Back in February of this year, I wrote about an indie game that I was really looking forward to: The Path. The game has since been released, of course, and I would say it was well worth the wait. Not necessarily because it was a great game—as with their earlier piece, The Graveyard, it was less a game than an interactive narrative experience—but because it was a well-crafted work that encouraged and successfully produced a good deal of dialogue about its subject matter and about interactive narrative in general.
Another piece that has been on my radar for some time is Amanita Design’s Machinarium. They’ve been making the rounds for some time now with occasional blog pieces, early pre-order specials, and rare teaser trailers. They even provided those who pre-ordered the game with a special “pre-order pack” consisting of hi-res screenshots and soundtrack previews. So they’ve done a pretty good job of getting the word out and generating some pre-launch interest.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the game won the award for Excellence in Visual Art at the 2009 IGF, or that it was selected for the PAX10 Showcase of Indie Games just a couple of months ago. All signs seem to be pointing to an interesting, beautiful, and most likely fun game.
In addition to a short little teaser released just a few days ago, Amanita announced yesterday the availability of a short demo of the game for PC and Mac. They also announced the release date of October 16th, just two weeks from now.
The demo isn’t very big (36MB for the Mac version), and it’s short, but it looks fantastic. The artwork is outstanding; that we already knew. And we’ve seen snippets of gameplay from the trailers, which appears to consist of interactive, object-based puzzles, although I gather there is some nice creativity in the way they are implemented.
I don’t yet have a good feel for how long the full game will be, what the underlying narrative will be like, or the variation in the types of puzzles and solutions offered. But it looks like it is a natural evolution from Amanita’s previous offerings (such as the Samorosts), but with considerably more length, depth, and narrative.
So far, at least, this game looks like it will offer a fun, unique, and visually beautiful addition to the graphical adventure genre.
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