Apple's iPad has become the go to portable device for point and click adventures, much to the delight of puzzle fans yearning for a challenge.
Up next is Machinarium, a gripping title first released in 2009. The talented folks at Amanita Design have done a wonderful job bringing their creation to the App Store, and you'll thoroughly enjoy everything this smartly designed adventure has to offer.
Machinarium puts you in control of a tiny robot named Josef, where the goal is to prevent the Black Cap Brotherhood from blowing up a city's tower while at the same time rescuing the hero's girlfriend, because all "bots" deserve a chance at love.
Like many point and click titles, each screen contains a puzzle that you must solve in order to proceed. In most cases, you'll track down objects, combine them and figure out how this newly created item interacts with the game world. Of course, if you get stuck, the game has a well-implemented hint system.
What separates Machinarium from the competition is a lack of understandable dialogue. Characters speak in gibberish, while the designers tell the story using thought bubbles.
In addition, you can only interact with objects within Josef's reach. This factors into his ability to stretch and shrink, allowing you to grab things at different heights.
Complimenting the gameplay is a sweet presentation that sucks you into the world. Attractive hand drawn graphics feature twisted scrap heaps, cool looking contraptions and droids of all shapes and sizes. The soothing mood music, meanwhile, helps put you at ease.
That said, everything seems a bit too far away. The game definitely needs the iPad's familiar "pinch" option to enlarge portions of the screen.
On top of that, the game's iPad 2 only, which is a bit perplexing, since it doesn't appear to tax the hardware. Thankfully, Amanita Design clearly states this on the game's page.
Those issues aside, Machinarium is another welcome addition to the App Store and a must play for those who enjoy this sort of thing. Just do your best to avoid asking for hints.
Requirements: Compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 4.0 or later.
What's Hot: Challenging puzzles, beautiful hand-drawn world, soothing music, cute hero.
What's Not: Needs a "pinch" function, iPad 2 only.