Thursday, January 31, 2013

Global Gaming: Machinarium (Czech Republic)

With each post in this mini-feature, I highlight a game from a different country around the world. Keep in mind these aren't necessarily the best or most popular games from each nation, but simply a fitting representative.

Machinarium - Amanita Design, 2009

Speaking of games of Czech origin, nothing exemplifies the quiet Eastern European beauty of Czech design than the work of Brno-based studio Amanita Design. At the cutting edge of the point-and-click revival we've seen in recent years, Amanita is known for its free browser-based game Samorost and its sequel, but its most iconic title is their first full-length game, 2009's Machinarium.

Machinarium is a classic point-and-click puzzle adventure, the story of a robot named Josef (named after Josef ńĆapek, creator of the word "robot") who explores a mystery-filled city populated by robots. There's no language barrier here, as there are no words through the entire game. The plot is moved forward purely through visual cues.

Since it's a "classic" point-and-click game, Machinarium also features some "classic" point-and-click difficulty with a few obtuse puzzles as frustrating as anything from the '90s. The hint system is helpful, but I can't help but feel like that's cheating a bit. Regardless, Machinarium is a gorgeous hand-drawn game with a soundtrack I still listen to nightly when I'm in bed.
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