is the latest adventure from Czech independent studio Amanita Design,
creators of the popular web games Samorost and Samorost 2.
You are responsible for a small,
disarmingly cute robot, who at the game’s outset has been jettisoned to a
scrapheap far beyond the city where he lives for an offence he did not
commit. Your role is to help him find his way back home, rescue his
robot-girlfriend and thwart the evil plans of the “Black Cap Brotherhood”
who are set on destruction in their bid to take over the city.
THE NUTS & BOLTS
is a point & click adventure in third person perspective. Characters move
smoothly from screen to screen, and there is no panning. In-game help is
available should you need it by clicking on either of the two symbols
which appear when the cursor is moved to top right of the game screen. The
light bulb icon can provide you with one hint per game level. The screen
icon to its right rewards you with one page of a pictorial walkthrough for
your current level of play. For this you will sweat a little, as in order
to unlock the walkthrough page you must first play a short, fairly easy
mini-game of spider blasting.
Window size and full screen can be
adjusted in-game by bringing the cursor to the options bar at the bottom
of the game screen.
PLAYING WITH METAL
The graphics are unique, quirky and
charming. The environments are not static: pipe steam rises and wafts,
plants wave gently in the breeze, water ripples. This strange world is
inhabited exclusively by robots: eccentric robots, fierce, friendly or
just plain bizarre. There is no dialogue other than guttural grunts and
squeaks. All communication is via the pictorial bubbles which appear over
the heads of the robots, explaining their predicament or responding to a
question. I enjoyed Machinarium’s music: ethereal, somewhat “New
Age”, always appropriate to the scene and never intrusive.
Gameplay is initially somewhat similar to
the “escape the room” games, in that our little robot must discover a way
to proceed further into town, through many different areas containing
various obstacles, to complete his quest. Combining and using inventory
items and solving enjoyable standalone puzzles will move him forward into
the next scene.
You may groan with me now when I tell you
that in the latter half of the game there are sliders of various
descriptions and levels of difficulty, and several arcade mini-games which
are necessary to complete in order to progress. One of these arcade games
involves a maze, a gun and limited lives; lose all those lives and you
must start over at the beginning of the maze. There is no skip feature.
Frustrating, much? The puzzles do become increasingly challenging.
I experienced no glitches or bugs while
playing this game. There are only six available save slots with capacity
Offbeat and witty, with challenging
puzzles which are particularly enjoyable in the early stages.
Appealing, beautifully drawn graphics. A
simple, easy to use interface.
Proceed with a degree of caution if you
cannot abide sliders or arcade mini-games - unless you have spare hair to
pull and an extra set of teeth to grind.
Overall, a game for anyone with a penchant
for problem pondering and a love of the unusual.
is available for download direct from the