The Thought That Counts

by hal

I didn't know what to expect from Unmechanical going in and I can honestly say, having wrapped it up in just a little over three hours I really don't have any more of an idea what it's about. It didn't ruin the game for me and it did leave me wanting more (a good thing, right?), but I had to come to grips with the idea that there really is no story here other than what is implied through the actions that take place onscreen. Know that going in and I don't think most people will mind either.

Unmechanical looks and feels great. I played the game with a gamepad and felt that the controls were tight. All of the action buttons activate a tractor beam, which all flying robots seem to need, and the stick propels the little guy in the direction you wish for him to go. The levels are really a beauty to behold and are filled with all sorts of interesting mechanical contraptions and natural underground vistas.

There are no powerups (save the one obligatory upgrade mentioned by Brizz) or level points to distribute; it's just a robot and his beam, and you provide the ingenuity. Unmechanical is as pure a physics puzzler as they come and with all such games the quality of the puzzles is what makes the game shine or fail. Luckily, the puzzles are very solid and solutions are logical. Help is provided, if asked, in the form of a drawing of a clue in a thought bubble. A very clever way, I thought, of presenting you with a little help without giving you the answer directly and allowing you to stay immersed.

And there's the biggest thing. Unmechanical really sucks you into the world and it rarely slows down or rushes you through; the pace is very solid. You can enjoy the imaginative world without being nagged to leave. And there are a few Steam achievements for those willing to have a little fun on the side. The music, I must say, wasn't my favorite but it was very fitting to the quirky nature of the game.

Together all of those parts create a very satisfying experience that feels just right in execution, pace, and length. Though there isn't much point to playing it through a second time I did do so in order to pick up a few achievements I'd missed. The funny thing is that it was still really enjoyable and my nine-year-old who sat in on the second playthrough was completely mesmerized by the world and the action. It's probably a game that cuts across a wide demographic. It's supposed to be $9.99 at launch on Steam and it seems like a pretty solid value and an experience most won't want to miss.