The Point-and-click puzzle adventure arrives on the iPad 2

For a game that – graphically speaking, at least – wouldn’t look out of place on a console, or indeed any kind of PC, Machinarium represents a brilliant iPad experience. The game started out life as a point-and-click adventure for home computers, but the release of this iOS version is bound to make it part of tablet folklore.

The game itself is based around navigating and protecting one little robot, who you must help guide through a perilous environment, past guards and through labyrinth landscapes. The animation makes all this a mesmerising experience, with great detail in every scene, and some really nice flashes of humour helping to keep you playing for hours and hours.

If course, all this shouldn’t be too difficult given the puzzle-based nature of the game. You’ll be sat staring and tapping randomly at the same scene for 20 minutes on more
than one occasion as you try to work out how to move forward to the next level. The puzzles you have to solve range from basic logic involving doing things in a certain order or using objects within the level to help you, to puzzles and brain-teasers involving wires, hidden clocks and light sequences to unlock doors.

You’ll be tested in every way possible, but at no point does it get boring or frustrating. You’re compelled to keep going, even if it’s just to see how stunning the next environment looks.

The game also contains an impressive amount of humour for something that has no speaking characters, with hand-drawn, animation-filled speech bubbles, or noises from robots breaking up the action with impeccable timing to make you chuckle.

There are also a whole range of endearing characters besides the one you control; from pesky guards and villains to avoid, to helpful mouse-bots and chain-smoking cellmates. It all adds to the Machinarium experience, and with such a range and depth to the characters you interact with, the in-game world starts to seem that bit more believable.

The gameplay itself is very well organised, and as such requires only a very short tutorial at the start of the game to allow you to get to grips with the controls, which involve simply tapping the screen either where you want to move, or in order to interact with something. Items you pick up are added to your inventory, which remains displayed at the bottom of the screen, and tapping and dragging them onto the correct object on the screen will see you use it in that way.

These simple controls make for decent functionality, and therefore a better gaming experience, because when you’re playing a puzzle game like Machinarium, the last thing you need is for the controls to be a mystery of their own that must be unravelled.

Whatever your gaming preferences are, there is no doubt that you’ll get great pleasure in playing Machinarium on your iPad; in fact, it feels as if you’ve somehow stolen it from a console or PC. Additionally, being able to carry a game that looks and plays as well as this around with you is not only testament to the power of iOS, but also the developers of Machinarium, who have taken a gorgeous game and made not only a decent mobile port, but also one of the best iOS games around.

Rated 5 out of 5

Gorgeous to look at, Machinarium is a steal for anyone with an iPad 2.