Machinarium is flawed. It’s unique and stylish and all that, but it has some serious issues.
The worst one, that made me quit in frustration, is a terrible arcade sequence. Control is just unbearable - the same button is mapped for shooting and for moving, and you can’t change that, nor can you use the keyboard, even though in the previous arcade sequences you could. There is no option to save (even though it’s quite a long sequence) and there’s a game-breaking bug that causes you to get stuck in a wall. So after the second time I ran (literally) into a wall after 10 minutes of enduring that arcade sequence (now with maze!), I just figured I don’t really care THAT much about the robot and deleted the game.
The road towards that atrocious section was bumpy. Some puzzles require you to repeat an action several times but give no indication that anything’s changed after the first one. Some puzzles just cause eye strain and require no real thought to defeat. There is a timed sequence for absolutely no reason. There are several occasions where you have no clue what’s going on and would kill for a little less style and a little more explanation of exactly what it is that’s going on. Why is that robot twitching? Why precisely don’t you want to move past the bad guy? What’s that other robot that we suddenly care about, and why does it even need help when nothing impedes it? The game is riddled with such mysteries, and often you do things just because you can and they seem fitting, rather than having an actual clue of how the robot society’s going to react.
So, while it’s certainly a triumph for original design and indie developers and all that jazz, it’s just not that fun of a game. The puzzles aren’t very satisfying*, the plot is confusing and far from engrossing, and I don’t have a third item because honestly that’s all there is to the game.
* to be honest, I found the shape-moving puzzle quite awesome, original and a lot of fun. But it’s one “minigame” in an entire lousy game.
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Time Played: 2-5 hours
Difficulty: Just Right