From the makers of the Flash games Samorost 1 and 2, comes Machinarium. It’s a full-length adventure game featuring a robot who’s trying to save his girlfriend and his city from a robot gang of bullies.
The city is grimy and covered in rust. With smokestacks, pumping pistons, and troughs of sludge, it’s a place that hasn’t left the industrial age. Its robotic residents are built for their specific duties — a robot-with-a-wrench-for-a-head works in the sewers, a robot-with-ladders-for-legs works on power lines. Though designed for mindless tasks, each has its own passions — wrench robot likes listening to music, the robot beetle who lives in the junkyard just wants his doll back. You wander the city helping its denizens and trying to put a stop to the Black Cap Brotherhood.
I really, really like this game. Its atmosphere oozes with character. The soundtrack is always appropriate and great to listen to. The puzzles are sublime in their simple yet challenging presentation.
I also like its twist on a core adventure game mechanic – you, the protagonist robot, cannot interact with objects that are out of your reach. Standard adventure game procedure is to move your cursor around the screen to see what objects can be used or manipulated. You cannot do that with Machinarium. You must truly play the part of the robot hero and move him about the screen to see what can be used to contribute to your progress.
While this may seem to be an annoying extra step, your robot’s ability to extend his arms and legs wouldn’t have worked without it – and this is a function that simply couldn’t be left out of the game. When I had first heard about Machinarium I was curious about what the developer was going to do to separate this game from its Flash game fare. Though yes, the game was still programmed in Flash, this tweak to the mechanic gave it much more depth than it would have had otherwise.
The Czech indie developer, Amanita Design, has truly made a great game. Machinarium’s ratio of awesomeness to cost is off the scale. It’s offered at a small price through various distributors, so don’t pass it by – you won’t regret the purchase.