Have You Played… Unmechanical?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Unmechanical has gone so forgotten that even I, despite adoring it back in 2012, had entirely forgotten what it was about. Although I’m also old and stupid. What it is about is playing a little floating robot, with a tractor beam for a bottom, trying to solve a series of physics puzzles in a madly charming 2D puzzler.

What’s most notable about this little four hour gem is what a pleasure it is to control your character. Floaty games can often frustrate, especially if they’re going to make a fuss about bumping into things. None of that nonsense here, with a wonderful sense of weight and balance. And indeed gorgeous little “oofs” when he harmlessly bumps the sides.

It’s a really rather beautiful thing too, the Unreal engine put to great use with a combination of mechanical and organic materials as backgrounds, and the fun pleasure of dropping metal girders into rusty cogs to see them ca-lunk to a halt. It’s a morsel of a game, and sadly there’s no sign of what would be a very welcome sequel. Developers Talawa have since released an iPhone project with the bile-inducing name Peppy Pals. However, they do appear to be working on the intriguing-looking A Song For Viggo.

8 Comments

  1. Xocrates says:

    I have played it, but aside of the vague recollection of not particularly enjoying it, it truly has evaporated from my mind.

    Fortunately it appears I did comment on the original WIT on why I wasn’t impressed, so at least now I sort of know why I didn’t much like it.

    • Henson says:

      I am of much the same mind. Unmechanical has very little to distinguish it as particularly special; it’s a solid yet fairly unremarkable way to pass a few hours of your time.

  2. cpt_freakout says:

    For some reason I used to confuse this with Machinarium. Anyway, I think I have this somewhere in my games library, so I’ll bookmark it and play it sometime! (at the current rate I’m playing and finishing stuff that means like March next year :P ) So thanks!

    • yan spaceman says:

      … Good lord, until I got to your comment I had read Unmechanical as Machinarium and thought that was what the article was about. I thought the floaty bit sounded a bit dubious. Oh well, I’ve got Machinarium unplayed in my Steam library. I might just go and play that for a bit instead.

      • Samwise Gamgee says:

        Machinarium is an outstanding point and click adventure game, one of the very best. Make sure you do give it a go!

  3. MashPotato says:

    This game is spiffy, and I’ll echo that recommendation with a cut-n-paste from my steam review, if for some reason people don’t trust Alec’s (EDIT: oops, I mean John’s) recommendation on its own ;)

    Unmechanical is a physics-based puzzle platformer (hoverer?) in which you play an adorable robot trying to escape from a subterrainean complex, using only the power of your tractor beam. Charming visuals and simple, good controls make this a solid and enjoyable game.

    As a puzzler, the most important part of the game is, well, the puzzles, and Unmechanical does it well with a variety of different kinds, including pattern recognition, memory, physics-based, and a few arcade-y bits. The difficulty is on the easy side, but not annoyingly so–I would make steady progress until I would get stuck, exit, and the next time I played I would generally solve it right away. There are no in-game instructions, but they aren’t needed; just go and explore, observe your surroundings, and you’ll figure out what to do. (There is an in-game hint system, but I never used it so I can’t comment on its helpfulness). It took me just under 4 hours to finish, but would be quicker for some folks.

    But why rush through the world? Unmechanical has a cool visuals, including rundown industrial areas mixed with oddly organic environments, not to mention the previously noted adorable main character. The simple controls also let you relax and enjoy the atmosphere: use arrows to fly, and hold down one button to use your tractor beam. I found the controls worked very well, and when picking up objects they felt appropriately “weighty”.

    My only complaints are that controllers are not fully supported–they can be used in-game, but the menus require a mouse–not a big deal, but a little annoying as I usually use a tablet and so my mouse isn’t always handy. I would also have liked to see more of the underground robots to make the world a bit more alive, but that’s just my own personal preference.

    Overall, I recommend this game if you’re not looking for a big challenge, but rather a nice world to explore while putting on your thinking cap :)

  4. Assaf says:

    Really enjoyed this game.

  5. minstrelofmoria says:

    I tried to play this. Turns out all those nifty lighting effects don’t play nice with my graphics card.