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 IPAD PREVIEW

Homo Machina preview - A weird and wonderful trip through the human body

We go hands on with another human at GDC

Summary Preview Review Screens Videos Articles Tips  
Product: Homo Machina | Publisher: ARTE | Genre: Puzzle
For: iPad   Also on: Android, iPhone
 
Sometimes, for whatever reason, you're presented with a game that makes you feel seriously, profoundly stupid.

Upon being introduced to Homo Machina, a video game homage to the work of Fritz Kahn, I had one of those moments of feeling really quite dumb and totally out of my depth. Art, my friends, is not one of my strong suits.

But as much as Homo Machina is an exploration of the work of a man who helped popularise infographics, it's also a delightful puzzle game full of dry humour and clever interactions that will put a smile on the face of just about anyone.

Inside story

The game sees you operating the insides of a human male, depicted as a factory in the style of Kahn's drawings, and help your human get through a date.

It kicks off in the brain, where the CEO of the "factory" is barking out orders to various body parts, and jumps around between different teams in the body as they go through the morning routine.



What could be a fairly gross exploration of the inner workings of the human body becomes a gorgeous journey thanks to the influence of the source material, and a focus on gentle humour rather than straight-up reality.

In the first few minutes of the game you'll be helping the workers determine what your human is having for breakfast, operating the mouth to help chew and swallow, and so on.

To do this, you'll need to tap, swipe, drag, and otherwise interact with the scenes on show to figure out what the heck it is you need to do to progress.

There's precious little help in this regard, but it's deliberate – the developers want you to explore everything on screen, giving little taps here and there and slowly working out the solution for yourself.



By not really highlighting anything, you're encouraged to try out everything, and while that may be frustrating for some, it is likely to please those who love a good head-scratcher.

Laughing gear

It's all wrapped up in some delightful humour too, which takes the farcical nature of operating a human body like a factory and goes wild with it, down to the workers in hard hats yelling instructions to each other when you're doing something as simple as looking at a piece of toast.

And don't worry if you don't really "get it". Homo Machina is charming and fun on its own merits, so if you have no idea who Kahn is, you'll still find it enjoyable – hell, you might even learn something about him while you're there.

There's still some time before we get our hands on the full game – it's scheduled for release on iOS and Android on May 17th for no more than about $3 – but we're excited to see just how far the concept can go.
 

Reviewer photo
Ric Cowley 5 April 2018
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