Machinarium is a brilliant, quirky little game by the independent group Amanita Design. It’s a puzzle-based adventure featuring a beautifully drawn and imagined world of robots, but which contains no dialogue. The story is told entirely through animated thought-bubbles, and describes the travails of your character – a small robot whose broken body is dumped into the junkyard in the introduction of the game – as he goes about righting the wrong done to him and his friends. This is achieved a variety of puzzles, mostly your usual treasure hunt for objects and then figuring out what to do with them, but also a few real brain teasers.
The majority of these puzzles are quite fun to solve, but a couple of them are on the extreme side (including one that requires a minimum of 72 moves to solve). Given you have no choice but to complete them in order to progress, nobody will blame you for hunting down a walkthrough. The game also features quite a few little sub-games, such as a Space Invaders clone within the quest itself, but also a cool hint system implementation whereby you play through a brief side-scrolling shooter in order to unlock a hint.
Easily the best thing about this game is its artistic design, in hand-drawn style. There’s heaps of detail in both the characters and background scenery, and the animation of the characters is really cute and endearing. The music is interesting too, very apt to the game world, and not at all repetitive or intrusive.
It’s a very short game – I completed it over a couple of sessions over the weekend – but worth every cent, both for the experience itself and also in support of indie developers.