Review – Machinarium (Xbox One)

Welcome, or welcome back, to the world of Machinarium. A small, simple, point-and-click story about a little robot overcoming obstacles and bullies alike. Machinarium was originally released back in 2009, but this year has seen a nice re-release to console with updated looks and controls. While a point-and-click game on Xbox may not seem like a whole lot of fun, it’s the world that is able to be built up and torn down at any moment that really determines how much you can enjoy a game like this.

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Bully #2 is super board watching the prison cells.

As mentioned above, Machinarium is a point-and-click game. There’s not a ton of side exploration nor is there a whole lot of extra things to find. Hell, there’s really no extra things to find. The game itself is pretty linear and you know if you can walk somewhere, there’s going to be something to do. You’ll start the game outside of the big city though, you’ve been thrown in the trash by some bullies, who escalate out of control very quickly. After rebuilding yourself you make your way back to town and have to start learning how to problem solve and put your brain to work.

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Yes sir, I swear I am one of you.

The point-and-click part of this adventure is actually fairly nice. The cursor moves at a nice pace with the joystick, instead of just shooting across the screen or moving at a snail’s pace. Obviously the entirety of this game is to do specific tasks to solve puzzles. That could be attaching a magnet to a fishing rod to pull some ladies dog across a river, or washing and dyeing a pylon to look like the police bots hats. The game is kind though, providing a hint and even a walkthrough section if you get stuck. While you’re allowed one hint per level, the brief walkthrough involves playing a small, side-scrolling shooting minigame to unlock. So if you’re ever unsure of what to do, or just don’t feel like thinking about it, this is always an option.

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Lead the key to the fore and shoot the spiders on the way. Tell me what to do next game.

The characters in Machinarium are super cutesy. No one speaks, instead everything is presented through little thought bubbles that show you either glimpses of the past or hints as to what you should be doing. These are things like your character getting bullied, or your character showing what the end goal may be. While some sections makes the world feel alive, the game does fall into the trope that characters just wait around off screen for you to show up. For instance, there’s a bot who’s rusted up and can’t move and although there are other characters around, it seems to wait for you before asking for help.

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Oh no, it’s my longtime bully. Bully #1

Machinarium may be simple in concept, but just like other point-and-click puzzle games, the solution can be a bit mind bending. I do very much appreciate that there is an option to help you find the solution. No one wants to throw a controller across the room simply because they didn’t think to add a magnet to a fishing rod in order to tank a dog across a river. Although Machinarium is an eleven year old game, it works very well on console and will hopefully open up puzzle games to a new audience while everyone is stuck at home.

Graphics: 6.5

The world looks nice and everything is distinguished from one another, but there’s nothing particularly stand out about the graphics.

Gameplay: 7.0

The base game is fairly standard for a point-and-click puzzle game, but bonus points go to the added minigames that help give you hints when you’re stuck.

Sound: 6.5

The world certainly feels alive, but again there’s nothing that particularly stands out. With no voice acting and no real animal sounds, the sound effects are limited to characters moving around.

Fun Factor: 6.0

All around it’s a pretty standard game for the genre. While the added hint system helps a lot, it’s a bit hard not to become too reliant on it giving you all the answers.

Final Verdict: 6.5

Machinarium is available now on PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Android, and iOS.

Reviewed on Xbox One.

A copy of Machinarium was provided by the publisher.