“Machinarium” is a point-and-click game, and the first full-length game from Amanita Design, best known for their browser game “Samorost”. You play a robot named Josef and you’re dropped in pieces into a wasteland. Your goal is to navigate through the wasteland that is your planet, and eventually a small robot inhabited city, in order to rescue your girlfriend.
“Machinarium” does use a couple interesting mechanics that set it apart from other point-and-click titles. The first is you cannot click on anything not near you. If you want to grab an object, you have to tell Josef to walk over to the object, or you have to navigate around the screen in order to get into grabbing distance. The second mechanic deals with Josef. Your character has the ability to stretch or shrink their body, giving you the ability to reach places you would not otherwise be able to. You are a robot after all so the idea of telescoping parts does not seem out of place and adds to the puzzle element of the gameplay.
The story of “Machinarium” is told entirely through thought bubbles in comic book like fashion. The only difference though is instead of words filling these bubbles, simple images fill the empty space so as to give the idea that you are looking into the character’s mind’s eye.
If you get stuck at any point in the game though, have no fear! In each area you are able to access one hint, presented as a drawing, showing what you might do to progress. If that’s not enough to get you unstuck, there is a walkthrough built into the game. Again though, instead of text telling you what to do, you are shown a series of drawings explaining how to move forward through the screens. The sketches remind me of the famous Leonardo da Vinci works from his notebooks, showing the “Vitruvian Man” and his “Flying Machine” among others.
All of the environments in the game feature gorgeous hand-drawn backgrounds. There is so much depth to the world of “Machinarium” and each background is jam-packed with little details, such as robots walking around or machines operating in certain fashions. The movements of objects, foreground and background alike, are very crisp and visually appealing.
The length of the game was my biggest disappointment. I would estimate it took me between two and four hours to finish this game, which is not to say I disliked the game. I enjoyed it very much, but wished it had lasted longer. That being said though, the experience within the game felt complete, even with the short playtime. I guess a longer game is just wishful thinking on my part.
One of the biggest highlights of the game for me is the soundtrack. The music perfectly captures the machine-based setting. My favorite track is called The Robot Band Tune, and though it was not included in the game’s soundtrack, I wholeheartedly think it should have been. Click the blue link above and listen to that marvelous clarinet (soprano sax?) as it graces your eardrums.
As it is, “Machinarium” is a wonderful point-and-click game, and if this review has spurred interest in you, I highly recommend it. The music, artwork, and storytelling are all superb, and despite being slightly short, this is a game that art fans should not miss. You can find “Machinarium” on Steam for PC.
A big thanks goes to Amanita Design for the review copy!
- Moving soundtrack
- Beautiful environments
- Unique storytelling method
- Very short game
- Sometimes objectives are unclear