This article was written as an example mini-review for my new media globe project.
Machinarium is a perfect game if you like naive fairy-tale plots and great artwork. It also has some other good stuff, such as fun puzzles to solve and cool minigames to play. The game is what they call independent, and its marketing budget is only 1000 bucks, which is quite impressive taking how much work was done here. If you want a game reference of what has the most similar stuff to this puzzle-adventure, you are looking for a highly underrated game from a guy named Doug TenNapel and Steven Spielberg's studio DreamWorks Interactive called Neverhood. Developers took 3 mil tons of plasticine and created probably one of the best point-and-click adventures in the history of interactive media.
As you might have already guessed, Machinarium offers us the same level of greatness as Neverhood, which makes it simply the best adventure in like ten years. The coolest thing about both games is this unforgettable feeling of presence you get playing them. The game world in Machinarium is rather steam-punky futuristic, with only robots living there, which is quite odd if you think about it without the Robots cartoon comparison.
The plot tells us about a little robot, who tries to stop his city from being captured by a bunch of bad guys. I'm not going to spoil it for you, but there is one thing you should know about it and it is that there are no words in the game at all. All you get for dialogs is comic-like thinking bubbles, which look quite funny and atmospheric.
We also get hints via these bubbles and believe me, you want to get a hint here, because some puzzles in the game are quite hard to find a solution for. Speaking of which, you can always open an in-built comic-book, describing each scene of the game in detail, giving player a perfectly clear idea of what and how to do next. Some people might say that it takes all of the fun away, but I really don't think so. Instead, it makes the game absolutely suitable for kids and those adults who don't have much time to waste on a puzzle which is too hard to solve. In order to open the book, you have to win in a simple arcade game, which involves killing spiders with a shooting key. Sounds crazy, but looks quite natural in there.
The game also has a beautiful interpretation of the old arcade machine back from the 1978 called Space Invaders. Frankly speaking, I was not even born yet, when those were in use, but we all know how that kind of 8-bit oldschool is popular nowadays. And the best thing about it is that you don't have to pay coins for playing on it: you get money for winning instead! Isn't that like living a childhood dream?
All in all, the game is awesome and you probably should at least check out the free demo, which can be downloaded at machinarium.net/demo/. And if you haven't tried Neverhood back in the mid-90's, you must see it as well.