Sometimes the strongest narrative a storyteller can construct is the one where they let the audience fill in the gaps. In horror, we'll fill them in with the scariest thing we can imagine. In comedy, we'll fill it in with the funniest. In Machinarium Pocket Edition, a dystopian point-and-click adventure about a robot on a quest to figure out its place in the world, we fill it in with a sense of wonder.
There are few narrative trappings at work in Machinarium; there's no dialogue and no in-game text to prompt you, so it's up to the player to figure out the story based on the world and its quiet populace. The point-and-click format survived the translation from PC to iOS surprisingly well. You'll tap to move your little robot avatar, tap objects to interact with them, and drag items to where they need to be. The many puzzles and conundrums to be found in the world of Machinarium will give a nice little workout to your creative intelligence.
Be prepared for some abstract thinking on your part! While most point-and-click games have plenty of prompting and funny dialogue to keep things moving along, here your motivation is to solve the next devilish puzzle and to find out more about this cold, yet lived-in world. If things get too tough, each area comes with a single hint to help you figure it out; the hints, however, are still rendered in the same sort of abstract, non-verbal language as the rest of the game, so their helpfulness varies. Still, it's nice that there's some sort of optional hand-holding system in place, because the later puzzles aren't shy about trying to drive you mad.
Machinarium's aesthetics are second-to-none. Graphically, Machinarium has found a look that's uniquely its own. Most of the mechanized life forms and backgrounds you come across have a similarly dingy, dented style to them, all presented in a style that's minimalist, yet evocative. The same goes for its music — an often melancholy soundtrack that perfectly fits the smoggy gloom of the world. It is stylish work that's uniquely, unmistakably Machinarium.
The iPhone port of Machinarium is still the same great game most players fell in love with on PCs, consoles and the iPad — a brilliant point-and-click adventure that'll tax your brain and drive you insane with delight. If you're looking for a game that respects your intelligence and comes equipped with a unique style and setting, or if you're looking for something different than the typically score-oriented, money-grubbing games found on iOS, Machinarium is a must-have. The price is even rather inexpensive for this type of game. So what are you waiting for?
App Store Link: Machinarium Pocket Edition for iPhone | By Amanita Design | Price: $1.99 | Version: 1.0.0 | 235 MB | Rating 12+