Machines always help to run things more smoothly. So, it obviously makes sense that replacing every organ in the human body with machines is totally the best path with no harmful consequences whatsoever. But who would man these machines? Tiny people! While it may seem like there is no way to tell if this will work, one video game provides an example of a well-oiled machine human, Homo Machina.
A Day in the Life
Homo Machina takes you through the internal workings of a non-descript human during a day. But, this is not any normal day. Today is the day you have a date. And the pressure is on, if for no other reason than the character’s previous failings at going on a date. So, it falls to you to manage the human body effectively and make sure everything goes well during date night.
How does one manage a human body you ask? Machinery, and lots of it. Most of the game is comprised of puzzles based around human anatomy through loose explanations of how things function using cleverly designed analogies, such as a 1920’s-style film camera or a variety of sharp objects to signify teeth. Each puzzle is fairly simple to work out, but is ingenious in its execution based solely on its comparison to bodily functions. Some puzzles do reoccur, which can feel a bit repetitive. But for the most part, this isn’t the case.
A Touching Display
Controlling these machines is simple enough, especially since Homo Machina uses the Switch’s touchscreen controls. Playing like a larger mobile game, it’s fairly short and only takes one to two hours to complete. It felt surprisingly refreshing to open the game and find I was supposed to hold the Switch sideways. Even more surprising was to actually find out it plays like a mobile game because it’s a mobile game port. Not that you could tell. The developers have done a great job transferring the title’s gameplay and aesthetic.
On the note of the game’s aesthetic, it has a neat and detailed art style which makes the human body feel like an actual factory. Everything is animated to maintain a fluent motion, some of which you are in charge of. That being said, some parts can feel odd, like cleaning out glass, but overall, everything flows consistently. Background music can be quite relaxing to listen to, suiting the general theme of the game as well as suiting the chaos of the background story.
While the puzzles are simple and the story somewhat shallow, Homo Machina is definitely worth playing. Everything is a clever comparison worth seeing in an incredibly detailed and artistic aesthetic. Holding the Switch like a phone is a peculiar sensation, but after a couple of levels feels more natural than it probably should. And it’s good to see a game making optimal use of the Switch’s touchscreen. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to go and replace all my organs.
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A copy of Homo Machina for Nintendo Switch was provided by the developer/publisher for this review.