Head scratcher but fun, rewarding
REVIEW: Unmechanical, a physic-based puzzle game featuring a cute wee robot with a propeller on its head, reminds me a lot of another game featuring a robot called Machinarium.
Both games look delightful (Unmechanical uses the Unreal Engine 3) and both require you to use your brain a lot to solve problems, some much harder than others.
The hero of Unmechanical - I guess he's a hero - is a wee robot who finds himself unceremoniously sucked into a strange tube (that just appeared out of the ground) as he was flying across a field with his mates. Now, he finds himself inside the innards of a giant creature of some sort.
A creature with innards featuring cogs and force fields and lightbulbs and volcanoes and water and other robots.
One room has a robot cleaner sweeping a floor, another has what looks like giant electromagnetic nails wrapped in copper wire, while yet another has a rotund robot sitting behind a bank of monitors, pressing lots of buttons.
At the centre of it all is a giant beating heart - and it seems our robot friend has to find four glowing orbs that are necessary to get things working properly.
Unmechanical's puzzles start off easy - an early one is a Simon Says-like puzzler where you have to repeat the pattern of four large light bulbs to open a locked door - but later puzzles will tax your grey matter, such as having to use the robot's tractor beam to drop the correct amount of weight on to four scales so a doorway slides open.
I'm ashamed to admit that I consulted an online walkthrough for one particularly hard puzzle - it really did prove troublesome and I actually stopped playing for a couple of hours, coming back to it when I had calmed down.
Make no mistake, Unmechanical's toughest puzzles will test your brain.
Along the way our robot friend gets a mechanical upgrade from some strange chamber, giving him a third eye so he can submerge himself into water in the bowels of the creature, but you're never really quite sure what the end goal is here: is the robot helping the creature he is inside or hampering it? I was never sure.
The music reminded me a lot of Vangelis' stirring theme from the Blade Runner movie. It featured robots as well, but not ones with propellers on their heads and legs that flop about when it flies about the place.
Being a physics-based puzzle game sometimes the game mechanics do weird things - like objects bounce further than you expected - and some of the puzzles were a real head scratcher (one in particular involving a large coloured disc on which you change the colour of the panels), and it's a game that left me with more questions than answers, but Unmechanical is a charming, fun puzzle game that features a cute robot, so I'm prepared to put up with head-scratching.
If I'm being frank, Unmechanical's simplistic charm, despite some frustrations, makes a refreshing change from shooting aliens.
For: Windows PC (via Steam)
From: Teotl Studios
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