Small… But Per­fectly Formed

Test your me­tal with five indie games about ro­bots

Games Master - - Indiemaster -

Machi­nar­ium

Amanita De­sign’s gor­geous, hand-drawn point-and-clicker is as rich in life and de­tail as any block­buster: you’ll click on ev­ery­thing be­cause you’ll al­ways get a re­sponse. And de­spite the rusty en­vi­ron­ments it’s any­thing but creaky, stream­lin­ing puz­zles and of­fer­ing hints. A gem.

SteamWorld Dig 2

No joints need oil­ing in this slick Metroid­va­nia, which places a Nin­tendo-like em­pha­sis on feel and cer­tainly ben­e­fits from it. As the op­ti­mistic Dorothy, tasked with look­ing for orig­i­nal game pro­tag­o­nist Rusty, you’ll carve your own path down­ward: it’s a joy, and sub­tle de­sign tricks en­sure you’ll never get truly lost.

Grow Home

De­vel­oped by a tiny team at Ubisoft Re­flec­tions, this casts you as BUD, a lit­tle ro­bot who must plant seeds and climb their shoots to reach new heights. BUD’s tod­dler-like move­ments as he makes his way up this ever-grow­ing beanstalk add charm and com­edy to a de­light­fully dif­fer­ent ad­ven­ture.

Nex Machina

You don’t ac­tu­ally play as a ro­bot in this fu­ri­ous shooter, but there are thou­sands here to turn into scrap. A col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween House­mar­que and vet­eran de­signer Eu­gene Jarvis, it owes plenty to Jarvis’s Robotron, but has a tempo and flavour all of its own.

Sub­sur­face Cir­cu­lar

Con­ceived and de­vel­oped in a mat­ter of months, Mike Bithell’s lean, di­a­logue-led ad­ven­ture fol­lows a ro­bot de­tec­tive rid­ing the sub­way and in­ter­view­ing its pas­sen­gers. Mix­ing in­trigue and hu­mour, Bithell’s witty script car­ries the game, with stylish pre­sen­ta­tion.

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