Yes, that’s right, we’re now publishing reader reviews here on Kotaku. This is your chance to deliver sensible game purchasing advice to the rest of the Kotaku community.
And thanks to the very kind chaps at Madman Entertainment, purveyor of all kinds of cool, indie and esoteric film, the best reader review we publish each month will win a prize pack containing ten of the latest Madman DVD releases.
This review was submitted by James Milenkovic. If you’ve played Machinarium, or just want to ask James more about it, leave your thoughts in the comments below.
A picture is worth a thousand words - but what are words worth? Machinarium does away with them entirely, yet connects the player with the main character and the game world like few sprawling epic RPGs are capable of.
Characterisation: Beginning in a scrap heap and having to pull the main protagonist – a cute, cylindrical, everyman robot – together from small pieces, immediately you are drawn into the game. Every character in Machinarium is lovingly hand drawn and animated, and often have something they want from you – which is communicated by an animated thought bubble. There is no dialogue at all, but the story is conveyed in such a beautiful manner that you won’t notice.
Artwork: The characters and backgrounds are some of the most gorgeous and immediately identifiable that I have seen. The city is alive, with workmen and cleaning bots, bar owners and musicians. The music perfectly captures the mood, and is so exceptional there is a separate soundtrack for sale and even a free EP available online.
Puzzling: Challenging yet rarely frustrating, the adventure puzzle gameplay is perfectly balanced giving a sense of achievement at every turn, and often leaving you with a self satisfied grin. Of special mention is the ‘cooling system’ puzzle, where thinking the wrong thing might be right. And never fear: if you are stuck there is a hint system, again caught in the thought bubble, and if that isn’t enough, there is a solution book for each screen, with a mini-game that deters you from doing it too often.
Flash: Being done in Macromedia Flash might have been great from a technical and compatibility standpoint, but it means the right mouse button cannot be used, which makes the interface slightly less intuitive. A small gripe, but the only one I could come up with.
A quirky indie adventure puzzle game with plenty of cute, charismatic characters and a masterfully written and paced story makes this a contender game of the year.
Reviewed by: James Milenkovic
You can have your Reader Review published on Kotaku. Send your review to us at the usual address. Make sure it’s written in the same format as above and in under 300 words - yes, we’ve upped the word limit. We’ll publish the best ones we get and the best of the month will win a Madman DVD prize pack.