Machinarium

By Melissa

Machinarium is a point and click adventure game with plenty ‘o  puzzles by Amanita Games. You are a little robot fella, who is dumped in a scrapyard and you need to reassemble yourself to proceed.

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Then what lies ahead is an awesome little story which is conveyed through thought bubble animations as the little robot tries to stop the bad robots in black hats and sunglasses who are up to no good, building what looks to be a bomb… filled with berries? The story sometimes lacks some detail, but more on that in a bit. Flashback thought bubbles make you feel empathetic towards the poor little guy, who has no name, so feel free to call him whatever you like. Anyway this robot has gotten picked on and bullied by these same mean robots who are now trying to cause havoc upon the robot world, so your robot is going to try to stop them.

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The environment is awesome and the graphic style is fun and beautiful. It’s easy to interact with the environment and your robot can grow taller and shorter at the drag of a mouse to get to those hard to reach places. You get to collect random knick-knacks you find and store them in your tin-gut to be combined and re-purposed into useful items to move the story along. There is no item-hoarding either. When you use an item and no longer need it the robot disposes of it. You don’t get bogged down carrying fifteen brooms, a coffee mug and a 55 gallon drum of turpentine, which for me is fantastic because if I’m allowed to, I’ll pick up EVERYTHING I possibly can because… I might need it!

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The first few areas, the game is pretty linear, you don’t have much choice in what you do until you progress a bit into the game. Later you have a bit of control over what to do next. As engaging as Machinarium can be, sometimes it is difficult to understand what is motivating your robot, or you even to continue. There is no XP, no reward and no explanation for why you are doing these things and how they relate to your main objective, or a clear explanation on what your main objective is. The story is somewhat limited, as only so much can be conveyed through little bubble animations so you might not know why you are helping those cool jazz guys, maybe you like sweet jazz music or something, but I’m the curious type of person that will do stuff simply because I can and this goes pretty well with the overall atmosphere of the game.

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Like any point and click game, Machinarium can get a bit frustrating at times. Sometimes you might find it a bit of a nuisance finding the right spots to click. Especially when you know what you’re trying to do but it just isn’t working until you move your cursor the tiniest bit and then you can click on it. The only other gripe I have about this game is the lack of explanation. The thought bubbles that move the story along are cute but more of a tutorial would be helpful sometimes you find yourself just mousing over the area looking for things you can interact with.

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As for the puzzles they are fun and make you think. If you get stuck, you don’t have to run to Google for the answer, Machinarium can help! You have two options; either click the hint button, you only get one per level which gives you a thought bubble hint or you can play the minigame for the answer. The minigame you control a flying key, which you navigate to a lock, while avoiding debris and spiders. If you unlock the lock, you are rewarded with the solution presented in the form of a comic, which explains the entire solution.

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Personally I like Machinarium, I like the style of it a lot. I also admit that casual puzzle games are my guilty pleasure but I dont need to be ashamed of my love for this game because it’s well done and fun. I like it when i have to think and solve puzzles sometimes when I play a game. Machinarium is a clever little game, and gameplay moves along fairly quickly, in case you don’t have a ton of time to invest. Hell, its even available for iPad and Android tablets and the PS Vita so you can play it on the go. It’s also available for Mac, Windows, Linux and PS3. It’ll set your wallet back at most a whopping $9.99 (it’s $4.99 on iPad and Android and $6.99 for the Vita) so if you like to solve some puzzles and enjoy the company of robots, give it a go.

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