With Beneath a Steel Sky last week and the release of Monkey Island in the Summer, there’s been something of a point-and-click adventure renaissance.

The vast majority of them, however, have been remakes or revamps of old franchises so it was with some excitement that we installed Machinarium, a game we had seen a year ago in Nottingham during the brilliant GameCity festival.

Even 12 months ago, the game looked polished and promising, harking back to the early 1990s with its pure interface and 2D sheen.

Today, it is simply incredible, a masterclass of design which raises a smile, keeps you scratching your head but never frustrates or annoys.

The game revolves around a robot called Josef who has been expelled from the city of Machinarium and dumped in a scrap yards miles away from home.

His robot girl is in the hands of the Black Hood Brotherhood which causes some concern to Josef who decides he just has to make his way back.

Dark, gloomy, enlightening and engaging, Machinarium reveals the trials and tribulations of Josef via little speech bubbles which display kooky animations.

And it’s structured so well — in small bite sized chunks — that you can easily break off after a triumphant bout of puzzle solving and still feel confident, you can just pick up where you left off.

That said, a pen and paper would come in handy towards the end. The puzzles are split into two categories.

There are the usual point-and-click adventure staples of using objects on other objects in order to make progress such as dunking a cone in blue paint to wear on your head in order to fool a guard. There are lots of logical puzzles too.

For those points where you become stuck, there’s a handy hint system which works on two tiers. The first gives you a broad hint whereas the second spells it out in a walkthrough storyboard. But beware, to access the second, you need to beat a shoot-em-up retro game first. You must earn your right to cheat.

Overuse of the hint system, however, would prevent this game from elevating itself from great to something extraordinarily special in your mind.

It’s a true indie gem made in Prague of all places but being so far away from the hotbeds of Europe’s development talent and the lack of a publisher breathing down their necks has made all the difference.

The developer, Amanita Design, has been able to fashion the game in their own way and, by publishing it themselves via Steam and their own website, keep the price low too.

That makes it one of the bargains of the year and it’s certainly one of the best point-and-click adventures ever made.

Sure, there are some pitfalls — the fact you can’t cancel an action once you’ve started it, the drag and drop nature of the interface — and some will be annoyed that they can’t spam the screen looking for hotspots (you need to be close to objects in order to make them work). But overall, this is one game that will inspire.