A lot of TV shows are out now that tackle more mature themes while having a more benign look to them. Shows like Rick and Morty illustrate that visuals don’t have to match the content of the show. MechaNika follows this trend with an interesting story wrapped up in a charming visual aesthetic. While the story is entertaining, the puzzles did not do enough to really hold my attention.
You know you are in for an interesting time when the main character introduces herself as a 7-year-old whose special drink is cognac and cocoa and who has a desire to build a robot to destroy anything that isn’t cool. This continues into the story with hookers at a construction site, beastiality, and a murder. While strange, and at times dark, the story did hold my attention, successfully building the world and providing reasoning for every action.
Point-and-click adventures rest on the strength of their puzzles and use of items. This is where MechaNika really falls short. Most of the puzzles simply involve getting the right item to give to someone else or getting someone to leave the room where the item you need is. There is no need to cleverly combine items in your inventory to create the perfect item, which is really disappointing when your character loves building things and carries tools with her.
Another frustration was the control scheme. The two sticks control different things. With the left, you control Nika in the world; with the right you control the mouse pointer. This became frustrating because I would move Nika somewhere and try to interact only to remember that I actually needed to move the mouse. If what you are looking for is on the screen, then there is no need to move Nika. Moving Nika is only useful for scrolling the screen.
Nika is a fun character and all the other characters in her world are just as lively. The visuals and characters bring the world to life and create a unique place to play the game. Unfortunately, the puzzle mechanics do not match the level of world building.