It all starts with a view of an odd looking and densely built city located in a vast wasteland. A garbage disposal robot is flying out from the centre of the city to a junkyard where it empties its contents, including a set of parts for a small robot. This robot is controlled by the player, and it has to first reassemble itself before it can return to the city to make things right. However, there is a group of bully robots with other ideas of fun.
The cute little story in Machinarium mostly serves as a background to solving a varied set of puzzles. Some of them are based on the often a bit far-fetched type that is expected from traditional point-and-click games, and others are more like mini games within the game. The actual background to the story is uncovered as the game goes on, and it is not obvious at all to start with. This is also a good motivation to continue playing. The player wants to know more in addition to solve the larger issues created by the bullies.
Machinarium has a very distinct artistic design. Both the graphical style and the music are very enjoyable. In addition, there is no dialogue at all in the game except animated thought bubbles and the body language of the interacting robots. This can sometimes make it a bit unclear where to go and what needs to be done. There is a built-in hint system that can aid in those situations, and also when the puzzle solutions are too obscure for the player.
I liked the game for its style and its atmosphere. Sometimes I felt a bit frustrated when a puzzle did not want to be solved, but it mostly had to do with a bit of inexactness in the point-and-click part. Some things can only be interacted with if the robot is standing at the right place, and that can be difficult to spot. That is only a minor issue in an otherwise great little game.