Random thoughts and bits of life of a coffee loving artist

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Art of Gaming: Unmechanical

As I mentioned back in April in my Art of Gaming: Segment Update, I have decided to continue posting installments of Art of Gaming even if I haven't heard back from the developers whom I have written to. Once I do hear from them, then I will include their input as well. So please pardon me as this will be the first in perhaps a long line of installments that I will be posting that will not have any developer commentary until later.

Click to watch Unmechanical game trailer
Released back in August 2012, an Indie adventure-puzzle platformer by the name of Unmechanical was created by Talawa Games and published by Teotl Studios. This whimsical game caught my attention when I saw a video posted actually in July of that year by John “TotalBiscuit” Bain for his ongoing WTF Is.. series (a first impressions of upcoming games he plays through) titled WTF Is...: Unmechanical (WTF Am IDoing Edition)? Though puzzle platformers aren't his strong suit, I was not only entertained by his play-through but was captivated by the art style and music that helped create the world you navigate in. The page itself makes the description of "Set in a fantastic world of flesh, rock and steel, your journey to freedom requires you to solve a great variety of puzzling challenges, and while it’s easy to pick up and play, later challenges may prove very difficult indeed". You play as a small robot which you assist in navigating through this surreal landscape.

Treasure Planet © Walt Disney
When looking at the art style, right off my mind instantly went to Steampunk but there was something that made my mind wander and think that there was something more to it. Though having the heavy use of shadows and rich saturated colors, there seemed to be a life to the environment which is presented by the use of contrasting bright colors from glowing light bulbs and lasers. There's even a soft glow that emanates from some of the mushroom clusters that dot some of the locations in which you wander through. It brought to mind the various metropolises within our own world once the sun goes down. This of course made me think of the films Treasure Planet (2002), Titan A.E.(2000), and even The Matrix series (1999 - 2003). It makes me wonder what could possibly be the true reason behind there being a heart-like object of flesh and mechanical devices pumping in the background of some of the scenes. Is it a metaphor for ourselves living in this modern world, or something entirely different? 

The Brave Little Toaster © Walt Disney
 At first, the small robot that you play as made me think of The Brave Little Toaster (1987) but I decided to take a step back to contemplate a bit more on the character. It took me several moments to realize that the character also made me think of The Tin Woodsman and Tik-Tok from the Oz series written by L. Frank Baum (1856-1919). Not how the various films had portrayed them but how they were within the books. The reason for this train of thought that I had was for how they interacted within their own worlds and normally were on some sort of journey of discovery. It is perhaps also the association of the game being describes as having a 'world of flesh, rock and steel' that made me think of the pair. As you can see, both the game trailer and watching a partial play-through of Unmechanical got my mind swirling with images and memories of things that I've read or watched in my childhood. Of course I'm uncertain what actually inspired the folks at Talawa Studios but once I'm able to hear from them, I will be sure to add their insights on this as well.
Tik-Tok, Tin Woodman, & Captain Fy-ter

If you're interested in checking the game out, you can find it here:
store.steamppowered.com – Unmechanical $9.99
gog.com – Unmechanical $9.99

No comments:

Post a Comment