Graphics:
8.2
Gameplay:
7.5
Sound:
8.0
Control:
7.9
Replay Value:
7.0
Overall Rating:
7.8
Online Gameplay:
Not Rated
Publisher:
Grip Games
Developer:
Talawa Games, Grip Games
Number Of Players:
1
Genre:
Puzzle
Release Date:
February 10, 2015


Sometimes, it’s nice to kick back with a quirky little brain-buster and spend a few hours, considering and conquering. Unmechanical: Extended Edition is an upgraded version of the 2012 PC hit and while it’s a pretty straightforward puzzler, it’s a well-designed one. Plus, the visual presentation is inspired and those who appreciate a stiff challenge will relish the latter stages of the game. There are cases where we have to suffer through a few tedious, frustrating puzzles that leave us just plain irked, but the overall experience is a positive one.

Visually, Unmechanical is like a fantastical take on the industrial; a lighter, more ethereal take on the steampunk concept. The game benefits from beautiful textures throughout along with fantastic animation. It’s one of those games that, even though it isn’t a AAA blockbuster production, it still manages to draw the eye. It demands our attention due to a solid, attractive, original presentation as opposed to in-your-face special effects. This is about subtlety, after all. The lighting and shading is indeed special but again, it’s all special on a smaller scale. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, either; it’s just pleasant to behold.

The music fits snugly into the graphical style, as a mix of haunting, atmospheric effects accompany your puzzle-solving adventure. The soundtrack works as well, helping to produce a singular environment that has its own appealing personality. There are those who may not embrace such an environment (it’s a little dark for me, for instance), but it remains a great accomplishment. The audio and graphics are appropriately implemented for the sake of immersion, and they work together to create a game that quite simply makes one smile. It’s nothing to write home about but it paints a picture, and it’s a picture that most will find inviting.

The scenario is rather vague, as there’s virtually no defined story. It all centers on the protagonist, a bizarre robotic character, lost in a strange land filled with debris and detritus. It appears that a once-powerful civilization has crumbled and all that remains is an intimidating wasteland, albeit not without its little charms. The goal is to escape this foreboding landscape and as you travel, you’ll spot other robots who are facing the same challenges. These characters don’t stick around for very long, though; you never get a chance to interact with any of them. This just leaves you, gliding along, trying to figure out what happened, and how to get out.

For the most part, I don’t like it when a game completely eliminates any semblance of plot and character development. I mean, even fighters have a plot, even if that plot is typically a joke. But in the case of niche games like Unmechanical , where the focus is squarely on puzzle-solving gameplay (and it’s not a pure adventure, like Myst or Monkey Island ), it doesn’t really bother me. Just remember that if you’re a novice in the world of puzzlers, this one may be a bit beyond your grasp. I’ve played lots of puzzle games in my day and I have to admit, there were several puzzles in this game that stumped me. However, I will say that sometimes, I think it was due more to flawed design than my inability to find the solution.