Apps That Don’t Suck: Machinarium

We’re taking a break from zombies in this installment of Apps That Don’t Suck. Today we’re talking adorable robot protagonists.

Machinarium is a progressive puzzle game, set in a beautifully rendered robot world.  The player controls the previously mentioned adorable protagonist as he or she moves through a labyrinthine series of challenges to meet his or her goal. Part Wall-E, part Myst, part Choose Your Own Adventure, and part Mensa entrance exam, Machinarium packs a lot of gameplay into a really beautiful package.

Machinarium was created by indie developers Amanita, and has won multiple awards since its release. Within two minutes of starting the game for the first time, I was hooked. The puzzles are very challenging, but not impossible, and the game comes with a built-in hint system with a twist. Hints that don’t give too much away are available at any time, but to get a more detailed hint, the player has to complete a simple but clever mini-game.

What sets Machinarium apart from the bajillion other puzzle/mystery games on mobile, aside from superior gameplay, is the art.  Check out these screenshots and the trailer.

Screenshot from mobile app Machinarium

Screenshot from mobile app Machinarium

Screenshot from mobile app Machinarium

Look at how detailed those shots are. The world in Machinarium is perfect, and I say that without any of my usual hyperbole. Each level is as detailed as the previous, and each gives the player much more insight into the rich backstory. Machinarium uses no text at all. Not in the interface, not in the instructions and not in the hints. The goals and objectives are easily understood, however, which makes this one of the best localized games I’ve ever scene, and the developers didn’t have to actually do any localization.

I don’t want to give much away about the actual game, half the fun is discovering what happens next. I will say that I quickly became emotionally invested in the protagonist, and some of the puzzles were so brilliant I had to set down the iPad  I was using to reflect on my awe.

This is the first full length game from Amanita, previous titles they’ve created are either previews or short browser games. Hopefully the success of Machinarium will allow them to bring us many new titles in the future. I know I’d buy whatever they’re selling.

I picked up my copy on sale for less than the current price, but knowing what I know now about the game, I’d say it’s worth even the $4.99 sticker price. This game was someone’s baby for a long time, it’s clear by how polished it is that the team spent as much time as it took to make sure the whole package was complete.  I’ve bought front-line titles for ten times as much as this app which I enjoyed much less, I don’t feel bad at all about encouraging this kind of superior product with my wallet.

As always, I don’t get paid or influenced to write these columns, and the box below is just a doo-dad, P-Mag doesn’t profit or benefit from sales of this app inspired by this review.

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By [E] Selena MacIntosh*

Selena MacIntosh is the owner and editor of Persephone Magazine. She also fixes it when it breaks. She is fueled by Diet Coke, coffee with a lot of cream in it, and cat hair.

6 replies on “Apps That Don’t Suck: Machinarium”

I absolutely love this game. I think it’s the folks behind Samorost? Anyway, I bought Machinarium for $5 download ages ago, during a promo, and I think it even came with an MP3 soundtrack folder. I’d gladly have spent more than $5 for it. Just so FUN.

*Blinks* I was literally playing this a minute ago.

Mr. Nonsense bought this game ages ago on Steam and we forgot all about it.  This afternoon I was searching for a new game to play and found it in our library.  I’ve been playing for the past hour and when I take a break, I wander over to P’mag and see this article.  Errr…

But I’m really enjoying it so far.  I love clever puzzle games. :)


The stills look beautiful. I just went to look at the Android store, but can’t find it. Do you know if it it’s available for Android? There is a walk through, but I’m assuming that’s not it. Also, you mention that you play it on your ipad. Have you tried it on a mobile? I’m wondering if the beauty of the game gets lost on the smaller screen.

I think it’s only for iPad, and not even iPad1. I saw something in my research about android, let me go to the Googles and see if I can find out if it’s available.

I don’t think it would translate well to a smaller screen, honestly. I do think there’s a version for your desktop, though. Especially with @nonsensikel‘s comment above.

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