We’ve written about our “Newly Discovered Windows Phone Games” forum thread before. That’s where I learned about Pocket Avenger, a game that starts out fun but gets evil really fast. Still, our forum users are great at ferreting out new games for everyone to try. The latest game I discovered within the thread is Machinarium from Czech developer Amanita Design.
Windows Phone already hosts a variety of Hidden Object Puzzle Adventure (HOPA) games from publishers like Artifex Mundi. Those titles borrow elements from traditional PC adventure games, but dilute them a bit in order to maintain casual appeal. Machinarium is a full-blown adventure game that made its name on Steam before migrating to Windows Phone. If you enjoy the adventure genre, prepare to be amazed by Amanita’s first Windows Phone title.
Machinarium stars a little robot named Josef. As the game opens, we see him dropped in a scrap heap outside of a gigantic industrial city. Josef wakes up, repairs himself, and sets off towards the city. Once the player helps him get inside, Josef sets about searching for his childhood robot friend. Along the way he’ll help robotic citizens in need as well as working to stop the evil Black Cap Brotherhood from destroying the city.
The story unfolds without any text or dialog. Instead, characters speak in voice bubbles that show little pictures about what they’re saying. This sells the idea that everything happens within an alien world (and also cuts down on translation costs). And yet the story is surprisingly involving and emotional, thanks to the gorgeous art-style and hand-drawn animation of each character.
Machinarium is one beautiful game. It feels like an interactive cartoon, just like most of the best adventure games of yesteryear. The robots’ world comes to life through an amazing attention to detail. Although I love Artifex Mundi games, this one’s scope is so much more vast and intriguing than any HOPA I’ve ever seen.
Another small victory for Windows Phone
Machinarium makes the trip to Windows Phone fully intact. To move around the environment and interact with objects, simply tap the screen. You can drag Josef’s neck up or down to adjust his height, allowing him to interact with objects above and below him. The in-game menu lets players save and load at any time, as well as view its non-Xbox Achievements (which are all progression-based).
Already a special game when it debuted on Steam, Machinarium is even more special on Windows Phone. You just don’t see many games like this on our platform, especially with the production values and length that Machinarium brings. It can be hard to figure out what to do at times, but there’s a built-in hint system (and online guides) to fall back on if you get stuck.
It’s great to see small but extremely talented developers like Amanita make their way to Windows Phone. Hopefully a Windows 8 and RT port follows as well, because Machinarium would look even more excellent on tablets. Stay tuned for a full review of the Windows Phone game!
Update: Store reviews claim that the game crashes at a certain point in the story. We're investigating and will report back with our findings.
Update 2: Amanita tells us that they are aware of the crashing problem. An update that fixes the crash should roll out within a few days. We'll let you know when the update goes live!
- Machinarium – Windows Phone 8 – 221 MB – $4.49 – Store Link
- Machinarium Soundtrack – 14 tracks – €6 (~$8.28) – Bandcamp Link
More fresh game recommendations
If adventure games aren’t your thing, we’ve got plenty more game recommendations for you. Check out the “Newly Discovered Games” forum thread, and be sure to leave your own suggestions whenever you discover a cool game that’s just come out.