Czech independent studio Amanita Design
This is quite an unusual game and the independent developers deserve a well earned thumbs up for their efforts. It is for the most part a puzzle game which has a story. I have not seen the boxed version having bought the slashed sale price offered by the developers. They named it The Pirate Amnesty Sale which was to conclude on August 12. However, a check of their website moments ago found they extended the sale to August 16th. You still have time. What you get is the drm free download of the complete game and a separate sound track file. You have a choice of PC, Mac, or Linux download files. All that for $5.00. You can hardly go wrong. The reason I went to look was the downloaded game gives you zero information. You enter the game world clueless with no idea of what the story is. You don't know your character's name or what your mission is. The website does not tell you either, though I did not dig an awful lot.
Rushes in his Gameboomer review tells us that you are a robot relegated to a junk heap. The Black Cap Brotherhood who are set on destruction in their bid to take over the city. Your role is to help him find his way back home, rescue his robot-girlfriend. Thanks to Rushes I had that much information. Either he is a mind reader or the boxed version said that much. Armed with that information I set out to achieve that goal.
Before I get into the game here is the address where you can find the game. Developer
At the bottom of the page look at the Forum link there is considerable info there and you can even find a walk through. You may very well need it. The faq page may also be useful. There is another walk through on this site Gamesolves
A bit of house keeping. If you saw the thread where people were having issues with the saves in this game I found where they hid them. When starting the game I quickly made a save then shut down the game. I want to know where the saves are. I have to confess these guys did a first rate job of hiding them. But I ferreted them out. Like I said I want to know where people hide things on my PC and leave no bytes unturned. Here is the convoluted address for Win XP
C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Macromedia\Flash Player\#SharedObjects\FS9EFS9F\localhost\Program Files\Machinarium\machinarium.exe
The save file is named machinarium.sol Now then the issues with this. You have six save slots, however, even though six slots show up in the game each time you save it overwrites the last. Your solitary machinarium.sol remains on your hard drive. The date and time change in the date modified listing and size of file is the only clue the save is updated. I uninstalled the game and the save remained. I am not sure what the issue was people were having with losing their saves. Perhaps it was a matter of not knowing where they were. I did not reinstall to see if that file gets overwritten. It could very well be the case. If so that explains why people's saves are not to be found if they reinstalled. I may try that later. If you are one who likes to save their save files here is a walk around to do that. Create a folder on your hard drive. Inside that folder create one folder for each save. When you are playing and save. Shut the game off, copy the save and paste it inside a blank folder. Leave the file in the game. Do Not Cut And Paste. Do not change the name of the save.
Name the individual folder containing the save to identify what the save is. Do that each time you make a save. You will have a collection which you can paste into the game if you are replaying and wish to avoid a puzzle. When doing that just delete the one in the game and replace it with the save you want to use. It is a pain but that is one way to do it. I'll cut the independent developers some slack but if Frogwares tried it they would hear about it.
The game, what is it like? The graphics are very good with all kinds of background life. Dripping water, oil, subtle movement of things like butterflies, leaves and so on. The setting is what I like to refer to as junkyard Science fiction. Something like a cross between Dune and Terminator. You are in a junk yard of a city with an assortment of robotic characters the like of which you have never seen before. Yes it is original. There is no conversation tree or long winded speeches. In fact there is no talking at all. No voice acting. Ideas or communication is done through thought bubbles where the information is in the form of pictures. The game is third person fully point and click without any keyboard usage. Your cursor changes from a double line for walking and a hand to pick up or interact. One interesting aspect is you can stretch your character making him taller to reach things. There is no highlight key to find things. your character cannot interact with something unless he is close to it. Sometimes the cursor will not change to indicate the item is playable from a distance. So some close looking is required. The scenes are brightly lit, no dark corners of visibility issues. That is a plus. In one scene you encounter a burly robot guard holding a small object. It turns out it is his baby. He needs you to get some batteries to save his baby. Yes there are offbeat moments.
In regard to the puzzles. As I said early on there is no direction. You must figure out what you need to do. No hand holding like Heaven. There are those moments to test your creativity. Some of these puzzles will prove to be real hair pullers. One unique slider puzzle missing one of the squares. You had two open spaces then needed to find the piece and place it in. Where is it hidden, not telling you but the solution is zany. Right out of Goblins or the Incredible Machine. There are the usual inventory items and sometimes you need to combine them. The inventory is at the top of the screen when you scan with your mouse. Interesting your character is a robot. All characters are unique. When you pick something up he swallows it. No bulky pockets for him. When you click on an item to use he opens his mouth and pulls it out. There are many illogical logic puzzles with some arcade games. Yes I said arcade games, some novel, some annoying. You even get to play space invaders. A pacman like game requires you to hunt down computer viruses inside the pc circuits. There is a maze and one rather easy timed puzzle. Well easy once you figure out what to do. In fact I suggest you get your hands on one of those walk throughs because there is a musical note puzzle near the end. The walk through kindly tells you which keys to push rescuing the tone deaf. I admit being one adverse to musical puzzles I got it the first try with that walk.
There were no issues or crashing the game ran fine. The music is original and complimented the game. There was some concern raised about the flash player but I did not need to make any tweaks. All in all the game was a challenge and fun even though I avoid puzzle centered games. I said many times before I hate them. But there are always exceptions when they are well done. Certainly if you can get it for the $5 current offer you can't go wrong. For puzzle fans the full price version is not going to make you feel cheated. For story, conversation and character development fans well....... grab the bargain