|14th February 2010, 10:16 AM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Dec 2009
Where do I start?
I’ll start off with a ‘Wow!’ and I think I’ll go from there.
‘Machinarium’ is a labor of love. It’s an all out, highly polished, highly stylized expression of artistic freedom in what the presentation is concerned, as well as the bonding between player and character on screen. Which character would be wise of me to mention, is a mute little robot that conveys important plot points via images and little animations.
But, as I feel the need to reiterate, this is a one game that came out of passion for all things adventure. It may not be the most challenging, or have the best story imaginable…but it is visually unique and emotionally engaging in a masterful way that too few games achieve.
The indie game scene is one foreign and alien to me. Yes, I always knew it existed but aside from the occasional mod, I never really drank from that fountain. For lack of a better reason to give, there has always been enough stuff more mainstream accessible for me to bother with the indie part of gaming.
But in doing so, I seem to have deprived myself of a gaming trend that is nowhere as visible as it is in ‘Machinarium’: there is little budget and few resources, so what comes out as a finished product needs to have a hook, and incredible hook. And there’s very little as interesting as a stunning and surreal art style.
Yes, I won’t lie to you. What this game has plenty of is style and uniqueness, but not much game going for it. Guiding the little robot through the hand drawn backgrounds, interacting with the most surprising of things, in a natural manner, yields rewards of and in itself. But the 'how' of the whole ordeal won't blow anyone's top off.
Explore, experiment, enjoy.
The three big E’s of adventure games, you’ll be hard pressed to find a more suitable demonstration than here. The world needs exploring so that it can be known, it needs experimentation so it may be understood and it fuels enjoyment like nobody’s business.
Because in the end, what you do here is actually understanding and mastering the workings of a unique universe that’s been handed a two may mirror towards our own. We voyeuristically peer through, drawing deep breaths of artistic inspiration that’s sure to follow us for a very long time.
The fantasy may wear off after a while, after getting stuck for the very first time, after a few puzzles or the first uses of the hints.
It should wear off after a while, the amazement.
It most definitely should wear off…
But it doesn’t. If anything, this game is consistent in quality and shine, in surprises thrown in with puzzles and its charm. There’s never more than is wanted, never an extreme puzzle, never something that destroys the illusion of reality.
Perhaps that’s why some may hate it. Veteran adventurers looking for fixes of really though problems need look somewhere else or come away disappointed, in spite of the production’s every attempt at wowing them into fandom.
Everyone else should fit in quite nicely.
I’ve finished this game with an immense sense of satisfaction and feeling good about games in general. Simple exploratory gameplay, with fantastic music and visual presentation, sprinkled with satisfying puzzles and enigmas proved to me that gaming has, still, much to offer.
To whom may ever say games, as a medium, have lost momentum and the creation muse, I will point them to the industrious city of ‘Machinarium’. I’ll print their words of disbelief on the souls of their shoes and force consumption upon them.
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