Amanita Design are probably most famous for the Samorost games, and while Machinarium as their first really long production is a lot more solid in many ways, it is quickly obvious that they are sticking to their strengths. Machinarium extends on the Samorost series by having an inventory, more complex and varied in-game puzzles as well as a bigger world with more backtracking, but it is still a rather straightforward and simple adventure game with odd characters wordlessly bringing the story forward. And I do mean that in the best possible way, for while it might not be the most earth-shaking experience of recent times, Machinarium is a joy to play through.

As far as adventure games go, Machinarium is fairly logical. There is the odd action that is really hard to predict, or the few places where you need to click a really small area to pick up some nearly invisible object, but usually you are constricted to a select few areas so even when you have to revert to trying everything on everything you usually find the solution pretty quickly. Also, the game sports an in-game walkthrough that you can unlock for any specific area by playing a short shoot-em-up- game for a minute or two; not a particularly good game in itself, maybe, but an interesting twist that makes you feel like you have at least done something to earn your progress when you look in the cheatbook. Also, the presentation of the game is really good – both the music and the graphics are well-made and fit the setting very well. Machinarium won the IGF excellence in visual arts award last year, I am personally reminded of the works by Sven Nordqvist by the designs although that probably is only due to my own upbringing.

Machinarium is not the perfect game, it is sometimes annoying to have to put an item back into the inventory once you have found out it doesn’t work, and a few puzzles feel kind of tacked-on and hard to find. It is a very nice game, though.

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Posted on Oct 18/09 by Saint and filed under Reflections | No Comments »