Machinarium is a point and click, puzzle game, very similar to the Monkey Island and the Sam & Max series. Point and click puzzle games are one of my favourite genres of games; I love puzzles involving logical thinking. In addition I love the narrative behind most point and click games; they are usually quite complex.

Story

The story within Machinarium is not very complex. You play as a robot named Josef, who has been picked up by a rubbish-collecting airship and dumped outside of the city. You soon learn that Josef has been bullied by some big robots, who were behind him getting thrown in the rubbish-collecting airship!
These robots are trying to blow up the town by placing a bomb on the most important place in town. The reason for them doing this is unknown; however Josef must save the town, as well as saving his friends along his journey through Machinarium!

I think the story is very fitting to the game, as it is quite simple, and as the player progresses through the game they slowly learn more about what has happened, and why. I thoroughly enjoyed the story.

Game-play

As all point and click games, the controls within the game are quite easy to pick-up. A player has to click with the mouse where they want Josef to move to, and the player can also click on many objects which Josef will interact with, whether this is a story-related object, or a random object Josef will at least do a simple interaction with it. It is important that a point and click game has most of the objects you can see within the game interactive; it makes the game much harder and less obvious for the player, thus creating a more enjoyable game.

A game mechanic I really enjoyed within Machinarium was ‘growing’ and ‘shrinking’ Josef; the player can click on Josef and pull him upwards or downwards, to make him grow and shrink in size. I really love this as when Josef has been changed in size, regardless if it is smaller or taller, but he moves slower which makes I believe balances this mechanic out. For example, the player can’t constantly play as tall Josef as he walks very slowly, so the player will only use this when they have to.
Having this ability means that some of the objects Josef needs to interact with are higher up or lower down than normal in the level, which I believe makes some of the levels more difficult, as the player must think ‘outside of the box’ to solve the puzzle.

Another mechanic I felt was very useful within Machinarium was the collecting/storing/combining items mechanic. Throughout some of the levels, Josef had to collect certain objects from around the town, which he stored inside of his body, and later combined to create a hybrid item to help him progress along his journey. This was a really cool feature, although sometimes a little unrealistic, but funny. There was one item Josef picked up which was bigger than his entire body, but he was able to place it inside of him to store; I found this quite amusing.

Graphics and Audio

Machinarium is a 2D game, which is full of steam-punk inspired art. The colour scheme is made up of browns and beiges. The art is also done in a very sketchy style, which I think really suits the game perfectly. When Josef has a flash back, a sketchy speech bubble appears above his head, and a black and white sketch animation plays. I think the reason for this style of art is to link in with the robots and town, as it is very steam-punk inspired. Also, it seems like the art-style is like this; the player is playing the game from Josef’s perspective and he appears to be quite a young robot, so with some of the artwork being sketchy/simple, I believe this is to help the player relate more to Josef, and to understand that he is only a young robot.

There are many sound effects in this game; so the player can see and hear how Josef is interacting with certain objects. The music is more subtle, and it often changes depending on what is happening in the scene. Some levels are supposed to seem quite ‘scary’ and tense, and the music helps to create the feel of these levels. I think it is implemented into the game very well, and suits it nicely.

Replay-ability

In my opinion, there is nothing in the game that would make a player want to replay the game for a second time. If I could change one thing about this game, I would add collectable robot parts throughout the game, and only have some appear in the game when you play the game a second time, on a ‘game-plus’ save. This way the players might potentially play the game for a second/third time, which I believe means that you have a better game if people want to play it again.
In addition to having the player collect robot parts, it would be great if there was a secret ending that they could unlock through doing this.

Summary

I give this game a 7.5/10; this game is definitely worth playing, however I believe the replay-ability is poor. Other than that it is a great game, with beautiful artwork.

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