Homo Machina, created by the Darjeeling Production, is a unique puzzle game inspired by the work of Fritz Kahn. His avant-garde approach to the human body inspired the developers to create a surreal puzzle shown as a gigantic 1920s factory. In addition, we applaud the creators and co-producers for this idea and endeavor, since any other way to learn about the interactions inside the human body might have been disgusting and disturbing, especially for the squeamish ones.
The man behind the game
However, who was the man who inspired such a unique game? Well, Fritz Kahn was a German physician born near the end of the 19th century. He was famous for being able to explain complicated principles in nature and technology even to people with average education. The metaphors he used were depicted in his scientific books which he continued to publish in the USA after being exiled from Germany.
He often referred to the human body as “the most competent machine in the world” and his works were inspired by the development of Germany during the Weimar Republic. However, Kahn didn’t draw the illustrations, since he was terrible at drawing. He hired artists who made them based on his detailed instructions and even founded studios in Copenhagen, Berlin, and New York.
The analogies he created between the human body and machine inspired many artists and designers. Moreover, as witnessed by the Homo Machina game, that inspiration knows no boundaries.
The magic of the game
Homo Machina is far from the ordinary puzzle game you mostly see in the app stores. This one offers a fun way to learn about how our bodies work through illustrations created by Fritz Kahn and using his analogies. Everything, from design to colors is there to remind us of the 1920s factory and, although it may seem childish, it’s actually quite educational for everyone.
The interesting notion is that there are people working in this cyborg factory, who all have their duties and tasks in order for the body to work perfectly. This is a narrative game with puzzles, which you have to solve in order to help the body go through the daily tasks. Some of the players may even be reminded of the vignette No. 7 from Woody Allen’s cult movie Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask) from 1972 inspired by Dr. David Reuben’s book.
The main characters of the game are the director and his assistant Josiane, although you will meet other tiny people as well. They may be faceless, but they have personalities and are important for fulfilling all of your commands.
The game is divided into chapters, and in each, you will get to operate a different part of the body. You will also have to do several tasks that will allow the body to perform interrupted everyday actions like chewing and smelling. You don’t use controls but rather tap, slide or drag things around the screen.
This may appear simple, but it’s not. You don’t have any defined directions on what to do and can occasionally get some hint from the conversations between the workers. The director and other characters will get impatient and give you a few pointers but don’t expect it to be a general practice since not everyone likes to talk about the game.
Most of the time, you will learn things and figure out what to do through trial and error. Each level is interactive and you should pay attention to every visual cue since that may help you find out what to focus your attention on.
Every job in the game is a mini-puzzle, and they can be connected, meaning that you can’t proceed without solving them in a certain order. Some levels have time pressure, while others will allow you to take your time. Probably the most nerve-wracking part of the game was actually the one regarding the nerves.
Namely, you will have a task inside the central nervous system to follow the wires from a specific area and punch the corresponding button to activate the parts they come from. And you have to do all that in the specified time-frame.
Homo Machina is not a hard game, although at times it may appear so. However, the game may be too short to create a permanent fascination, since you don’t have an opportunity to take this human body factory on a spin for more than one day. There are many comments suggesting to extend the game to more days and other experiences like childbirth, for example.
But, the game certainly leaves interest and space for the sequel if the developers see it fit. Whether they choose a new body or add another day to the existing one, Homo Machina promises great fun. This game is perfect for mobile devices and at the same time brings interesting gameplay and a visually amazing world.
Although you will have to buy it to play it, the Homo Machina is worth a couple of bucks and is available for Android and iOS devices.