Machinarium

It’s good but not great. It falls prey to the usual point-and-click peril, where you get stuck because you don’t realize that some particular thing is interactable. It’s made worse than usual here because the character moves slowly and can only interact with nearby objects, so it’s particular easy to miss something because you never walked close to it. I also had some trouble figuring out what my inventory items actually were – what turned out to be a piece of flypaper was particularly inscrutable. It works better early in the game, where all the puzzles are confined to single rooms, and so the potential interactions are limited, but once the game opened up I found I had to resort to a walk through with increasing frequency.

Nonetheless, the animation is gorgeous. Despite (and because of) the game’s wordlessness, it manages to pack an impressive amount of personality and emotional. The tremendously expressive robots lie end up very much on the right side of the uncanny valley. I also love the homages to classic games embedded throughout.

It’s a shame about the slow character movement and occasional back-tracking. It gives the impression of a game that doesn’t respect my time. But it was otherwise enjoyable, and there some clever puzzles, both of the inventory manipulation type and of the pure puzzle kind. And the late-game sliding block puzzle can just go to hell (even if it is a fairly novel take on the genre.)

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