Unmechanical: Extended Edition, Review

From the very first moment Unmechanical’s unassuming hero putters onto the screen, you’re hooked. Playing as an apple-shaped, slightly sad-looking robot with blinking headlamps for eyes, you instantly feel like you have to rescue this little guy although you’re never quite sure why.

After being rather unceremoniously grabbed by an unidentified grabber,you have to make your way through a series of maze-like pipes, solving cute little head-scratcher puzzles along the way. Not a single word is said, except for the occasional thought bubble that hints at how to play. Unsurprisingly, this means solving the game’s physics puzzles is more of a visual matter, leading to trial and error attempts as you slowly tease out interactions and figure out which switch lights up which coloured bulb.

This works best when there is only one channel to go through one long line of unambiguously puzzle-like objects, one after the other because when the areas start to open up a little, things can get needlessly confusing.

Many puzzles involve picking up an item with your tractor beam a rock, a bomb, an orb of electricity and placing it somewhere, triggering switches, holding down buttons and generally doing things that are quite obvious. When there’s more than one thing to do, with more than one object, it starts to get trickier to keep track. When the puzzles themselves are pretty testing, it can be awkward and time-consuming to have to figure out what to do next as well to the point where you wonder if the puzzle might just be unsolvable.

The levels look good, with undeniably lovely textures, and a strange, unsettling aesthetic that mixes rusty, industrial metal with what look like lumps of organic matter. It’s sufficiently creepy without ever being overbearing, adding an exciting soupçon of background flavour.

Unmechanical’s puzzles are smart without being too obvious, its design is interesting without being overdone and its protagonist is sweet without being saccharine. Although let down by occasionally labyrinthine level design, Unmechanical is a solid, uncommonly clever little puzzler that will win your heart or whatever pulsating fleshlump you keep in your ribcage.


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