Machinarium in Review – Original, stylish and charming robotic adventure
Regardless of my complete lack of adoration for Flash-based games, it wouldn’t be fair to say nothing good has ever come out of them. Even more so, a few Flash titles have enjoyed release as standalone products over the years and have gained immense popularity. And no, I’m not talking about those millions of casual time-wasters. I’m talking about the unique masterpieces by Amanita Design – Samorost 1 and 2, which paved the way for the genius Machinarium. Well guess what? The latter has finally found its way onto the iOS as an iPad 2 exclusive.
Machinarium is quite a traditional point-and-tap adventure game, at least at first glance. A small charming robot is dumped out of a passing flyer. After collecting its thoughts and spare parts, the robot sets out on a journey to get back to the sprawling metropolis to reunite with its better half. And in the process, foiling a plot to blow up the city’s tower by the thuggish trio of black-capped robots.
Interestingly enough the puzzle progression in Machinarium is completely reversed compared to almost any other adventure game I’ve played. Most games offer a bunch of semi-parallel tasks in the beginning, progressing to more streamlined goals closer to the end. Contrary to this the first puzzles in Machinarium are almost all one-screeners. Only in the middle of the game do areas spanning more than one or two screens begin to appear. The puzzles themselves offer a wide array of both inventory and mini-game varieties, all superbly designed and quite ingenious really.
A hallmark of Machinarium is the complete lack of dialogues. Oh no, naturally you interact with other NPCs but all information is exchanged via images akin to how you would communicate with natives on a remote island. Another interesting find is the fact that you can stretch or shrink your robot, which adds an extra dimension to the puzzles. Finally if you’re stuck, a full walkthrough for any screen is available following a short side-scrolling shooter mini-game. If I had to be picky, I would complain that once you open up a walkthrough page for a specific area, you shouldn’t have to go through the mini-game to see it again for that same location.
Visually Machinarium is probably one of the best games I’ve ever seen. Each screen is a masterpiece of graphic art and the soundtrack is worthy of an independent release in iTunes. The controls have been perfectly adapted with intuitive one-tap-does-it-all mechanics. You really wouldn’t be able to tell that it has been originally created as a Flash game, at least until you see the hardware requirements. Yep, Machinarium offers support only for Apple’s latest tablet – the iPad 2, leaving iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad 1 owners drooling hopelessly.
It’s rare to find such pieces of art as Machinarium on any platform and I’m joyful that it finally made its way to iOS, this despite its roots in dreaded Flash. If you do have an iPad 2, it’d be a crime not to pick up the stylish and chaming adventures of the little robot. Outstanding graphics and the unique way of storytelling that breaks all language barriers, the game will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression in your heart and mind.
With this I declare Machinarium officially touched!
|Reviewed Ver:||1.2||Min OS Req:||4.0|