Friday, 13 November 2009

Machinarium (PC)

Go and play Machinarium.

It not only looks good - it's set in a sort of rusty cute looking robot world - but manages to engage without a single word of dialogue being spoken (at least not as far I've played it). It's an independent point-and-click puzzle solving adventure without the tedious dialogue. Don't get me wrong, I love the narrative and humour of the Monkey Island games and I've even been playing the new episodic ones but it's the pretty much the same formula,though it is done well. But you can also get that wrong - like with A Vampyre Story. Czech designers Amanita Design have done something different here and have managed to communicate a storyline through the use of thought bubbles and (pretty cool) drawings alone.

Not only that but they've included a really clever little mechanism for getting help within the game. I think I've mentioned this before, but I do use walkthroughs when I get stuck. There are just points where I don't have the patience to keep trying something, and if the information is out there I don't see it being massively different to asking a friend for some help. But, in order to access these walkthroughs (or tips or whatever) I have to leave the game and go online to find out what I need. And once I've caved and started looking at the walkthrough I then run the risk of ruining the gameplay by reading ahead so I don't have to come back for the next puzzle... However, in Machinarium, I have two other options. The first is to click on the light bulb on the far right to give you a hint for how to solve the puzzle. If that's not enough then you click on what looks like a locked journal of some kind. Now this will give the solution but (and here's the bit I really like) you have to play a somewhat boring mini-game to get to that solution. The reason I love this so much is because it means it stops me from ruining the game by easily accessing the walkthrough whenever I want - I have to decide whether it's worth playing the game first. So while the mini-game isn't very interesting (or very long for that matter) it makes me think twice about looking up the solution. But if I really am stuck, then I have a way to fix it without ever having to leave the game! Genius :-)

So I finally posted something about a games again (and not conference related!). I've been playing a few different things lately so I'm hoping there will be more to follow soon.

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