By Marty Mulrooney
Kelvin and the Infamous Machine is a comedy point-and-click adventure game created by Argentinian indie developer Blyts. Originally funded in 2014 via Kickstarter to the tune of $29,122, the game officially launched on Steam on 21st July 2016. Taking control of the titular Kelvin, players must stumble through time as they try to help Ludwig van Beethoven, Isaac Newton and Leonardo da Vinci complete their masterworks before the fabric of time unravels!
The premise of Kelvin and the Infamous Machine is silly yet rather wonderful. When physicist Dr. Edwin Lupin creates a time machine that looks like a portable shower, the scientific community ridicules him and labels his invention ‘the infamous machine’. Furious, he jumps into the time machine with a nefarious plan: he will stop some of history’s greatest geniuses from completing their works, so he can complete them instead. By doing so, he will be able to finally leave his mark on history.
However, he doesn’t count on his not-so-brilliant but well-intentioned research assistant Kelvin following him! He jumps into the infamous machine and ends up in 19th-century Vienna. Working with his colleague Lise (who may very well be the reason for his sudden show of bravery), Kelvin must put history back on track and stop Dr. Lupin before he completely destroys time as we know it.
The hand-drawn 2D environments are beautiful, evoking the classics of the adventure genre while showcasing that this is very much a modern HD experience. In fact, Kelvin and the Infamous Machine often feels like something LucasArts would have created if they were still alive and clicking today. The storyline will inevitably drawn comparison with Day of the Tentacle – and no doubt the developers are fans of that game – but Kelvin and the Infamous Machine is very much its own adventure.
Players won’t be zipping backwards and forwards through time. Rather, each of the game’s three chapters tasks Kelvin with getting to know a famous historical figure before annoying/inspiring them to complete their work. Ludwig van Beethoven must compose his 5th Symphony, Isaac Newton must discover gravity and Leonardo da Vinci must paint the Mona Lisa! The interface is nice and simple: all you need is one click. This may be a concession to the upcoming iOS/Android ports, but it doesn’t do any harm or remove any possibilities for interaction.
Kelvin’s backpack serves as the inventory and for the most part, the puzzles are logical and make sense. It’s always satisfying to play an adventure you can move through at a brisk pace, although some veteran adventure gamers may find the difficulty on the easy side. Some of the later puzzles do become a little bit silly, but this only adds to the humour and they never feel unfair.
The voice acting is superb throughout, with the game’s writer Stephen Barlow in particular doing a wonderful job as Kelvin: he’s just the right side of clueless. The supporting cast is equally strong, with such brilliant actors as Erin Yvette (The Wolf Among Us, Tales from the Borderlands) and Brian Sommer (Sam & Max, Tales of Monkey Island) effortlessly bringing the characters to life.
To conclude, this is a genuinely funny, often hilarious traditional 2D point-and-click adventure game that looks and sounds great. It may be slightly on the easy side and only last approximately 4 hours (it’s a shame there aren’t more chapters), but don’t let that put you off. If you’re a fan of the genre, this is the perfect game to play through in an evening and it’s pretty family friendly too. In short, Kelvin and the Infamous Machine is well worth finding the time to play and enjoy this summer!
8 OUT OF 10