Mark Gritter (markgritter) wrote,
Mark Gritter
markgritter

Machinarium

I acquired Machinarium via the Humble Bundle--- it was something I was a little interested in but wasn't a game I was prioritizing.

I currently don't have a lot of patience with the point-and-click adventure genre, particularly when the art is as detailed and gorgeous as this game. A world rich in intangibles (art, sound, music) just emphasizes how poor it is in tangibles: objects and interactions. So I have a very low threshold before I start looking for a walkthrough, because the puzzles seem arbitrary exercises in clicking.

For example, at one point in the game I knew I needed a lens. I was in a greenhouse, and the greenhouse window was depicted as cracked and shattered. Could I break off a piece of glass and try to use that? No. Instead, a pre-built lens was hiding in a location that made no sense. Determining which objects in the scene you can actually pick up or interact with seems purely trial-and-error. I realize a puzzle with plenty of red herrings might be even more frustrating--- but that's sort of my point. If I can think of a solution to the puzzle that is physically feasible given the parts on-screen, I should at least be able to try it instead of hunting around for the sole object I can actually pick up and use. Solutions that are of the form "you can slide down this pole, but not any of the other architectural features" aren't really fair to the player.

I managed to mostly enjoy the game, anyway--- there were enough "aha" moments to keep me interested, and the logic mini-games were fun enough. It's cute, and for all my grumping about the nature of the puzzles, the solutions to several of them were neatly hinted at in the environment or animations. On the other hand, if I'd realized that my goal was saving the local monarch, I might not have been as motivated in keeping the bomb from blowing up. (And what was the reward? Exile.)

[ When selecting which icon to use for this post I thought of the perfect Dr. Zoidberg quote that I needed, but by the time I came back to add this note I had forgotten what it was. Any suggestions? ]
Tags: games, review
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