Developer Machineboy, aka solo developer Mattis Folkestad, captured our hearts with the quirky retro-style adventure game Milkmaid of the Milky Way ($3.99) back in 2017, fetching our Game of the Week nod and a 4 star review at the time. Milkmaid was a pretty traditional point-and-click style game, but in all honesty the puzzles themselves didn’t put up much of a fight as this was a title that was more about experiencing the story, characters, and the silly humor than taxing your brain. That’s kind of what we liked about it so much. Now Machineboy has brought their new project Embracelet ($6.99), which launched on PC and Nintendo Switch in October, over to the iOS platform and it presents a lot of what we enjoyed in Milkmaid of the Milky Way but in an entirely new and gorgeous package.
Embracelet is very much a coming of age adventure. You play as Norwegian teenager Jesper whose grandfather gives him a mysterious bracelet that gives Jesper the power to move objects like Luke Skywalker using The Force. There’s also a mysterious story around how your grandfather ended up with the bracelet, and some of the things he’s done in his past as a result of the bracelet’s power. He tasks you with visiting the small Northern island he grew up on, and the place he hasn’t been back to since “the incident" with the bracelet. Your job will be to unravel the mysteries of your grandfather’s past and fulfill your promise to him to return the bracelet to where it came from.
Unlike Milkmaid and its pixel art, Embracelet features fully 3D stylized visuals. The game is frequently jaw-droppingly gorgeous while overall still maintaining a simplistic style. This is again a game where the puzzles are never very difficult and you’re very unlikely to get stuck not knowing what to do, but like Milkmaid, this is more an interactive story with some light puzzling and adventure game elements, and at least so far its narrative is really engaging. I’ve found moving around the environments can be a little clunky and occasionally the fixed camera views can be a bother, but overall it’s worth putting up with these minor annoyances to continue exploring this interesting world and advancing the story.
I think if you enjoyed Milkmaid of the Milky Way for its story and humor then you’ll no doubt have a good time playing through Embracelet. It strikes a similar chord, though it’s a much more emotional and often serious story. And even if you haven’t played Machineboy’s previous work (you really should though!) but you enjoy great narrative experiences, then Embracelet will likely be a journey worth taking. Shaun previously wrote about the Switch release and said “As long as you’re not expecting too much on the mechanical end of things, you’ll probably find yourself as engrossed in Embracelet as I was" and based on my experience I think that’s totally spot on.