Unmechanical, a stylish puzzler from Teotl Studios, is now available from the app store. Featuring a cute main character, intuitive controls, interesting puzzles, and great graphics, Unmechanical is a worthwhile, albeit short, adventure.
- Stylish, atmospheric graphics and smooth animations
- Great soundtrack that complements the gameplay nicely
- Intuitive touch controls
- Clever puzzles and expansive environments to navigate
- GameCenter achievements to earn
- Can be completed relatively quickly, leaving us wanting more
- Controls are a bit imprecise
After being sucked into a strange underground by a pop-up portal, you take control of a squat little robot with a helicopter propeller on his head and a tractor beam on his underbelly. Unsure what has occurred and where you are, you navigate within environments replete with rocky foundations, metallic outcroppings, pulsating flesh, flashy lights, electronic devices, and more. The robot hovers around the board and uses his tractor beam to move objects to complete the various puzzles that open new passageways, bringing him ever closer to his freedom. Puzzles come in multiple varieties, such as switch triggering, memory-based tasks, and item collection. Getting stuck on a puzzle isn’t usually an issue, though if you do, you can activate a graphic bubble that hints to the solution to your predicament. It’s quite cute and quirky, and the robot’s reactions to your input, dedication to mundane tasks, and inability to speak give him a lovable Wall-E feel. There is even an exploratory element due to the difficulty in distinguishing foreground from background. Lighted gates will save your progress, and three save slots allow multiple gamers to use the same device without impacting the progress of another.
The graphic style is terrific, with impressive lighting effects, expansive areas, and winding pathways to navigate. You’ll recognize familiar puzzle elements, noting gauges that must be filled by laser light, grappling arms that seek lighted bulbs, and pneumatic tubes that require you to remove blockers so that air can flow freely. The robot’s movements are smooth, and the game has a fairly relaxed feel due to the lack of timers and health meters. The soundtrack is outstanding, with a brooding quality and ambient sounds that works well with the game’s bleak and desolate landscape. Controls require you to hold your finger on-screen wherever you want the robot to move. Releasing your finger makes you stop. Tapping directly on the robot activates and deactivates the tractor beam. The controls are a bit imprecise, as a result of dealing with momentum, but they were certainly serviceable and intuitive. We did have some issues with accidentally triggering the tractor beam when we were trying to direct movements, but it’s rarely a big deal. You could actually play most of the game with the beam activated without much issue. There is an alternate joypad for users who don’t care for the default or who find the accidental tractor beam triggering to be annoying.
Replay value is low, given that there is no quantifiable data to compare with others. Other than attempting to snag all 15 GameCenter achievements, any replay would be purely to enjoy the experience once again. The game can be completed in a matter of hours, which isn’t a bad thing except that we were enjoying ourselves so much that we wanted more. A universal app for $2.99, Unmechanical garners a solid 4-Dimple score.