Tag Archives: Unmechanical

Paul’s Preeminent PlayStation Plus Purge – Unmechanical: Extended

I’ve tried playing through Unmechanical twice now, once on the PC and the second time on my PlayStation 3 with the Unmechanical: Extended edition. I feel like I got as far as I did in both games, which was not very far along if I’m being honest, stopping around the same point, somewhere deep in the mines section. I really wanted to like this puzzle-topia starring an ultra cute robot, but the puzzles eventually became too much for my tiny brain to figure out. Some are logical, and some are physics-based, but if all I’m doing is looking up solution after solution online, I don’t see the point of playing a game at all.

Unmechanical: Extended is a somewhat enhanced version of the original game, with an additional episode included to complete. This is first and foremost a puzzle adventure that combines tricky puzzle solving, exploration, and an engrossing if depressing atmosphere set amid tubes and machinery and underground tunnels. Taking place in a world of flesh, rock, and steel, your robot’s journey to freedom requires you to solve a great variety of puzzling challenges. Alas, my robot friend will never be free, and for that I am deeply sorry.

The controls aren’t too complicated. There are only three real options when you are controlling your robot buddy: moving it with the joystick, pushing a button to get a basic hint, and every other button on your controller activates your tractor beam; however, you have to hold down the button to keep your tractor beam engaged, and the beam can help move objects or activate levers. Some puzzles are self-contained in solitary rooms, while others are spread out across multiple areas, requiring you to travel back and forth, which can be quite frustrating and confusing, depending on the state of your memory.

Unmechanical: Extended is actually more than frustrating. Talawa Games clearly knows how to craft intricate puzzles, but the reliance on backtracking is a big ol’ bummer. The game’s world could have been a little more fleshed out, and the environments and additional robot critters all look rather bland or same-y. I don’t think I could really tell you what the actual plot is other than…escaping something, and maybe the additional content explores this further. It also sounds like there’s little to no replay value here, not that I’ll ever know. Lastly, the hint system. This should theoretically help players move forward, but the hints appear as thought bubbles or sometimes just a question mark, which feels too obtuse more than helpful.

Maybe one day I’ll give this another go, though I suspect I’ll get about halfway in and then give up because I just don’t have the energy to watch YouTube walkthroughs for the more complicated and involved puzzles. Sorry, Unmechanical: Extended, I just don’t have the energy.

Oh look, another reoccurring feature for Grinding Down. At least this one has both a purpose and an end goal–to rid myself of my digital collection of PlayStation Plus “freebies” as I look to discontinue the service soon. I got my PlayStation 3 back in January 2013 and have since been downloading just about every game offered up to me monthly thanks to the service’s subscription, but let’s be honest. Many of these games aren’t great, and the PlayStation 3 is long past its time in the limelight for stronger choices. So I’m gonna play ’em, uninstall ’em. Join me on this grand endeavor.

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Another flipping day at the Sugar Cube: Bittersweet Factory

sugar cube indie game impressions

I fell down another bundle hole some days back, buying in to the Evolved Bundle from Indie Royale–which is no longer available, replaced by the current Valentines Bundle, a collection of games that really don’t interest me at all. The Evolved Bundle consisted of six games. Here, let me list them for you:

  • Unmechanical
  • The Path
  • Krater
  • Sugar Cube: Bittersweet Factory
  • OIO
  • St. Chicken

Right. Some puzzle platformers, a puzzle-swimmer-platformer, an RPG, and whatever The Path cares to call itself. An experience? Anyways, I remember watching a Quick Look over at Giant Bomb for Krater and thinking it looked pretty neat (and Swedish), and that was enough to get me in for this bundle, with the other games considered as mere tag-alongs. Though Krater looks like it needs some time to get into and see how its systems work, which is not something I have oodles of these days. Instead, I was just randomly clicking around on Steam over the weekend for something quick to play, and I decided to see what Sugar Cube: Bittersweet Factory was all about besides looking adorable.

Believe it or not, there’s a story. Granted, it can be told in a single sentence, but it’s more than other 2D indie platformers give off sometimes. Yeah, I’m looking at you. In short, a cube of sugar escapes from a bunch of themed factories to avoid the fate of becoming a cookie. You play as that cube. Safe travels, sugary soldier. May you never turn into a cookie and crumble. Okay, I need to move on, because, if you truly know me, I could play with food-based puns all day long. And besides, I can do much batter than that.

Basically, you are trying to get your little sugar cube from point A to the closed door somewhere else on the map, which will take you to the next level. There are five worlds with…um, well, a bunch of levels in there; I didn’t count ’em. But it’s not a simple walk over from the starting point to the portal-like doorway. See, the background tiles of the game have two sides: a front and a back. These tiles can be flipped. Sometimes they turn into ledges and sometimes ledges with spikes or icy floors. It’s up to you, little sugar cube guider, to figure out what tiles to flip and then how to get to the door. You can also hold down a button to prevent tiles from flipping. And thus, you now know everything there is to know about both elements to this puzzle platformer.

So far, I’ve gotten through all of the first factory and about halfway through the second one, which is based around…chocolate. I’ve found that the difficulty in Sugar Cube: Bittersweet Factory varies greatly, with me breezing through two to three levels with ease and then coming to a complete halt with the next level. That’s actually okay as it gives reason to pause and evaluate your skills, as well as the level’s design itself. Still, it does everything an indie puzzle platformer should. And the game keeps hinting that if I pick up all the collectibles, the true ending will be revealed. Ooooh. Will our adorable little sugar cube escape the nefarious factories, but later return with a pitchfork-wielding mob to burn it all down and then erect a recreational park? Maybe. Who knows what sugar cubes think. I don’t, but now I must.