Anyone who has played Agatha Knife
will know what to expect from Mango Protocol. A point and click game following a young girl creating her own religion based around sacrificing animals is a peculiar and dark game, and the company's next game, MechaNika
, is equally bizarre. Still point and click, still an equally out there story, it's an enjoyable but brief experience.
The game is introduced by Nika, a seven-year-old girl with a unique personality. She likes electronics, mechanics and drinking cognac and cocoa; she dislikes school, her teacher, her family and pretty much everyone else. She's decided now is the perfect time to take over the world and re-shape it to her own liking, and to do so she needs to complete Project MechaNika. This is where you jump in to control Nika and help her collect the various things she needs to complete her machine. If you aren't familiar with the developer or the previous game then the story may seem more than a little bit unusual but it works, and it is well told in its weird and wonderful way.
In order to find all the parts, Nika must explore her house and local town, interact with various characters and think outside the box a little bit. Where Nika must think outside the box, so must you, and some of the items are obvious to find whereas others require a little bit of brain power. The nice thing though is that none of the items are too difficult to figure out how to get, so the game should never feel like much of a challenge. Clicking everything in site and talking to everyone available will normally see you find an item or point you in the right direction, and there is always the opportunity to drink your special concoction (cognac and cocoa) in order to give you a helping hand too. While you probably won't need this option, it's nice to know it's there if you need it.
A lot of the characters you meet have their own stories going on too, and the game does touch upon some quite serious topics. Nika's parents had a stillborn baby and struggle to connect with you, her grandparents have fallen out for a rather unusual version and their attempts to work this out have a rather grizzly end, you friend Agatha (as mentioned before from Agatha Knife
) is still working on her new Carnivorism religion. You will meet multiple other characters who are going about their days or down on their luck, and the game manages to give each person their own personality rather than just being an NPC there for the sake of it. You might even find a couple of the developers if you look hard enough.
I spy a developer or two!
The game relies on the point and click mechanic to carry you through the story, but unfortunately it isn't the smoothest experience. You use one control stick to move Nika and the other control stick to move the arrow to interact with things, so you can't just walk up and talk to someone, you have to move the pointer and then click and then press either the talk or look or interact button. It feels like quite a drawn-out process that could have been made easier, and the menus are also similarly annoying with you having to press one button to look at items, another to interact with them, and another different one to choose the item needed.
Aside from meeting some weird characters, including a homeless man and his dog, some sex workers, and some kind of miniature ninja turtle which will grab your attention, you'll be exploring a fairly small world with a lot of things crammed into it. The design of Nika's home and town is deceptively childlike and cute, which directly opposes what her and her view of the world are like. Similarly the game's music is also light and upbeat, and it's this juxtaposition which helps make the game memorable. It is annoyingly short, however, and can be completed in less than an hour if you rushed and less than two quite easily.
Point and click games are usually easy, quite often repetitive but arguably underappreciated due to their simple nature. MechaNika
manages to avoid the first two, for the most part, challenging you to navigate its inventory system to solve puzzles. Similarly, there is enough variety beyond simply pointing and clicking with a good mix of puzzles, like answering quiz questions, finding hidden numbers and figuring out certain codes.
Can you work out the code sequence needed for this machine?
The game's achievements reflect all the challenges you'll be facing in the game, with 30 to earn in total. You'll earn an achievement for finding and confirming each of the 12 items Nika needs for her plan. There's a lot of miscellaneous achievements too, including completing the game without spending any money and without using any hints, both of which I managed without help on the first run, so it's quite easy to do. You can take advantage of saving to unlock some achievements which require you to do two things with one item, and the game is easily completable in under two hours.Check out our Best Xbox Adventure Games Available in 2018 article for a compilation of other great games in this genre.
is a weird and wonderful experience that won't be for everyone. The story is bizarre and worthwhile, touching on some pretty serious points. You meet fascinating characters and will spend an enjoyable hour or so finding everything you need to complete the game. The point and click mechanic definitely feels like it needs some work to make it behave optimally for consoles, and you might be disappointed how soon you get to the end of the story, but it is one well worth experiencing nonetheless.
- Childlike art and music enjoyably juxtapose the story content
- World filled with unique characters worth meeting
- A strong variety in puzzles but they never feel too complicated
- Annoyingly short playthrough
- Point and click mechanic feel less than optimized for consoles
The reviewer spent approximately 2 hours playing through the game one and a half times, exploring Nika's weird world and collecting components for her secret project. All of the achievements were earned along the way. A download code for the game was provided for the purpose of this review.
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