Homo Machina review
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Homo Machina review

Our Review by Campbell Bird on May 17th, 2018
Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: BRIEF BODY EXPERIENCE
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Homo Machina is a lovingly-crafted adventure that’s over too soon.

Developer: ARTE Experience

Price: $2.99
Version: 1.0.2
App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2

Graphics/Sound Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar

Homo Machina is a puzzle adventure game set inside a human body. Inspired by the illustrated works of physician Fritz Kahn, the inner workings of a human are re-envisioned as industrial work spaces, where you have to figure out how to manage them all. It’s a delightfully charming and clever game, but Homo Machina is definitely an experience that leaves you wanting more.

Mind games

The easiest way to explain Homo Machina is to take you through a full scenario. At the start of the game, your mission is to wake up. The way you do this is by charging the Emotion Center, activating the Central Nervous System, etc., and all of these different things are modeled like a specific division of a mid-century factory.

What starts as a few idle taps to activate some of the more abstract parts of the body eventually gives way to the Vision Department, which is where Homo Machina’s mechanics really start to click. The eyes in this human resemble that of a projectionist’s booth, and you need to connect huge spools of film, open shutters, and adjust focus so that your human can see properly to start their day.

A human touch

Homo Machina could simply take this idea and just have you run through different departments, activating certain systems and triggering muscle groups randomly, but the game actually has a surprising overarching narrative it’s telling. You are playing out a person’s day as they prepare for a date later that evening.

As you move through various body parts, organs, and systems, you do so with the expressed purpose of trying to be prepared and stay calm to impress your date. The people running the human factory in Homo Machina also have their own personalities, too, which gives a surprising amount of humanity to a game that is mostly concerned with reducing the human body into a series of industrial work spaces.

Life is short

The puzzles in Homo Machina are clever and charming, and none of them are so challenging that you’ll have to slow down the action to consult a guide or anything. This is nice as it lets you follow the story and enjoy everything Homo Machina has to offer without frustration, but it also unfortunately means that you can finish the game in a sitting or two.

Part of me wishes that Homo Machina explored more parts of the human body, but doing so too much would likely stretch out the overarching story and make it less enjoyable. This is all to say that if you go ahead and purchase Homo Machina, you’ll definitely have a good time, but the game will end a little before you’re ready to stop playing it.

The bottom line

Homo Machina is a charming and creative adventure game in almost every way, and it’s full of little surprises. The only one of these surprises that isn’t so great is that it all ends too soon. Still though, if you’re looking for something short, sweet, and fun, Homo Machina is hard to pass up.

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