastic ‘here stupid, this is what you do” but in the form of some really wicked artwork. It takes you through what you need to do in the level step by step in a neat little comic that’s surprisingly easy to understand. (Of course at the end I wanted to do the epic /Captain Picard Facepalm because it was pretty obvious what I needed to do, I just have a way of being oblivious.)

Conclusion:

It’s a grungy, yet wickedly beautiful game. The art is amazing and makes every inch of it interesting to look at. The game’s beauty is probably what really sold me on it right off the bat. It’s quirkiness and almost cartoon-ish (that’s probably not a word, BUT OH WELL) way of going about things was just an added bonus for me. Machinarium is a fun little game of puzzles in a world where robots are the main inhabitants. The music is absolutely wonderful to boot.

Also, I didn’t realize this before, but as I’m typing this I have the game sitting in the background and when he’s idle Josef’s little speech/thought bubble pops up with memories and stuff. It’s cute. c:

Overall Rating: 

If you like quirky little puzzle games this may be for you. I would have bought it if I had the money the first time I came across it, but after my hard drive failed I forgot about it. Thankfully I was lucky enough to not be the only person to know about this game and someone gave it to me.

The full game is $20, but you can play the demo on the their website here: Machinarium

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