Habboi's Blog of Games Design and All Things Awesome!

A Blog made of Awesome and Kittens. ;-)

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Machinarium Review

Machinarium is a flash-based, point-and-click adventure game developed by Amanita Design, the creators of the excellent Samorost series.

The game took an amazing 3 years to create and the end result is something spectacular. The art style is all hand drawn and touched up on the PC and definitely gives the game a unique style that really captures your imagination about the world you are walking in. Speaking of the world, the game features some fantastic animation that brings the characters to life and makes you think "Wow".

I really fell in love with the "thought bubbles" which appear when you don't press anything for a short duration. They show off some of the back-story between the protagonist and his robot girlfriend and generally make you laugh hysterically.

'The art style is really beautiful.'

The game features some of the best collection of songs I have heard in a game this year and I believe that Tomas Dvorak has really captured the feeling of each area that you are playing in. One of my favourite songs is Mr Handagote and you can hear it below:

The puzzles are solved by clicking on objects of interest and either combining them with other objects or using them on the environment to progress. However the overall impression given was that the game featured lots of environmental puzzles but instead I felt that the game had too many logical puzzles and mini-games such as the second arcade machine where you move blocks in a certain order to get to the exit or the brain mini-game where you shoot viruses.

I believe they included a "Space Invaders" mini-game because they wanted to remind the younger gamers about a time when computer games were simple. Unfortunately I feel that they were also used to prolong the life of the game and it worked because the game took me a staggering 8 hours to complete.

'The game features an inventory.'

Now if you are like me and you are not always good at solving puzzles then you can either keep on trying or look up a guide and thankfully, Amanita have supplied an in-game book that unlocks once you pass a little test. You control a little key and have to avoid spiders by shooting them. At the end, the player reaches the key-hole and the book opens up revealing fantastic drawings of what you have to do to solve the puzzle. The only issue I have with this mechanic is that to sway you off doing it again, you have to repeat the mini-game even if you have unlocked it already.

Of course no game is perfect and there are a few issues that have come up during my play-through such as minor glitches where the robot "zaps" to certain places when clicking on objects. I also noticed that certain items could be used on places where they should not have, causing the game to break and forcing the player to restart if they saved it.

I also found that one particular puzzle kept disappearing if you took too long to click and that was especially irritating for my mother who does not play games and was trying to understand the mechanics.

'I love the little references to Samorost. (Make sure to click the robot)'

You may also be surprised to hear that the game was made using Adobe Flash and it is amazing how it compares to professional games which use more complex programming such as C++. I noticed a lot of reviewers complained about the right click function which brings up the Adobe menu and that can't be avoided however the game never specifies to use it which is why I can't understand why they complain about it.

Lastly, I felt that the ending was a little short and without spoiling it I will say this:

If you have seen "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" then think back to the lift scene near the end. Imagine watching it take off and then suddenly it cuts off as the lift smashes through the glass. That's the best way to describe it in my opinion and I really wish they had just added one last scene like in Samorost 2 where the protagonist dances with the space taxi driver.

Overall Machinarium is a fantastic adventure with a beautiful soundtrack and has many thrilling puzzles that even your parents would enjoy solving.

I know mine do...

Play the demo here and please buy it if you enjoyed it because it helps the team develop new games in the future: http://machinarium.net/demo/

(They slowed it down a little in order to make it last longer and in my opinion, the game looks a lot better when playing the full version as it supports fullscreen.)

P.S. I would like to add that the game won the Excellence in Visual Art award at the 12th Annual Independent Games Festival.

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Saturday, 10 October 2009

Machinarium by Amanita Design

If you've never heard of the Samorost series then you seriously need to open your ears because it is by far one of the most immersive games you'll probably ever play. Go now! Play them for free!



Now back to the topic, Machinarium. The game is similar to the Samorost series in that it is an artistic, immersive point and click adventure game. The attention to detail is amazing in terms of story and the art that makes up the environment.

Now the game isn't out until the 16th October 2009 but you can grab the demo on Steam and I've heard of a rumoured hidden version with an extra puzzle although you might as well wait till the full game comes out.

One of the best elements in Amanita's games is the music by Tomas Dvorak. I would go as far as to say that it makes the games what they are. Tomas has a real talent for making ambience that really reflects the area that you're in. Very powerful.

Overall there will always be some people who won't enjoy it and in a way I pity them because I just feel it's one of those spiritual games where you really feel part of the world, similar to Shadow of the Colossus.

Pre-order it now! Support the indie developers as it's very difficult to gamble and develop such an adventurous game only for it to not sell well!

(Source Image: http://machinarium.net/gallery.html - Date Accessed: 10 October 2009)

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