My thoughts on computer games and some of my favorite games. I’ve been playing games on my home computer since the days of the Trash 80’s. I love indie games, open world games, unique games, puzzle games and resource games. The cake is a lie.
A friend introduced me to this game back in 2009 and fell in love with it immediately.
It features a cute little robot named Josef who tries to save his girlfriend Berta from the Black Hat fraternity gang, a group of bad robots who seem to have taken over his city.
The game begins with Joseph falling into the scrapyard from a passing ship and missing some parts. Through thought bubbles and helpful visual cues, the game shows you how the robot retrieves his legs, and even attaches magnets to ropes to fish his arms out of the river below.
You get the impression from the flashbacks (communicated by small animations in thought bubbles) that the robot once lived a happy life with his friends. Now your goal is to help the robot defeat the bad robot, find his friends and help his little robot city get back to normal.
It features hand drawn elements and backgrounds. The artist said that his usual art style is too clean, it looks like a computer rendering, and the game designer really wants to draw illustrations by hand. So, he draws with his left hand! It gives the game a grungy “handcrafted” feel, unlike many of today’s flashy-looking games.
The music, composed by Floex, creates the game’s wistful, almost sad atmosphere. It combines traditional orchestral instruments with industrial sounds.
Visually, it’s a masterpiece. It is completely different from any other game and remains one of the most unique puzzle games even today.
A typical point-and-click puzzle game (Myst-style, I think) is a series of static backgrounds with clickable areas, so if the player is feeling particularly lazy, they just wave the mouse arrow around until it turns into a hand. Not so with this game. These puzzles force you to use your logic skills and do some thinking outside the box. Collecting and combining objects is important to solving some of the game’s puzzles. There are a wide variety of puzzles, some I’ve encountered in other games, and some are completely new ideas. It’s hard to come up with new puzzles, but Amanita Designs managed to come up with some challenging ones.
I think one of the best things about it is that it’s a casual game. No time pressure. no violence. Great soundtrack. Perfect for a Saturday morning cup of coffee.
Check out Machinarium on Steam developed and published by Amanita Design. Machina won an IndieCade Aesthetic Award, the 12th Annual Independent Games Festival’s Visual Arts Excellence Award, and the 2009 PC Gamer Award for Best Soundtrack. Nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction by the American Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences and the Milthon Award in the category “Best Indie Game” at the Paris Games Festival.
Amanita Design is a Czech independent studio known for its puzzle adventure games. Other games they’ve made include Samorost, Botanicula, CHUCHEL, Pilgrims, Creaks and most recently Happy Game. I’ve played almost all of them (except Happy Game) and love them all. They are also very kid friendly. My son has played Botanicula and CHUCHEL and loves them both.
There is a free playable demo on the Steam gaming platform that you can download at Machinarium. It’s an old song, but a good one. If you’ve never played Machinarium and love puzzle games, you’re in for a treat.