Machinarium Reader Review
Machinarium is a point and click adventure game by Amanita Games, the guys behind the Samorost and Samorost 2 flash games. Like those two games, Machinarium is all about making your way through a world that consist out of beautiful hand-drawn backgrounds. It may be traditional and a little difficult, but Machinarium really has the biggest heart.
The game starts out as you, a little robot, are dropped in a junkyard. Why this has happened is not immediately apparent. In fact, the reasons for solving the puzzles are not really clear. Rest assured that the story is pretty good though, as it involves a pair of terrorist/bullies, a girl-robot-friend and a huge bomb. And this all against the backdrop of a steampunk-ish robot city that is as ugly as it is beautiful.
Machinarium adheres to the classic point-and-click formula, with one little twist: you can only interact with the object within a specific radius of yourself. This makes some parts of the game a bit tedious, as you walk around trying to interact with everything in the area. The game can also be pretty difficult at times. Most of the object combining puzzles are well-balanced, but some of the more abstract logical puzzles can be somewhat tough (at least, for me). The game even includes a built-in walkthrough. You have to solve a little side-scrolling-shooter-minigame before you can access these guides though. You can also ask for one hint in every time, which often reveals the specific goal of the room.
Of course, the most striking aspect of Machinarium are the graphics. Rest assured that it is one of the best-looking games of all time. The game didn't win the Excellence in Visual Art award at the 12th Annual Independent Games Festival for nothing. Every part of machinarium is hand-drawn in a beautiful way. The most striking aspect of the drawing was the fact that despite the fact that the city was actually wasting away, it still came across as beautiful and peaceful. The animations for the robots are absolutely spot-on, making for some of the cutest robot's ever. But it's not only the art style that makes the game beautiful. For some reason the game just feels… honest. Every emotion it displays rings true, despite the fact that we're talking about robots with limited facial expressions. When I saw an old man-robot ask our little robot to fill up his oilcan, and then watched as the robot just accepted the man's request without a second of hesitation almost brought tears to my eyes. You can't help but wonder how the developers made the love between the little robot and his robot girl-friend look so genuine. Most movies with real humans can't bring it this convincing. In this regard, Machinarium has a lot in common with Pixar's masterpiece, WALL-E.
The sound is also something special in Machinarium. The music in this game consists out of absolutely beautiful ambient electronic music. It set the mood just right for the entire game. As for the voice acting… there is none. In fact… there's no text to read either. That's right, Machinarium doesn't feature spoken OR written dialogue. Instead, the developers have opted for animated chat bubbles. The effect this has is truly amazing. You'll be seeing stories told in the most liveliest of ways. You'll often be laughing with the chat bubbles because they are just animated so well, or be on the brink of tears because it conveys emotions so well. When you see these things happen on-screen you'll realize you're playing something truly remarkable.
It's time for the points!
Presentation: Machinarium has a clean interface, and no bugs. The story setup is intentionally non-existent, and in really pays off. 9/10.
Graphics: This doesn't requite any explanation. Just look at some of the screens on the 'net. And it looks even better in action, as the animations are awe-inspiring. 10/10.
Gameplay: It may be traditional, but every puzzle is original and fun to solve. The game is particularly satisfying when it comes to solving some of it's hardest. 7/10
Sound: The game contains some of the best music ever to appear in a game, period. 10/10.
Story: The story in this game is just so real… so honest. You'll be moved to tears by a bunch of robots. 10/10.
Value: The game is quite short (about 6 hours) and there isn't much reason to come back after you finish it. It's only 20$ though. 5/10.
CONCLUSION: It may be traditional, but Machinarium is one of the most beautiful experiences ever to grace the medium. 9/10.
P.S. I apologize for any spelling/grammar errors or other inconsistencies. English is not my first language.