Sorry to disappoint you all, but that's not going to happen. It is the weekend, so it shouldn't be too much of a surprise really. But honestly, I have a big poker game at my house tonight, and since I've already played the game I planned on playing anyway, I don't want to risk running out of time tonight to write about it. Just consider it a favor to you, the readers, to make my life easier as well. Win-win for everyone, right?
Anyway, I played Machinarium, an odd little point-and-click adventure game on the PSN. It's about a robot, trying to, um, get to the city I think? The story line isn't exactly hashed out thoroughly, as there is no dialogue at all except for the disapproving grunts your character gives you when you try to make him do something he can't or doesn't want to do. The only other form of communication is thought bubbles that pop up from your character and the other robots he encounters along the way to wherever it is he is going, for whatever reason it is.
Look, I can't say with 100% honesty that I didn't miss anything when starting the game, and could very well have missed a key story plot point, unbeknownst to me. I'm fairly certain, based on what I played, the game wants you to discover the story as you go along - that is, if you care enough to.
The game looks good. It's a fun, rustic and grimy kind of cartoonish style, but it drives the point across that this world you are in is a mechanical utopia. Think of a run down version of the movies "Robots," and that's what Machinarium brings you. The point-and-click game play works fine, but it is a bit frustrating at times, when you think you are clicking on something only to click on another. And once you start a movement, whether it is walking across the room or pulling a lever, you can't stop until that action is completed, meaning if you do something you didn't mean to do, you just have to wait it out. Like I said, frustrating at times.
The game doesn't hold your hand at all, either, giving you know real indication as to what to do in which order. There is one free hint per "area", but those remain to be fairly unhelpful. There is a guide book you can look at, which gives you step by step instruction on what to do in which order, but you have to play a seriously overcomplicated and difficult mini-game to unlock the book to take a peek. And if you walk away from one area, into another and then back, your book locks up again. Of course, you can by-pass the book altogether, but some of the puzzles are impossible without tons of time wasted on trial and error. There is little indication at all which items you can interact with or pick up, which makes random cursor moving and clicking a chore at times.
The game's menus and settings are all featured on screen, during game play, which keeps you invested in the game where you might lose interest easily having to open inventory items, drag and click over and over again. It's a fun game, just not a really fun game. Maybe there will be a crazy, unexpected payoff in the end, like Journey ... but we'll see. I'm about half way through already, and while I enjoy the trophies I popped along the way, it will be a chore to drag myself back to it to wrap up whatever it is I'm doing there. From what it seems, the experience outweighs the minor complaints, and if there is only a couple more hours left, it's pretty manageable and reasonable to think I can finish it in another sitting. I can't just let the trophies sit there unclaimed, now can I?
Gotta run, I have some money to win. These games don't buy themselves, you know. Oh, and next week I have something really special planned, so be on the look out for that.
Finally, I have a couple of shout-outs to get out of the way. First, AIAS, for hooking it up with a couple of free games for entering a twitter contest. Follow them @Official_AIAS. Also, I connected with some really cool guys over at Everyday Gamers, who are holding it down for all the small-time gaming journalists just trying to make a splash in the vast ocean of the video game industry. Follow them on twitter @everydaygamers, or their website www.everydaygamers.com.
Keep on keeping on, everyone!