Machinarium Review (PC)
Posted by Robert Hedlerfog, Oct 29, 2009 08:08
The founder of Amanita Design, Jakub Dvorský, 30, from the Czech Republic with strong artistic family influences has put his soul and feel for art into the game. As a student he made the well-known and unusual flash game Samorost as a degree project. The Amanita Design Studio, started by Jakub and his student friend and animator Václav Blín in 2003, has already been awarded two prestigious prizes this year for Machinarium - The IndieCade 08´s - Aesthetics Award and the Independent Games Festivals - Excellence in Visual Art Award.
The game is taking place in a barren environment, similar to the Wall-E movie. Despite all the mechanical gadgets and robots, there is plenty of humanity that sentimentally softens the player’s view of the robot society. There are jazz playing robot musicians, runaway robopets, robot citizens, all with special activity and human-like traits. These bits of humanism in the otherwise cold robot reality are what make the game so alive and personal. There is constantly that underdog feeling impregnating the game and you can’t help but taking Josef’s (named after the Czech artist Josef Capek, who coined the word “robot”) destiny as your own and loyally help “him” on his journey toward his worthy goals.
There are also bad robots of course, hoodlums, sadistic wardens, intolerant police robots, busy shop owners, and other authoritarian types taking any chance to make life difficult for the citizens. One has a feeling that the game is also an allegory and a subtle tool for the game makers to allow them to display through the world of Machinarium their own outlook of the world. Jakub has in interviews stated that writers like Stanislav Lem, Douglas Adams, Jules Verne, Ray Bradbury, Stanley Kubrick and Karel Zeman, who had a similar outlook of the world in common, influence him. They all in their own way wanted to tell the world what kind of world we really live in and ask us all to react before it is too late.
A novelty in Machinarium is the nonverbal communication system. All communication is made through sketches in talking bubbles above the communicating characters. The sketches are well made and cleverly done and the communicated messages are clear. No tedious text to skim through! The team felt that it was abundant with text communication when the sketches did a better job and admittedly thought they were not capable of a good written dialogue so they chose another solution. Their game Machinarium has single-handedly taken back a lot of territory from other gaming genres and revived the charm and importance of the click and point adventures. Welcome Machinarium, to a very well earned and stable place on the throne for point-and-click adventure games!
Rating: 5.0, votes: 12