Time travel is a topic that has been covered by many different forms of media for years. It's has been featured in television shows like Doctor Who since the 60s, in films like Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Back to the Future in the 80s, and now, not for the first time mind you, in video games like Kelvin and the Infamous Machine.
Kelvin and the Infamous Machine is a point-and-click adventure game developed by Blyts which tells the story of Kelvin, hapless assistant to brilliant physicist Dr. Lupin, as he tries to prevent the fabric of time from unravelling in this quirky and hilarious adventure. When Dr. Edwin Lupin creates a brilliant time machine (that just so happens to look a bit like a shower), rather than being praised, he is made fun of by the scientific community. Lupin decides to take revenge on his fellow scientists that mocked him by going back in time to take credit for the work of some of history’s greatest geniuses. Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, Issac Newton's discovery of gravity and Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa are on Lupin’s list and its up to Kelvin, along with Lupin’s other assistant Lise, to try stop him by inspiring these geniuses to complete their best works. Other than Beethoven, Newton and Da Vinci, there are a few other references to historic people including a quick conversation with Robin Hood himself as he tries to win at an archery contest. All of the historical references throughout the game are a fun addition that are guaranteed to keep you chuckling.
"All of the historical references throughout the game are a fun addition that are guaranteed to keep you chuckling"
The gameplay for Kelvin and the Infamous Machine is identical to most point-and-click adventure games. You use your mouse to move Kelvin around 1804 Vienna as well as two other places in history collecting items as you go and talking to other characters. In the first chapter your goal is to find Beethoven; no, not the dog as Kelvin originally presumed, but Ludwig van Beethoven, the German composer. Kelvin finds out that Beethoven is inside a bar drinking away his sorrows because of his recent loss of hearing (which in this version of the story was caused by Dr. Lupin) and you have to find a way to inspire Beethoven to write his Fifth Symphony. This may or may not entail one or more of the following in order to accomplish: playing a round of ring toss, poisoning a man with an alcoholic drink that you have to get a prescription for, and wearing a top hat and fake mustache in order to look older. It may not make sense now, but it does once you dive into the game. It can feel overwhelming at times when you keep picking up items and have no idea what to to do with any of them, but sometimes you just have to click on everything humanly possible and try tons of combination to get it right.
The puzzles and are by far one of the best parts about Kelvin and the Infamous Machine because they’re tough, although maybe a little too tough for some who are prone to rage quits. I was stuck in chapter two for quite a while with seven or eight things in my backpack and no idea what to do with them. With enough clicking around, pixel-hunting and trial and error of combining items you’ll always eventually find what you’re looking for. Even if it seems like a donut and a flamingo lawn ornament don’t go together you’d be surprised. There's also a big replayability element because throughout the game you can find pictures hidden throughout the levels that reveal bits of the story. The first photo I found revealed that it was indeed Dr. Lupin who was responsible for Beethoven's deafness. This first photo also happened to be the only photo I found during the game so I'm looking forward to going back to try and find the rest.
The other really creative element that makes Kelvin and the Infamous Machine stand out is its sense of humour. The main character Kelvin is hilarious and his commentary is brilliant from start to finish. It isn’t just Kelvin that has all the brilliant lines either; the entirety of the game is written fantastically, and each character has a few zingers up their sleeves that you might not expect. I even screamed and pointed when an unexpected Doctor Who reference happened at the beginning of chapter three. The writers of Kelvin and the Infamous Machine could tell my life story any time they wanted is all I’m trying to say.
"The other really creative element that makes Kelvin and the Infamous Machine stand out is its sense of humour... the entirety of the game is written fantastically, and each character has a few zingers up their sleeves that you might not expect"
So much about Kelvin and the Infamous Machine reads “soon to become a classic.” It features a talented cast of voice actors who may recognise from their work with Telltale Games and the like, a catchy soundtrack, tough puzzles, and a wonderfully charming sense of humour all wrapping up into a package that many will love. If you love point-and-click adventures with a sci-fi/history twist then this game should be on your "to be purchased list" right away. If you prefer more laid-back puzzle games, maybe still give Kelvin a chance but bring a friend. Two heads are better than one after all and you definitely won’t regret it.