Machinarium

Common Sense Media says

Challenging robot adventure surprises with touching story.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Ease of play

The game offers minimal instructions, relying on users to figure out how to advance in the game themselves. One hint is offered per level, though -- and you can get a walkthrough by conquering a mini-game if you're really stuck.

Violence

The game's villains threaten to blow up the tower where the hero's girlfriend is being kept. The guards in the game have bully-like characteristics, shoving the hero to the ground.

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The hero makes a cigarette from dried algae and toilet paper; a robot prisoner smokes it.

Privacy & safety
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Machinarium is an adventure/puzzle game that requires the user to solve brain teasers in order to advance. The game uses no dialogue and minimal instruction, but it's easy to figure out the objective, thanks to very clever animation and sound effects. The game is a major resource drain, though, and will only work on the iPad 2. While there is mild violence and the threat of more, the game is a love story at its core. The puzzles can be quite difficult at times, though, which might frustrate some players.

What kids can learn

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information
  • hypothesis-testing
  • problem solving

Creativity

  • developing novel solutions
  • imagination

Emotional Development

  • empathy
  • persevering

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Minimalist interface and hand-drawn graphics might catch your eye, but the clever story and sly humor that make this unforgettable. Heart and emotion are communicated through subtle, understated means, a rarity in this over-the-top gaming world.

Learning Approach

Experimentation is key. When one solution fails, kids must approach the problem from a different angle, using the tools at their disposal to think creatively.

Support

Minimal instructions are offered, so kids need to figure out how to advance in the game on their own. Hints offer just a nudge, and one that still requires plenty of original thinking on the player's behalf. 

What kids can learn

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information
  • hypothesis-testing
  • problem solving

Creativity

  • developing novel solutions
  • imagination

Emotional Development

  • empathy
  • persevering

Kids can learn about experimenting to solve problems when playing the adventure/puzzle app Machinarium. Minimal instructions are offered, so kids need to figure out how to advance in the game on their own. Puzzles are challenging, but they all follow a very logical path. When a solution fails, kids must approach the problem from a different angle. Brainteasers stretch kids' imaginations as they work their way through a touching adventure.

This Learning Rating review was written by Chris Morris

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

What's it about?

Using only clever animation and in-game sound effects, kids will have to determine exactly what the problem is and how best to solve it as they work their way through the adventure/puzzle adventure Machinarium. For players who get particularly stuck, the game offers one hint per level. In one early level, for instance, players will have to get past a guard by using scattered trash to create a fake uniform.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

MACHINARIUM is unlike anything you've played in the app store. Its minimalist interface and hand-drawn graphics might catch your eye, but its clever story and sly humor make it unforgettable. It's a point-and-click adventure/puzzle game -- and those puzzles can be real brain stumpers -- but it's one with heart and emotion that's communicated through subtle, understated means, a rarity in this over-the-top gaming world. The game, originally released on PC, won several awards from respected industry sites -- and it makes a wonderfully smooth transition to iOS devices.

Families can talk about...

  • When kids are stuck, offer suggestions on different ways to think about the problem.

  • Let kids know that the kind of creative thinking they're using in the game is helpful in real life, too. Remind them that when a problem seems insurmountable, there may be a creative solution.

App details

Device:iPad
Price:$4.99
Release date:September 8, 2011
Category:Puzzle Games
Size:189.00 MB
Publisher:Amanita Design
Version:1.0
Minimum software requirements:iOS 4.0 or later

This review of Machinarium was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 14 years old Written byLukeTheGreat May 1, 2012
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

A difficult, but child-safe masterpiece.

Right off the bat: Machinarium is one of the best games I've ever played. Any adult gamer needs to buy this, period. That said, this game may be a bit difficult for younger users. Although I was able to complete the game without using a walkthrough, some of the puzzles can be a bit obscure for anyone unfamiliar with such games. In addition, the villains can be somewhat threatening at times, and smoking is seen, although both of these problems are rare. Overall, this is a great game for children to just explore around and take in its beautiful environments, but if they wish to actually get anywhere, they may want to wait until they're older.

What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 15 years old Written bySalsander June 21, 2013
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

Beautiful Game May Frustrate Some

If it were a matter of maturity, I would have given an age recommendation of 10 and up and possibly even lower. Mature content may not be an issue but the player must be old enough to truly appreciate the art and themes of Machinarium and must have the knowledge to solve these rather difficult puzzles. It's worth playing, but I'd give this an iffy rating for younger kids because they may not appreciate the level of difficulty of the puzzles.
As far as mature content goes, there isn't too much to find here. There are a couple small references to violence, but it is mostly the type you would see in playground bullying. Josef, the main character, is bullied by other robots and memories are shown of him being pushed, having money stolen, having a sand castle destroyed, and other bullying acts. Residents of this city you explore have also been effected by this bullying. One person had his radio stolen while another had his drum broken, showing the negative impact on bullying. The only other violence that is depicted in the game is a bomb threat. The bullies strap a bomb onto a tower where Josef's friends are being held. An animation shows the tower being blown up from a distance, however you are able to rewind time in order to save your friends.
Other than that, the only other issue parents may have is there are two scenes where drugs are used. One is in an earlier level where Josef is held in a prison cell and must make a cigarette for an inmate in order for him to help Josef. To make the cigarette, he finds a some wet weeds in a pipe, dries them on a lightbulb, and then wraps the burned weed in toilet paper. Additionaly, Josef has a a flashback of making a cigar with the end of a cattail plant, but quickly hides it when a guard comes near. Both creation processes are unrealistic, however it may give kids ideas.
This is the only mature content seen in game, however I raised the age recomendation to 12 and up because the puzzles can be excruciatingly difficult. The puzzle elements can be hidden a little too well in the environments and they can really fry your brain. Fortunately there is an in game walkthrough for all the stages, but it would have been nicer if this was not necessary if the puzzle difficulty was toned down a bit.
Despite the puzzles being difficult, I found it definitely worth the ride. The music and art work was amazingly done, the characters are a delight even without speaking a single word, and the game just makes you feel like a good person. Josef is not solely focused on saving his friends, but he additionaly helps others who have been affected by bullying along the way. Additionaly there is a cute love story between Josef and his girlfriend, one of his friends he is trying to save in the tower. Josef is a great rolemodel, and his character really makes up for the game's difficulty.

What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written bydmendelsohn8 September 16, 2013
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

Very Good

This game is the best game ever! I am a parent of three and I definitely recommend this game to any other child of 7 years or older. All of my children love this game and it is at a wonderful price of only 5.99$!

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Top Kids' Movies: An Essential Guide for Families