The Room from Fireproof Games was a groundbreaking title when it released way back in 2012, with an intricate puzzle box that was a joy to manipulate and solve directly with your fingers via the touchscreen. Its success spawned ports to other platforms, a number of sequels, and of course countless copycats. Few could match the level of polish and clever design of the original The Room games, and even fewer could do so while bringing something new to the table. While I won’t say it’s exactly groundbreaking, Littlefield Studio and Plug In Digital’s Machinika Museum offers a number of extremely cool puzzle boxes to solve with an overarching story and a cool alien twist, and I’ve found it to scratch my The Room itch even if it doesn’t quite reach the same heights of that series.
Storyline-wise, you work in the workshop of a museum dedicated to crazy futuristic artifacts. Your job is to take in the shipments of artifacts, then fix them up and get them into shape to be displayed in the museum. However, you’ve just been sent a mysterious batch of items with not much information to go along with them, as well as a rush order to work on them which is also out of the ordinary. As you figure out the mysteries of these intricate puzzle boxes, each more alien than the last, you’ll slowly uncover the truth about what is going on. The truth… is out there!
The actual puzzle boxes in Machinika Museum aren’t always the most challenging, but they are cleverly-designed and filled with neat little touches that are pretty delightful. The story as well as all the little details and lore about the universe the game takes place in are also really cool. Like I said, this isn’t a groundbreaking experience or anything, but it’s very well done and entertaining and that’s really all I’m looking for in this sort of game. The controls can be finicky at times and some of the solutions to the puzzles feel a bit out there, and overall it’s on the shorter side, but for the most part this should satisfy if you have a hankering for some The Room-like puzzle-solving.
Unfortunately Machinika Museum launched with a few game-stopping bugs that have already been fixed but that didn’t stop it from getting absolutely hammered in the App Store ratings. People are quick to air their grievances about a problem via the App Store rating system but most don’t ever go back to change their low score once the issue has been fixed. Then there’s the occasional idiot who, because this is a free trial with premium unlock pay model, rates the game 1 star because “you have to pay for it." Boy that really grinds my gears. But, because it’s free to try, it’s easy to recommend you do so for yourself if you enjoy puzzle box games with fancy graphics and a really cool atmosphere.