Game Review #294: Homo Machina (Nintendo Switch)
Reviewer: Bradford E. (The Waffinator)
Developer: Seaven Studios
Publisher: ARTE Experience
Category: Puzzle, Adventure
Release Date: 4.25.19
Price (at time of review): $2.99
Buy Homo Machina on the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
I am just going to dive straight into this one. On April 25th, ARTE Experience launched 3 games for the Nintendo Switch, all on the eShop: Vandals, Type:Rider and this bad boy that we are going to now discuss, Homo Machina. Homo Machina is Published by ARTE Experience and Developed by Seaven Studios. If you want to learn about the other two games, make sure to check out the reviews here on JP'S SWITCHMANIA. You won’t be disappointed for the other games were a blast. As for Homo Machina, I both love and hate this game. Not like in a cute way either, but literally love and hate.
In Homo Machina you are exploring the human body. That already on its own sounds appealing to some and boring to others. To me I was on the bored side. But with all the different kinds of puzzles and how far it really explores inside the human body it is anything but boring. I mean there aren’t any fireworks or shooting but there are lots of puzzles to stimulate the mind, so again like I said far from boring. One minute you are opening the eyes, and then the next you are breaking down food in the mouth and helping the taste buds determine what it tastes like and if you like it or not.
The game is divided into chapters, and each chapter represents a different part of the day. Chapters contain mini sections which resemble what may be going on in the normal mindset of a typical person. For example chapter one is “waking up”. You start off in the mind or the HQ (headquarters) and must get the rest of the body up and functional to start the day. So, you are walking through what seems like a boot-up to get all your senses and emotions up and fully functional. Once the mind is fully functional you move onto the eyes.
Well you see the secretary lady call down to the eye room (all body parts have their own rooms but are all wired together and run by all their own staff).
From there you follow the prompts to get the eyes opened and up and running and ready for the day. You start by opening the eyes, getting them adjusted to accept light, and put film into a reel so that way you can take in what you are seeing (like movie film because everything we see has its own film or picture). Well once your eyes are open or almost open typically a person may start to take in smells around them and that’s why the nose is the next section. From there you go onto the mouth. So, the whole game is breaking down each part of the body and what might be going on allowing you to explore and complete puzzles and stimulate the mind.
The whole review I haven’t mentioned the hate part, only the good. Well now we are going to talk about the hate side of my feelings for this game. I HATE the controls!
It tells you to lay the Joy-Con on a flat surface so that way the inner part is flat on a surface. What it doesn’t tell you is how painful it is and that it is going to lead to lots of frustration. It uses the gyro technology of the Joy-Con which is cool generally, but in this game it’s just frustrating. You slide the Joy-Con up and down on the flat surface but when you need to start moving left and right or at angles it gets complicated and infuriating. I found that holding the Joy-Con and being very still, almost like doctor’s hands, is the best approach. So, the movement is all via the gyro in the Joy-Con. As for other controls you use ZR, or ZL (based on what Joy-Con you use) to confirm and UP on the D-Pad or X to reset where your finger to the mid-section of the screen again based off of which Joy-Con you use.
What is cool about the visual style is that it is all in a cartoon style and gives off the looks of older engineering - some parts even look very steampunk. You are using a pointer finger (almost like a computer cursor) to navigate what you want to interact with. Every part of you looks like a factory or a lab or engine and it is extremely fascinating. I love the overall design and layout and the sound effects. There is a lot of talking but it is all silent and in speech bubbles, so if you are playing with little ones be prepared for story time.
I really enjoy the concept of the game, but I can’t get over my hate for the controls. I would recommend next time to offer more control options. This would allow players like myself that strongly dislike the one setup to at least have other options. If there were more controller options, I would have wanted to play this game from start to finish instead of start to rage quit. Who knows, maybe you will be luckier than I am and understand the controller a lot better than myself and fully enjoy the game. Like I said the overall layout and the puzzles are unique and very entertaining and kind of beautiful in a weird machine-like way, my only pet peeve was the controls.
Buy Homo Machina on the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
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*Review Code Provided by ICO Partners