Machinarium – Review

Machinarium is a point and click adventure unlike any I’ve played before. Firstly there is the look of it which is like a gorgeous graphic novel come to life. Second is the dialogue, or total lack of it. Nobody speaks other than via weird noises and you instead get what they are saying via little word balloons which appear over their heads. Well, I say word balloons, there are no words in them, just funky little scribbled animations from which you get the whole backstory of the game and are never left unsure as to what your goal should be. Also the music is really atmospheric and well done and I had the weird experience of stopping the game and having my wife in the next room ask why I’d turned off the cd as she was enjoying listening to it as background while she was reading.

If you’ve played a point and click adventure before you know the usual drill of “Find object A to use in Location B with item C” and this game does have that. It also has some really clever little logic puzzles and even some arcade games. For example in order to get a battery you need you first have to get an arcade token, take this to the arcade, power up the space invaders game using a bicycle powered generator and then get the high score in order to win a cash prize. This combination of traditional adventure game, plus arcade, plus puzzle really helps keep your interest.

It’s a bit hard to properly gauge the difficulty of this game as every location you visit has two help buttons. The first, shown as a small lightbulb in the corner gives you a visual clue of what your overall objective should be. The second which is a book, takes you to a mini game which if you complete gives you a comic book page with a full step by step of everything you need to do at that location. Yes, this is brilliant if you get totally stuck and frustrated, but if like me you get frustrated very quickly this can allow you to get more help than you probably should and can make for a much shorter gameplay experience.

At a cost of £12.50 I got three evenings worth of play, which would probably have been more were I less inclined to use the help. That said, the beautiful graphics and gorgeous music did make for an enjoyable visit to this weird little world and while I would have liked it to have gone on a little longer I didn’t feel cheated at all.

But don’t take my word for it. Go here : http://machinarium.net/demo/ and play the start of the game online for free.

GS Reviewer: Richard McAuliffe

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