Machinarium screenshot
Machinarium screenshot

Machinarium screenshot

Machinarium review by Leandro Montesanto (english translation by Honorabili)

Developer: Amanita Design
Title: Machinarium
Release Date: October 16, 2009
Value: $20 for game + OST, physical media collector’s edition, £7
Overall Score: 10 out of 10
Free demo: http://machinarium.net/demo/
One Sentence Review: The new school of games gets its artistic avatar.

Prologue:

The game was created by the small Czech video game company Amanita Design in 2009. We play the role of the nameless robot who we’ll call “Machi” for simplicity’s sake. He is thrown out as junk into a junkyard and his mission is to rescue his girlfriend from the Black Cape brotherhood. The game is a refreshing point-and-click graphic adventure game with a unique cyberpunk setting, soundtrack, gameplay, storytelling, colorful scenery, and intricate puzzles are fresher than more contemporary games.

Gameplay, setting, & my history with this game:

Like I mentioned before, the game takes place in a cyberpunk setting although it’s extremely “cute”, which might seem strange to some. Although it is cute, the setting does remind you well of the urban sprawl, especially since every kind of robot in this society fulfills a specific kind of role. There’s poor neighborhoods filled with artists. A special detail is a church with schedules for specific robots to go pray and complete specific functions until the end of time. With it being a clever graphic adventure game, it tells the story through a comic like style of having characters talk in comic balloon dialogue popups drawn in a style that look as if a kid had drawn them but using symbols so that anybody in any country can understand what’s being said.

The gameplay takes into account distance between your character and the environment and Machi can expand and contract (stretch) his body to modify specific parts of the scenery should you need to manipulate it to complete that specific puzzle.

If we get stuck with a specific puzzle we can click the icon on the top right part of the screen which can give us a tip to try to help us solve that specific puzzle. If we really get stuck we can also refer to a guide that has a more comprehensive solve (and looks like a shoot-em-up side scrolling game in navigation).

The puzzles were hard for me but I’m not a hardcore graphic adventure game player. We see also in the game a cameo appearance of the side of the arcade machine for Space Invaders.

Music & Sounds:

The music is of great quality and at times sounds like jazz, calm then melancholic, submerging you in this bohemian world, and it seems to soothe you as you wreck your brains trying to solve the game’s many, many puzzles. It’s important to note that the music was created by Tomas Dvorak, the Czech contemporary artist, which I recommend. If you liked his work, his other work is usually published under the name Floex. The sounds in the game are well suited for how the game is and the setting is provides.

Controls & stability:

The controls are really simple. Like in every adventure game, we’re constantly using the mouse, although in the minigames we have the option to use the keyboard, which makes the interface much more intuitive and stimulating.

With respects to stability, I personally had no problems, but some friends had problems saving the game as the game saved the save game files as temporary files and any time they ran ccleanr the saved games were deleted. Since the game had that problem, Amarita Design released a patch quickly, which you can get from the company’s blog. The new versions of the game already come patched and no longer have this problem.

Value:

The digital download version can be downloaded for $20 from the Machinarium page, including the OST in mp3 format for Windows, Mac, or Linux. You can also get the game from Steam, Impulse (click here to get that version), Direct 2 Drive, and Gamers Gate. You can also get the physical version of the game for 7 pounds from ebay or amazon which includes the OST, a poster, as well as artwork, the Windows or Mac version.

Conclusion:

An unforgettable experience. I recommend playing the rest of the games from the company, especially Samorost 1 & 2.

Links of Interest:

Amanita design blog: http://machinarium.net/blog/ (you can download the demo here)
Amanita design website: http://www.amanitadesign.com/

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