Machinarium, which was part of the recent Humble Bundle 2, is an enjoyable throw-back to old-school graphical adventure games.
It starts off with a nameless robot being unceremoniously dumped into a huge junkyard from a flying garbage machine, which came from the huge robot city seen in the title screen. His body falls apart on impact, giving the perfect excuse to teach you the simple controls via a short tutorial as you reassemble him. A few minutes later, you’re headed for the city.
The robot’s abilities are pretty limited. He can walk, climb, stretch his body up or scrunch it down, and extend his arms. Any items he finds are “eaten” for storage in his abdomen.
Each screen or set of screens is a puzzle, requiring you to figure out the correct combination and usage of the items found. For example, on the first screen in the junkyard, you combine a magnet and a long cable to retrieve one of your arms from a puddle of muck.
True to the graphical adventure games of old, such as Quest for Glory and Space Quest, Machinarium can often be frustrating, since it’s easy to get stuck. Fortunately, unlike its ancestors, each screen in Machinarium has one hint you can view. If you’re still stumped, you can play a short mini-game where you fly a key through side-scrolling “space shooter” levels, dodging obstacles and blasting spiders. Bring the key all the way to the keyhole and a step-by-step diagram will be displayed that details everything necessary to get past the current screen. Sure, there’s the internet these days for help, but it’s nice to have in-game assistance if needed.
Machinarium’s story is a puzzle in itself. Why did the robot get thrown into the dump? Why does he head right back to town? Who’s the female robot he sometimes daydreams about? Who are the thugs he keeps seeing in his flashbacks? Once more of the story is revealed, it gets pretty interesting.
If you enjoyed graphical adventure games twenty years ago, or if you’ve never played one but they sound like fun, then give Machinarium a shot.
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See Machinarium in action (this video is sped-up compared to normal gameplay):
Platforms: Windows | Mac | LinuxTweet
About the Author
|Markham Asylum is a founding member of Delta Attack. His tier-1 favorite genres are role-playing, puzzle, and strategy. His tier-2 are adventure, shooter, and platformer. He strives to provide spoiler-free postings whenever possible.
Markham Asylum has written 422 posts on Delta Attack.