Unmechanical is a strange tale of a helicopter-like robot who finds himself lost in a massive cavern. The focus of the game is simply on solving puzzles to move from one room to the next. There’s no combat and the game’s description trumpets its all-ages fitness, but there’s still an undeniable sense of creepy to the whole thing.
One room, for instance, tasks the little bot with opening doors surrounding a massive chamber with (against all odds) a giant beating heart in the middle. The game itself is played out like a side-scrolling adventure. Tap in the direction you want the bot to go and he flies there (barring obstacles). Tap on him and it activates his gravity pull ability, which allows him to grab and pull rocks, glowing balls of energy, switches,
and other items.
That’s all you’ll really need to get through the few hours of exploration Unmechanical offers. Puzzles generally rely on moving and dropping objects on switches. Occasional memory puzzles throw in Simon Says type challenges. There are some clever laser and mirror puzzles throughout as well. Many of the rooms are quite massive, however, leading to multi-step puzzles that require a lot of thought.
If you get stuck or need direction, there’s a help button, which quaintly creates a
thought bubble with a visual clue above the robot’s head. It’s a nice hint system because it doesn’t reveal too much and makes sense in the context of the game. Most of the puzzles aren’t terribly hard, but there’s a nice sense of accomplishment when completing the 30+ puzzles in the game.
Unmechanical uses the Unreal engine to great effect. The graphics have a slightly indie comic look to them (especially the character design), but the use of multilayer scrolling is impressive. The backgrounds are nicely detailed, creating a real sense of depth to the bizarre landscape. Audio work is moody and evocative, with a surprisingly good soundtrack and great, if minimal sound effects.
Focused purely on puzzle solving, Unmechanical isn’t as deep as a lot of the huge, Metroid-style action adventures. It’s fairly short and the gameplay is kept very simple. There’s nothing else here beyond the charming look and puzzles. Yet within that framework, Unmechanical is a fun and quirky diversion.