Those that enjoyed Mango Protocol’s Agatha Knife will likely know all about MechaNika. Though, for those out of the loop, allow me to fill the void. Much like Agatha Knife, MechaNika is another adult-themed puzzle adventure. One that’s as dark as it is twisted, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The big question is, however, is whether or not this sequel manages to outdo its decent predecessor. Well, I can safely say that at the very least, it sits on-par. It’s a short game, for sure, but it’s funny, witty, and pretty damn crude.
As was the case with Agatha Knife, MechaNika is a side-scrolling point-and-click puzzler. Players take on the role of seven year old Nika, a child that loves nothing more than to mechanically construct anything she can get her hands on. However, no one else, not even her parents, care the slightest about her love for mechanics. Because of this, Nika begins to hate everyone and as a result, comes up with a plan known as the titular MechaNika; a plan that will throw the world into order, a world in which Nika will finally get some respect.
The game does a good job at feeding you into the basics of play, despite the lack of a tutorial. That said, there really isn’t a great deal of commands to keep on top of. You’ll move the cursor with RS, control Nika’s movement with LS, and use the controller’s face buttons frequently to execute commands. It’s a simple, straightforward affair. Nika is at school during the start of the game, and it’s your job to bust her out and aid her in building her devastating contraption. If you played Agatha Knife, you’ll see familiar ground here.
The town, for example, hasn’t changed much at all. In fact, many of the first game’s concepts are present here in the sequel. Such as being able to speak with the creators and have these weird out-of-body conversations as a result. That said, and outside of the game’s returning faces, there are indeed some new townsfolk that you can interact with too. Almost every NPC in the game can be interacted with, offering no shortage of (strange, believe me, very very strange) conversations to help carry the pace of the nefarious plot along nicely.
In MechaNika, you’re tasked with finding a total of twelve items that are needed to build Nika’s machine. The kicker here is that these items are vaguely described, forcing you to think outside the box. One instance of this is that in your list of components, you’re asked to seek out some reflective panels. Now, to you and me, that would be something as sophisticated as a solar panel, but here, it’s little more than some glass shards. Rule of thumb: keep your wits about you and never expect the answer to any puzzle to be clean.
If you do hit a proverbial brick wall, Nika can drink from a cocoa and cognac filled hip-flask from her backpack, granting her the ability to see if anything needs to be done in the immediate area. Broadly speaking, the puzzles are not that hard to beat. Though with that said, it’s the journey of acquisition that’s the most compelling factor in this game. You’ll move Nika through a range of locations, interacting with a bunch of insanely hilarious characters as you go. This, by and large, is the crux of play, and it works well in the game’s favor.
Specific characters will demand certain things in return for a thread that may get you closer to one of the items that Nika needs for her construction. It’s moments like this that allow the charismatic dialogue to truly shine, and shine brightly it does. Each character has their own unique stories, most of which are well represented and packed with humor. Heck, there’s even quite a lot of sly references to other brands and franchises thrown into the mix, adding further to the game’s charm. My only issue sits with the game’s length overall.
MechaNika is a very, very short game. I was able to run through the game in just two hours, mopping up most of the achievements in that one sitting. Sure, Agatha Knife was also short, but I was fully expecting the developer to work on bulking the sequel’s longevity up. Still, for its price, it’s well worth the trip either way. The game’s colorful hand-drawn visuals toy perfectly with the mood and theme, with each area sporting a distinct design to keep repetition at bay. The same can also be said about the solid upbeat soundtrack throughout.
MechaNika, although short, is one of the funniest puzzlers in recent memory. There’s next to no difficulty as far as its gameplay loop is concerned, but this game is much less about complexity and much more about the journey at hand. On that score alone, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any game of the like that remotely relays as much character and wit as MechaNika does.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.