Point and Click Me to Amanita Design’s Machinarium!

We have been staying at home for quite a while. You probably have run out of things to do. Scrolling through Netflix just doesn’t cut it anymore. Have you considered playing some video or online games?

But I am not a gamer! I never won in Mario Kart.

Welcome to my world. I am also not a gamer. Despite years of playing the piano and string instruments as well as doing precise lab work, I cannot brag about having dexterous fingers. I blame it on a lack of practice during my childhood years. Consequently, I was never a big fan of video or online games. And I stuck to that belief until I found point and click games.

In point-and-click games, the player uses the computer’s mouse and/or trackpad to move the protagonist around, make the character interact with other characters, and enable the avatar to examine and collect items.

Uh, that sounds boring and slightly juvenile.

I would caution you on passing judgement too quickly on point-and-click games. They are definitely not just games reserved for the young ones, or people lacking dexterity.

Today, I would like to introduce you all to Machinarium by Amanita Design. Machinarium follows a small robot named Josef on his journey to save his robot girlfriend, Berta. Josef starts out in the scrap heap. The setting is an imaginary machine city, full of old-looking, rusty buildings. The labyrinth of metallic structures are populated by robots hailing from all sizes, shapes, and material origins. I first came across this robot sci-fi land back in 2012, when Amanita Design offered Machinarium as a smartphone game. Fast forward to 2020, I found out that Machinarium now can be played in full screen—without much hesitation, I purchased the game and began playing on my MacBook.

Amanita Design is an independent game design company from the Czech Republic. The games designed by Amanita are adventure games that come with not only gorgeously animated characters and sceneries but also beautiful soundtracks. You go on an adventure in a well-illustrated micro-world along with whimsical characters in a richly detailed story.

In Machinarium, no dialogue is required—as you travel through the city full of robots and other mechanical structures, pictorial thought bubbles communicate the objectives of each level. In fact, aside from level one, in which the designers of the game orient you on how to play with a few text prompts, the rest of the game is devoid of any spoken language (unless you count robot gibberish).

If you have read my previous posts, namely Dear Readers, you surely can guess there must be something more than the animation and music that attracted me to this game. On top of not needing to have dextrous fingers, this game is replete with games of logic. Josef can only successfully rescue Berta by solving a series of puzzles and brain teasers. Each level is essentially a mini game.

But fear not, the game comes with a two-tiered hint system. For those of us who are stubborn about looking at hints, the first hint will not give much away. The walkthrough, if you elect to use it, still requires some brain power. Even the complete walkthrough hints are provided solely in pictures.

If your interest is piqued, head on over to play a three level demo of Machinarium. Point and click away!

P.S. I urge everyone to purchase the game. Piracy is distasteful.

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