Machinika Museum 2021: Discover Secrets Stories Of Alien Civilizations
March 23rd, 2021
Mind-bending Puzzles: use your sharp logic skills and your sense of observation
Mysterious sci-fi atmosphere and story: there is so much you don't know yet...
Wonderful visuals, cryptic alien machines have never looked better
Intuitive and enjoyable controls. Why make it complicated?
2 to 4 hours of gameplay and mystery
The Machinika Museum welcomes you to discover and solve mysterious mysteries! Inspired by the excellent old-school puzzle game Myst as well as the more modern The Room and The House of Da Vinci, this unique journey combines hidden objects and a fascinating plot.
“Machinika Museum” is a brief (90-120 minute) first-person point-and-click puzzle game similar to “The Room,” but in a sci-fi setting with easier challenges. You take on the role of a researcher who is interested in alien relics. The artifacts do tell a short story, but you won’t be able to see it until the final chapter when you’ll discover how they’re all connected. However, the way it all comes together is quite well done. However, while the game does provide closure for the short “narrative” arc that it provides, we should note that it ends with an amateurish, absolutely needless cliffhanger telling you to “continue in the sequel”… which, as of this writing, does not even exist, so who knows if it ever will.
The Machinika Museum game is divided into seven chapters, each of which has the same structure: you are given a box and must find out how to open it. Opening the human-made packaging of each relic is a puzzle, which doesn’t make sense, but the puzzles themselves are good. After obtaining the artifact, you must investigate it, which usually produces a few items and reveals a few more problems. Your goal is to get the item to operate, and once you do, the game advances to the next chapter with the next item.
You do not move or wander around, as in “The Room.” Instead, you can rotate the thing you’re looking at (or move the camera around it), click on different areas, and the game will occasionally allow you to zoom in on the respective element and interact with it.
When you consider that these are machines that had to be used and maintained at some point, the puzzles make little sense, but perhaps that can be explained away by the fact that they are alien constructions. They’re generally well-done, with a lot of variety, and they’re all extremely simple. Typically in Machinika Museum, you uncover some interactable pieces on the artifact, figure out what they do, and solve a tiny challenge to unlock another compartment. You may need to use your own tools at times, such as a customizable screwdriver that you must shape right for the relevant screw and a little camera on a stick that can be inserted into small holes. We had a lot of fun solving the puzzles and witnessing how all of the parts moved into their proper locations as a result of our efforts. But we didn’t feel very accomplished because all of the solutions were either obvious or could be discovered with minimum experimentation.
The Machinika Museum game’s clear, high-fidelity graphics contributed significantly to our immersion, and the design of most devices is appropriately alien and intriguing. Apart from the main menu, there is no music, which works well for this game because it creates a pensive atmosphere and draws attention to the well-done sound effects. Voice acting is also non-existent (not that it would be necessary).
The game is only playable with the mouse; keyboard controls are not available. There’s a fullscreen/windowed toggle, a resolution picker, another for “quality” with four presets, and two independent volume sliders in the options menu. Unfortunately, the developer made no effort to give any accessibility alternatives. There are no colorblind filters, and some of the puzzles require color matching. On the plus side, because there are no auditory cues in Machinika Museum, deaf players should be able to completely enjoy this game. (You may miss the occasional “clack” noise that indicates that something went into its rightful location outside of your field of vision, but the camera typically shows you the movement, and if it doesn’t, you’ll still notice that you solved the puzzle because you can’t interact with it anymore.)
One of the key features of Machinika Museum is the game saves automatically at the start of each chapter. Manual saves aren’t available, but the chapters are so brief that it’s not a big deal. That said, we’re completely dissatisfied with a save system that claims to “save our progress” when we leave the game in the middle of a chapter, but then resets the chapter to the beginning when we return. On a more positive side, the game allows you to rerun any chapter at any time via a “chapter select” menu.
We’ve noticed a few reports of technical issues on Machinika Museum in the forum, but we didn’t experience any glitches ourselves. The game was also quite steady and smooth to play. On the negative side, the in-game content in the letters and suggestions could have benefited from some proofreading. They’re not horrible, but odd typos like “written” and the usage of broken grammar (mainly the removal of articles) detract from the player’s immersion. While the developer appears to have spent a significant amount of work on the graphics, sound effects, and animations, the game still comes across as unpolished due to the lack of accessibility choices and adequate proofreading.
We must also condemn the Machinika Museum game’s marketing. This isn’t a bad game, but the description on Steam significantly exaggerates its appeal. When a “galaxy-spanning puzzle game” takes place in a single, dark workroom and only features items discovered near Saturn, that’s hardly acceptable. The comparison to “Myst” in the description is absurd, given that the entire game is linear and takes place in a single room. The “interesting, puzzling story” may be presented in only a few phrases. All of this is especially galling because the game is so good that it wouldn’t have required false marketing to acquire an audience. The only effect of this is that we will be cautious of future product descriptions from this developer.