Microsoft’s ID@Xbox program has seen a fair number of indie releases coming to both the Xbox 360 and Xbox One. One of the latest releases to hit the Xbox One is a remake of a previously released puzzle game for the PC. We take a look at how the game fares on the console in our Unmechanical: Extended review.
The game starts off with a pack of little helicopter robots flying across a grassy field. One of the robots gets sucked down a hole in the ground, and thus the game begins. The robot – which is controlled by the player – must complete a series of challenges and puzzles in order to escape the underground complex and return to the surface. To be honest, there isn’t much of a story beyond that but it is at least an attempt to wrap a series of challenges into something other than simply making gamers complete levels upon levels of different puzzles.
As the game progresses though, and I suspect the soundtrack has much to do with this, you do start to feel empathetic with your robot friend as you guide him (hopefully) closer to the surface.
The gameplay is straightforward, and uses fairly basic controls. You move the robot using the thumbstick, press A to activate your tractor beam and interact with objects or move them around, and press Y to get hints about what to do next.
Along the journey, you frequently come across levers, blocks, bulbs, and other objects you must interact with in order to open gates, covers, and release balls of light in order to continue. As the game progresses, the challenges do require more thought and sometimes backtracking or completing part of a puzzle is necessary. Then you can move to a new area to undertake a different task before being able to fully complete the previous one. The hint system works fairly well when you use it assuming you are near an object you can interact with, however there is an achievement to complete the game without using hints.
The game is relatively short, it took about 4.5 hours to complete the main “story”, however it is by no means easy. After completion, the additional levels (hence the Extended Edition) are unlocked and playable.
I’m not sure where the “unmechanical” portion of the title comes in as you are controlling a mechanical robot and travelling through caverns filled with gears, pulleys, other rustic looking mechanical items, rock, and even fleshy elements. That aside, Unmechanical: Extended is a very gorgeous looking game and the level of detail in the dark subterranean caverns – from the environment to the mechanical objects and the robots themselves is well done.
Throughout game, a pleasing soundtrack follows you around as you complete the challenges. It never sounds repetitive (although I’m sure it is), and it never distracts you from the task at hand. The clunking and whirring of gears and other mechanical sounds as you travel through the caves and perform tasks is well done and is spot on throughout the game.
Unmechanical: Extended is one of those visually appealing and pleasant sounding puzzle games that does a good job of challenging your reasoning skills. Although it was a tad short, the puzzles aren’t too easy and some of them require quite a bit of thought. If you’re in the mood for some challenging brain teasers, you should definitely check out Unmechanical: Extended on the Xbox One.