Machineers is a point and click puzzler set in a dreary highly mechanized world. In fact, the puzzles themselves are highly mechanical, requiring you to fix machines (thus, “Machineers”) using an assortment of gears, chains, cords, and colored switches. If it doesn’t sound that complicated, then it’s because it isn’t that complicated.

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The story is relatively simple—you walk into a shop and begin working as an “apprentice” machineer until you can earn your place as a proper machineer by helping the townspeople with their various problems. The bossman is stereotypically hard on you but proud. Your coworkers are friendly but simply stand there. You help everyone out then are promoted to full Machineer and sent to the River City branch (in Episode 2, which is DLC).

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Each puzzle is relatively straightforward: you are given a half-complete machine and an assortment of parts and are told to make it function again. In a slightly elementary twist, you are not really limited by the numbers of parts. Often times, I finished puzzles with oodles of parts left even when I made a very inefficient machine. I think the difficulty could have been increased by limiting the parts more severely.

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That’s my real gripe about Machineers—it’s just too easy. Nothing about it is that challenging. It takes about a minute or so to figure out what the problem is and how it should be fixed, then the rest of the time is just clicking and dragging the gears and belts into place. I beat the first episode in about an hour. Now, this may be because I suspect it wasn’t made natively for PC’s: the controls are just clicking, it’s available on mobile devices, and the game uses a considerable amount of resources considering its simplistic nature (about the same CPU load as GTA V, for reference). The redeeming bit about difficulty comes at the end of the episode, when you are given the blank blueprint for a car and are allowed to build it as complex as you’d like (to a degree). I pushed myself to make a tank with four drive wheels and front steering, and a light. Granted, that’s about as complex as it can be and it took me only about 10 minutes. It’s also just severely short.

My favorite part of Machineers, however, is its art style. The graphics are beautifully themed and the sound design is incredible. From a technical level, even The Talos Principle might need to watch its beautiful back. There’s a part where the town DJ lets you mix your own music using what are essentially circuits, and it’s amazing to hear how beautifully everything comes together. That music you mix even plays as you continue walking around the town, and it sounds great among the other sounds of the roller coasters, wind, other citizens, etc.

All in all, it’s a simple puzzler targeted perhaps towards the younger crowds. It’s also quite short, so it’s really only worth it on sale. Machineers is available here on Steam.

Score: 3.5 / 5


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