Psychotic’s MechaNika (PS4) Review

Mango Protocol recently released Psychotic’s Agatha Knife, a point-and-click game in which you help young Agatha create a new religion so that animals would willfully sacrifice themselves to be slaughtered – she’s a young girl who loves animals and lives in a butcher’s shop. Today, the developers have released Psychotic’s MechaNika, a short point-and-click adventure game which follows the adventures of young Nika, a seven-year-old master of mechanics.

Although initially released on Steam in 2015 (two years prior to Agatha Knife), the events within MechaNika are actually set after the crazy mission we played through within the 2017 Agatha Knife adventure. However, other than a few cameos and callbacks (or forwards, as it was Agatha Knife which actually called back to the events in this game), MechaNika is its own self-contained story and doesn’t require any prior knowledge of the other game. 

Although, if you’re looking for some fun point-and-click games to play which will both give you a platinum trophy in exchange for a few entertaining hours of your life, be sure to pick up both titles to get the full experience. So, just what is young Nika up to this time…

MechaNika 1

I had a Willy in my class, he was a bit of a Dick…

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Nika is a young seven-year-old girl who clearly doesn’t fit into the world she’s been born into. Whereas the other children in the town are either selling illegal weapons in the playground or sacrificing live animals in order to appease the Bloody Pig so they can provide food for the humans, Nika is more interested in mechanical engineering and all things technical. As such, school life is boring and non-productive for our young protagonist, never being taught anything she doesn’t already know whilst the slower children in her class force the teacher to stoop to their level and blatantly ignore her much higher IQ.

Then there’s her family, a brother who ignores her in favour of the latest video game, a father who is more interested in his bike, a mother who becomes a zombie when watching TV soaps and gossip shows, and her grandfather who was caught *omitted for comedy* by her grandmother and forever begs for forgiveness. Nobody seems to pay attention to her or offers her the mental stimulation her brain needs in order to keep her occupied and interested. To put it simply – nobody but Nika and Agatha is ‘cool’…

So, how would you expect a child genius to go about trying to ‘fix’ this situation? Obviously, she becomes ‘Dexter’ (from Dexter’s Laboratory, not the serial killer) and sets out to create the titular MechaNika, a giant robotic personification of herself, which she can use to destroy and eliminate all the things and people who she doesn’t like – maybe she’s a mixture of both ‘Dexters’ then. It’s your task, as young Nika, to find all of the parts to her glorious killing-machine and help her bring forth the uncool-cleansing which the world deserves. 

It’s not quite as crazy as Agatha’s adventure in creating a new cult religion so that the animals willingly sacrifice themselves to the slaughter, but it’s not that far behind in my opinion!

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MechaNika 2

I can’t imagine why…

Gameplay
MechaNika has the exact same control scheme as Agatha Knife – for better and for worse. It’s a simplistic point-and-click game in which you walk around with the Left Thumbstick and move an on-screen cursor with the Right Thumbstick. It’s an unusual setup but as this is the second game which uses it, I’m used to it by now. However, just like in the previous game, the sensitivity of the cursor didn’t feel right as I found it a little difficult to accurately move the cursor onto smaller objects like it was going too fast. If Mango Protocol does any future games in the series, the addition of a slower cursor if you hold down a shoulder button would be more than welcome – it’s a feature the Artifex Mundi games have to make movements both fast and accurate depending on the situation and the size of the object.

In terms of the complexity though, this is, once again, one of the simplest point-and-click games you’ll play with the vast majority of actions taking place with one or two buttons – tap Cross on an item to see what you can do, then either Cross or Square to perform that action (look, talk, pick up or use). But, just like in Agatha Knife, there’s no ‘highlight all interactive objects’ option. In some games, this isn’t an issue, as the interactive objects are clearly designed differently to the backgrounds used, but in MechaNika, everything blends perfectly, meaning you can easily overlook a key object or just some crazy narrative – like your still-born sister’s embryo which you keep in a jar…

The backpack mechanic also makes a return, allowing you to store as many items as you want and save and load. There are no ‘inventory combination’ puzzles, just using them in the world with people and other objects or assigning them to one of the key components of your MechaNika death machine. This time around, our young protagonist can take a swig from her hipflask in order to gain a hint based upon what location she’s in. Don’t worry though, she doesn’t have whisky or vodka in there – that would be silly – it’s a combination of chocolate and cognac…

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MechaNika 3

This guy has his priorities right!

The humour and length
Just like the developers other game, MechaNika is full of dark humour and parodies. For example, the storyline with your grandparents is a very ‘interesting’ narrative, one which I won’t say anything else about as you really have to experience it to enjoy the twisted humour around it. Each and every object you’re trying to get hold of for your Weapon of mass destruction involves you having to think outside of the box in order to find similar items which would provide the same use as the ones on your checklist. For example, it’s unlikely that you can find a collection of bullets for your lethal contraption, yet you’re sure to find something which is round and hard enough to cause long-lasting damage…

However, one of the first observations I made was how short the game was. Whereas the previous game took me around eight hours to complete it blindly, this one took me around three – although I imagine you can complete it much faster either with a guide or in a second playthrough for trophy clean-up. As such, the price is around half of the previous game, so it’s nice to see that the developer has taken the length into consideration and priced it accordingly. 

One downside is, there’s no fast travel at all in MechaNika. At least Agatha Knife had a one-way fast travel process, but this game has none, which means you’ll be walking a lot.

Also, as I touched on above – multiple playthroughs. I strongly advise you play the game without a guide or speed through it following a walkthrough – unless you get really stuck and drunk Nika isn’t helping. This is because there are a number of missable trophies and ones you can forfeit if you either pick the wrong option or use an item on something else. As it’s a short game, I’d say play the game first with you making your own choices and working things out – then look at the trophies and mould your second playthrough around getting those you missed, as you’ll now know where to get them without spoiling the story for yourself by reading the trophies first. 

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mechanika 4.1

So elegant and ladylike…

Censorship
Now, I know a lot of people out there are a bit sensitive to the censorship on certain games, MachaNika appears to be one of the games which has had a scene ‘altered’. As you can see in the lovely gif above, there are a couple of streetwalkers who tease you. One of them is clearly a man and the other is a no-shame ‘lady’. In the Xbox and PC versions, that flashing woman has no panties on, showing everyone her shaven lady parts (I’m not sure about the Switch version). Yet in the PS4 version, she’s been told to put on some panties. The change is nothing major and it doesn’t change your enjoyment of the game, it’s just something I felt I should point out. If you want to see the original image of her with no panties – click HERE (NSFW).

Technical

MechaNika looks just as good as Agatha Knife, despite it being released two years prior upon its initial launch. It’s a rather simplistic design with cartoon-like visuals, but it has a tonne of charm and its own form of beauty. Just as I said with Agatha Knife, this aesthetic fits the mood and atmosphere perfectly as everything is very whimsical and light-hearted, even when talking about your deceased sister’s embryo or the horrific acts someone performed many years ago…

Seeing as this game technically came out before Agatha Knife, there’s still no voice acting within the game, so you’ll need to read the text and make up your own voices. This isn’t an issue for me as I play a lot of Japanese games which are dubbed in Japanese but with English subtitles, but I know some people prefer games which have been fully-voiced. If that’s the case, maybe get a mate to play it first and ask them to read all the lines in funny voices and record it; then playback the lines as you play through the game… maybe? 

The music has the same quality as last time – some really nice compositions play throughout the game in a seamless manner as you play. It’s all very lighthearted and happy, even if the on-screen action isn’t, which makes the whole experience that little bit more surreal and wacky. 

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Official Trailer:

Final Conclusion:
Psychotic’s MechaNika is a great self-contained follow-up to Agatha Knife, this time focussing on the brilliant-minded Nika instead of the blood-thirsty Agatha. Despite it’s short playing time, at around one to three hours depending on knowledge and skill-level, the price has been set accordingly and the game is overflowing with humour, parodies, references, and crazy narrative. The game may look cartoony and like it’s meant for children – but don’t fall for this – the game is just as dark as Agatha Knife at times and it meant to be played by adults and not little kids – think South Park and Family Guy concepts.

If you’ve played Agatha Knife and want more humour and adventure from the same developers, MechaNika should already be installed on your chosen platform. Similarly, if you’re just looking for a funny, wacky, slightly disturbing experience, pick up both games and spend an evening creating a cult religion for Agatha and then destroying the world with Nika.

A copy of the game was kindly provided for review purposes

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Psychotic's MechaNika

£4.99
8

Final Score

8.0/10

The Good:

  • - Dark humour which got a number of laughs out of me
  • - Upbeat music, regardless of what's happening on screen, making the experience rather quirky
  • - All the interactive characters have very unusual personalities and attitudes
  • - The narrative is both interesting and funny throughout
  • - Cute simplistic visuals

The Bad:

  • - No fast travel, again. This means there's a lot of walking back and forth
  • - No voice acting (not an issue for me, but others may not like it)
  • - Short play time at around a few hours for your first blind playthrough (although the price does reflect this)
  • - I wanted to see more once the game ended as I felt it had an abrupt ending - maybe they'll be a third game in the series?
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