A barge filled with garbage leaves port and heads to a desolate landfill. Among the junk that’s been jettisoned is the head of a robot named Josef. And so your journey begins.
Playing as Josef’s disembodied head, you’ll explore the trash heap and use objects you find to reassemble yourself. But what sets Machinarium apart from other point-and-click adventures is that you can only interact with what’s in Josef’s reach.
Tapping a lever you see onscreen will do nothing unless Josef can physically get to it. Fortunately, once fully assembled, he has some robotic tricks up his sleeve. His torso and limbs extend to reach distant objects—or contract to slip into tight spaces.
There’s more to Machinarium than the constraint of proximity, however. The robot denizens of this world don’t use a spoken language; the story plays out in quirky thought-bubble cartoons that are at once humorous and unsettling.
The puzzles start off challenging and only become more so as you continue. And though you get one hint per stage, don’t expect the clue to spell everything out for you. Like Josef’s memories, these clever cartoons just guide you in the right direction.
Discovering why Josef was discarded is a harrowing, brainteasing journey. The world of Machinarium may be gritty and covered in rust, but this adventure is pure gold.