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Game Review: Machinarium
Game Review: Machinarium
Newest point and click adventure from creators of Samarost
Date: 01-11-09
Topic: Reviews & Previews
Author: Krishna Israney

About Author:
Game Designer, also part times as an Indie Fan Boy promoting games which are usually less than 36 MB

Pros:
Stunning Art, Brilliant sound design, Addictive and Challenging puzzles, Retro mini games

Cons:
Too short a story
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Game Review: Machinarium

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Machinarium PC Review

Oil those cogs in your head, cause we have a brand new point and click adventure from the makers of the famous web based game Samarost and Samarost 2, winner of IGF's best web game. Amanita Studios - the brain behind this machine is an independent game development studio founded in 2003 and based in Czech. Their work ranges from website designing to animation and of course games.



The story is kept simple, very short and yet somewhat intriguing. Everything revolves around a mechanical/robotic world , while you guide one of the many robots in the world. There are no real dialogues in the game but the use of quirky flash animations easily supplement that, and does a great job emphasizing humor while defining the characters as well as unfolding the story. You will always be making your way through mini goals which will lead you to the crux of the story. You will find a 'happy' undertone throughout the game.

Gameplay - Little more than you'd expect.




The gameplay is similar to a lot of other point and click games featuring the flash 'hand icon' to interact with objects, and a 'walk cycle' cursor to move to the various locations in a level. A combining mechanic is implemented which will not be used as frequently as you would expect. In addition to these you can also stretch yourself tall or reduce yourself to a robo-midget which will be helpful in different situations. There are a lot of mind bending puzzles included which feel like a achievement when deciphered.

Retro styled mini games that have been placed strategically in between the adventure, improving the overall flow of the game. Bugs can be found in the initial release which make the game impassable however the studio has taken care to release a patch within a week of the launch. The auto save system works great while the game still features a slot save system. A small tutorial helps the beginners to get on their toes while the 'Hint' option is a bit secretive, not revealing the entire gray area for the new comers. Hints will tell you what to do instead of how to do it. Here the 'Walkthrough book' comes in handy. Its is an awesome feature to make sure that every goal in the level is achievable at the end of the day.


Visceral - Is that air your breathing?

Machinarium involves highly detailed art work and intricate texture that you would not normally expect in any other flash based game. The visual feel and the background work is fresh and unique. The character styling blends perfectly well into the machinist world. There are robotic versions of dogs/birds/cats in the game that look detailed and grungy yet retain their animal form. Characters have simple silhouettes but are highly detailed and instantly memorable. Art even prevails in the most unexpected corners like the Walkthrough book. No surprise they won a lot awards including this years IGF for Visual Excellence.


Aural - An alien sound factory.

The feel of the game is best captured
by it background music. The score manages to portray a sense of enormity that the game showcases even though it is presented in such a small and well-crafted package. The music never seems out of place even though the pace changes from area to area. The loneliness and the isolation is captured well in the BG score of certain claustrophobic areas. It is always difficult to design music which will have to be played constantly in the background while you wreck your brains solving puzzles, however Machinarium successfully manages to keep you enchanted with the music just enough to avoid irritation. There will never be a moment when you would want to turn the volume down. The SFX along with the use of spoken word is kept minimal i.e. just enough to impress. Certain sounds will be left engraved in your memory forever. You may find yourself mimicking and making sounds like a robot, which I believe is normal.


Verdict - And the awards go to...

Because of the nature of this genre there is no real replayability attached. The puzzles towards the end can get a bit complicated and frustrating. Having taken 6 hours to complete the 30 areas of the game without hints, it definitely doesn't have a lot of offer for 20$, however with the addition of the soundtrack this becomes a must have for the point and click fans. For Indie fans I would definitely recommend to support this one, it deserves a permanent place in your HDD. For a new comer to this genre I would recommend to stay with the demo and be happy but be warned, curiosity kills the pirate.


Rating: 4/5
Demo: Machinarium




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  #1  
By vijayninel 04-11-09
Re: Game Review: Machinarium

Fascinating game. Very intriguing. Thanks for the great review kaiserbreath.
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  #2  
By Cyn1c 04-11-09
Re: Game Review: Machinarium

Awesome review there Kaiser! I love how the environment looks..brilliant design indeed. Repped and Dugg
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  #3  
By harisubs 04-11-09
Re: Game Review: Machinarium

Nice review kaiserbreath, Thanks.
I had played Samorost and Samorost 2. Will surely give this a shot.
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  #4  
By hitman02in 05-11-09
Re: Game Review: Machinarium

good review kaiser.
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  #5  
By kaiserbreath 05-11-09
Re: Game Review: Machinarium

Thanks for the support guys. This was one of the few games I didnt have to worry about setting everything on high resolution to check graphics on my mid end machine Expect more articles in the future
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  #6  
By overkill 07-11-09
Re: Game Review: Machinarium

I played it. It was awesome. Finished sooner than what I expected.. was not counting the levels.. plus I thought it'll get tougher. But amazing concept and detail and story telling style aswell.
Great review.
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  #7  
By initpidzero 07-11-09
Re: Game Review: Machinarium

nice review, i might give it a try.
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  #8  
By Prash 08-11-09
Re: Game Review: Machinarium

Great review! Keep up the good work kaiserbreath
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  #9  
By kaiserbreath 08-11-09
Re: Game Review: Machinarium

Thanks a lot for the positive feedback guys . This one had to be reviewed for the awesome synergy between Art and Gameplay.I believe indie games like World of goo, Machinarium really raise the bar and give gameplay a newer dimension.I think they are a new breed of Casual games , Matured intellectual casual games. Sanitarium anyone ?
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  #10  
By Spectre 01-12-09
Re: Game Review: Machinarium

Nice review mate! keep the reviews coming
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  #11  
By alfredbond 18-03-10
Re: Game Review: Machinarium

I played the demo on steam and quite enjoyed it. but as with all these games its mouse over the whole screen till pointer changed and try using everything with everything to win.
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