The Robot-Tastic Comic Book Touch of ‘Machinarium’
Long before video game cut scenes were as viable, if not superior to, in-game animation, comic books and sequential art elements afforded a successful story-telling technology for the 8, 32 and even 64-bit generations of consoles. While word balloons, stills with narrative captions and even primitive motion comics are typically featured only as novelties in many of today’s games, they’re far from obsolete.
Amanita Design’s beautifully hand-drawn “Machinarium” problem-solving adventure game is a perfect example of how comics can still provide an essential function to an electronic experience.
The game follows a somewhat clandestine robotic hero as he makes his way around environments with ninja-like skill. As he journeys from location to location, players are tasked with using each environment’s unique resources to progress. But they’re not on their own, if they get stuck (as I very often have) they can unlock a wordless, comics-style guide book illustrating the sequence of events they must trigger to continue on.
The comics are as fun and engaging as the rest of the gaming experience and communicate their intended messages with ease, making it a fun and rich example of the medium’s continued practical applications in gaming.
Comics, videogames, robots, subterfuge? If those elements were mechs, this game would be a Megazord.