Amanita Design’s Machinarium

Looks as if I’ve had a productive morning so far. I caught up with the craziness at work after being off for a week, got ready for my history courses this afternoon, and discovered Machinarium, a poignant point-and-click adventure game by Independent Czech developer Amanita Design (better late than never…and I’ll leave it to you to decide which one of these tasks was the most fun).

I’ve long had a soft spot for independent games, and as was the case with yesterday’s Astroman discovery, I genuinely appreciate the time and effort that talented creators put into their creations because they represent a genuine labor of love, often demanding countless hours of meticulous unpaid devotion by individuals that simply love what they do, and want to share an idea brought to life with the rest of us. Machinarium then is a beautiful piece of work brought to life. You’ll want to spend half your time mesmorized by the fantastic art that has gone into the level and character design.

The adventure itself begins against a backdrop of devastation. A small disposal ship leaves its high tower overlooking the desolation and drops our robot friend, the games protagonist, literally out with the garbage atop a landfill. Why he finds himself in this predicament we do not know but the player is tasked with putting him back together and helping him on his journey back to the tower. The world is lovingly hand drawn (by Adolf Lachman if I would wager to guess) and it literally appears as if the illustrations are naturally coming to life as you play.

Three “levels” in to the demo I admit to having had a great time trying to solve the (often clever) puzzles as I progressed forward (and honestly I’m not a huge puzzle guy). The promotional art above (as well as sentimental moments that play out in his memory if you allow our robot friend to remain idle) hints to a family that he is in search of and no doubt some measure of tragedy that has occurred so I’m really looking forward to finding out just what’s going on as the story plays out. This, of course, means that I’ll likely be downloading the full game here in the near future.

If any of this sounds interesting to you, please do yourself a favor and check out the free Machinarium demo if you get a few moments. Additionally, you can sample the game’s relatively haunting soundtrack, which was written and composed by Tomas Dvorak, at minority records and download 5 additional tracks (not included on the OST) here. There’s even a vinyl LP if you can believe that!

Update: Machinarium looks to be making its way to Nintendo’s WiiWare sometime in 2011. I’ll try to update you with more when the release date is announced.

[Images courtesy of: Amanita Design]

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