Developer: Littlefield Studio
Release Date: March 23, 2021
Machinika Museum is a short little puzzler in the vein of The Room series. All of the action – and by action, I mean puzzles – takes place in a single area, without any input from non-player characters. These games sink or swim almost completely on the quality of the puzzles – too easy, and people are either bored or feeling cheated; too difficult or obtuse, and people will feel like they’ve wasted both their time and money. I’m pleased to say that, at least as far as I’m concerned, this game walks that line perfectly. None of the puzzles felt unfair, even the very last one, that stumped me hard enough to go looking for a walkthrough.
The controls took a little getting used to, as the game is also available as mobile download so it was designed to be touch friendly. There’s a lot of click-hold-and-drag happening here. The Steam page indicates that the game has full controller support, but I didn’t have any trouble playing through with just the mouse.
Instead of being an escape room puzzler, in Machinika Museum, you’re a researcher at a museum who’s been left with a pile of alien artifacts that need to be figured out. Each package comes with a letter, but the letters are all moderately to heavily redacted, so you’re on your own not only to figure out how things work, but what they actually do.
You get a couple of neat tools to help you sort everything out. Use your 3D printer when you have something you really need more than one of, and your really neat electronic one-size-fits-all screwdriver for the assortment of really strange screws you’re going to come across. You even have an endoscope, which lets you look inside things provided you can find a small hole to get it in there.
Otherwise, there isn’t much of anything that’ll throw you off if you’ve played similar puzzles in the past. The game is divided into seven chapters, one for each item you’ll need to figure out. There were a couple of repeated puzzle styles, but the game relies heavily on the “look at everything” trope – if you need to enter a code or figure out a series of symbols, it’s a sure bet you’ve seen them elsewhere already.
I did hit a bug in Chapter Six that locked me from progressing, so I lost about 10 minutes redoing the beginning of that chapter, and the entire game took just over two hours to finish. There are no achievements, and no real reason to replay it. I probably would have passed this over at full price, but for the dollar I paid from Fanatical in one of their recent bundles, I have no complaints.