Wednesday, April 24

Review: Homo Machina [Nintendo Switch eShop]

It’s hard not to have mixed feelings with transplants from the mobile space sometimes. While there are great games that play well on a tablet or phone that also then translate wonderfully to the Switch and justify their presence there are others who don’t. Whether it’s a function of them playing poorly with a physical controller (some not at all) or that there’s just not enough meat on their bones to feel like they belong on a dedicated game system it just doesn’t always work out.

In the case of Homo Machina I have mixed feelings, as I’ll give it credit for its novelty. As the name implies the game revolves around you controlling a person at a mechanical level. Each major system in the body is represented by machinery that you’ll need to work out as a puzzle to manipulate in order to get the person up and moving.

This is very much a game intended to be played vertically in handheld mode like a tablet. In docked mode it being horizontal leaves bars on either side but the bigger issue is that it then uses pointer controls, which in general are universally awful since the calibration needs to constantly be re-centered. Using the touchscreen as obviously intended lets you play much more easily, but from location to location in the body play inconsistent. In some cases the puzzles are intuitive and even clever but in other cases it honestly just felt like trial and error hunting and pecking without necessarily making a whole lot of sense.

Overall, I’ll give credit for the idea and presentation being unique. Some of the dialogue between the workers within the body is mildly amusing, but the emphasis here is on the gameplay and working with the body machinery first and foremost. If you’re looking for a different sort of puzzler to play and don’t mind playing with the Switch as a tablet it’s not a bad find, just understand that its strongest suit is its novelty.

Score: 6

  • Representing body parts and systems as machinery is at least different
  • While puzzles vary in their quality they’re at least typically interesting and unique from one another

  • Absolutely should be played vertically using the touchscreen, docked play uses pointer controls and while playable is aggravating
  • In terms of the experience its strength is more in being different than being thoroughly fun