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Posts Tagged ‘Point and Click’

garden growing

Amanita Design‘s latest is the adventure game Machinarium. Like their earlier games it is also a point-and-click adventure with a lot of puzzles thrown in. Unlike, say, Samorost 2, the action revolves more strongly around the game’s hero, the little robot Josef, who possesses many qualities useful in an action game protagonist: He has telescopic hands and a body that can be adjusted either higher or lower, a lot of storage space and most importantly has a mission.

Josef’s adventure begins at a waste deposit outside an aged robot town. As the game progresses you find out that the city is being terrorised by a group of evil robots, who refer to themselves as the Black Hat Society. They plan to blow up a tower in the city and have taken Josef’s girlfriend as a prisoner and are using her as a cook. The plot may sound like the archetypal videogame tale of princesses with men trying to save them, but there are many details that set Machinarium apart from any other video games you might have played.

the cafe

First off the setting. All the game surroundings are handdrawn and look stunningly beautiful. Screenshots of the game, mind you, do not do the game justice: There are so many small details hidden within every area you stumble into. Instead of just static backgrounds there can be a small waterfall, or some funny character animations.

There is a surprising amount of depth to Machinarium’s robotic characters as you find out throughout the story. Instead of dialogue or text, all communication between Josef and the other robots is relayed with a bubble that plays a simple animation, which can tell the player what is needed to solve a puzzle or appease a certain character and sometimes simply tells us more of them. The animations detailing Josef’s relations to the evil robots especially come to mind.

jailcell

Another thing I was taken aback by in the game was how emotional and engaging the story was. There is something very cute and moving about Machinarium’s robots. It is the heartrending imagery of the Black Hat Society committing increasingly evil deeds and also the animation and subtle sound effects that help in this. Also every new area, especially towards the end, began to create a feeling of awe.

And awe is the word best describing Machinarium.  Everyone who has played a point-and-click adventure at some time or who likes puzzles will love this game. People not fitting the earlier description should try the demo out, but keep in mind that the three first levels don’t give a good picture of the sweetness toward the mid and end-parts of the game. An instant classic. Go play it already.

band

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At the church

Over on Offworld, a great blog on videogames, there was a feature some time ago on Machinarium. I finished the game last week and have to say that it is definitely something different. Anyone who likes their adventure games should definitely try it out. Also in the post on Offworld there are links to most of the projects of Amanita Design, the Czech indie-studio behind Machinarium. The skecthes are also interesting. I will see if I get around to posting a review here of Machinarium, but while you wait for that go check the feature out. You can also try out the first couple of levels here.

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Scumm bar

When I heard a remake of the original Monkey Island is coming I thought it best to play the original before checking that one out, or Tales of Monkey Island for that matter. Since I’ve never played a Monkey Island I figure its best to start from the beginning. Now some thoughts on playing Monkey Island 1: Curse of Monkey Island and screenshots to match.

My bigget problem with adventure games are the puzzles. I’m really bad at them for some reason so for a big part of playing I’m usually stuck. Perhaps its good that I didn’t start playing adventure games before finding walkthroughs on the Internet became so easy. Or perhaps this is exactly why I suck at puzzles. Even though some of the puzzles are amusing I mostly play adventure games for the story. From what I’ve played so far I rather like the parody approach of Monkey Island. Swordfighting with insults and stealing a figurine from Melee Island’s manor have been my funniest encounters so far.

Swordfighting

Swordfighting and the eventual encounter with the swordmaster were also a puzzle I actually enjoyed solving. This involved fighting other pirates and learning new insults from them. Perhaps a bit too much repetition was involved though. Its quite a few pirates I had to fight against to get enough insults to face the swordmaster. They were worth it though. It seems like a good design choice to do the swordfight in this manner instead of some annoying mini-game. Will  be interesting to see if the remake sees any  additions to the original besides a graphical ovehaul.

Stealing the figurine was rather different to what’s usual in an adventure game. In order to steal the figurine you enter a room and can’t see what’s happening as the computer controls Guybrush for a moment and you’re left to watch and listen to what happens. The computer uses items of things you can’t see, which include gophers, an annoyed bull and a murderous clown among other things. Your own imagination plays a big part in this sequence which I enjoyed the most so far in the game. Perhaps the hardware restrictions played a part in the design of this, but the result was still well done. Its surprising what a couple of sound effects and bits of dialogue can achieve. Hope they keep this part the same as in the original.

At the shop

So far I haven’t met any monkeys in the game. Hearing a legend about a ship being sailed by shimps and a monkey on a swordtraining machine hardly count. I hope I meet some monkeys on Monkey Island, because that’s where I’m headed next.

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Thought I’d post some impressions on the game I’ll be reviewing for Uljas once I get it finished. The game is a traditional point-and-click game. Except that its set in a horror-type environment. In the beginning the main character you play with, Joe, and his wife Ivy stop for the night in a hotel. Joe’s wife starts rambling as soon as they step out of the car. The couple enter the hotel but Ivy disappears during the night. Later you find out that a character named Sophie is behind the kidnapping. Sophie is some sort of a monster in human form, or I think so, haven’t bumped into her yet. Your task is to kill 4 memories of Sophie that reside in different rooms of the hotel. Nough about the story.

Pikku Sophie

The atmosphere in the game works even though the graphics of the game a done with sprites, look at the pictures and you know what I mean. The graphics get the job done though. Like most adventure games what’s important is the text you’ll be reading. There’s descriptions about most items inside a room that give you a better understanding of the game world. The dialog is well written and the puzzles are quite crazy. More on that below. One thing that has the most important role beside the text are the music and sound effects. The music in the game is rather simple, with some music mixed with ambient sounds. In one room there’s a clock ticking for example. When a Scandinavian rock singer, Vincent Vielo, appears, this sort of cheesy rock/funk music starts playing. At one point when you’re blending a special smoothie from, well, won’t spoil that one, a guitar riff plays, which got me smiling.

Hotellihuone

Like every adventure game there’s puzzles in this one as well. One involved getting a key to a room from the stomach of a cat. It ended with cutting up the cat with a knife to get it. When you start killing Sophies memories you have to do it with increasingly mean and cold-blooded ways. As usual I’m stuck on most of the puzzles for quite some time before figuring what to do. So far in the game I’ve bumped into the weirdest of characters, had a dialogue with two corpses, removed the brain from the body of the town’s crazy axe-murderer and replaced it with a pig’s brain, which I got after sawing it’s head open. The game is creepy but not scary. It’s more of a horror comedy than actually scary. Anything with a german doctor called Doctor Z who also happens to be neo-nazi is just too cheesy to be taken seriously.

Haudassa

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