Submachine Zero: the Ancient Adventure


Submachine Zero: the Ancient Adventure

genre: point and click, escape, puzzle

release date: August 2006

screen size: 640px/480px

data size: 1.36 Mb

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game description:

there are three facts about this game that you need to know:

1. this game was created for JayIsGames flash games contest and has nothing to do with the main submachine series storyline. It had to meet the contest’s specifications, hence…

2. this game is short. And I mean it. Don’t expect dozens of locations to wander around solving countless puzzles, this game is shorter than Submachine1.

3. this game uses completely new game engine, which I rewrote from scratch. For example, there is a new way of using items that you collect. Its more like ‘take the item and put it back’ than ‘drag and drop over something’, like it was in previous submachine games. So think of it as a small warm up before ‘Submachine4: the Lab’, which I am already developing. Till then – have fun with this ancient adventure.

your opinions:

Jay at

Submachine Zero: Ancient Adventure is a spectacularly detailed Flash point-and-click puzzle game from one of the leading designers of the genre, Mateusz Skutnik (also known as Murtaugh) of Poland. This competition entry also placed within a tight group of puzzles that resembled a photo-finish at the horse races. In other words, it was difficult to pass this entry by as a prize winner.

This latest adventure offers similar mood and mystique as the other Submachine games in the series, and Mur demonstrates his masterful ability to create engaging and compelling game play experiences, even within a game of a smaller scale as this was designed specifically with the competition in mind. The level of immersion experienced by the player is enhanced through both sight and sound making this an excellent addition to the series. The interface is especially remarkable, as it is very intuitive and does not get in the way of the game play. This is more an evolution than a revolution of styles, however, as Mur extends and refines his game-making talent.

Overall, the game is very easy; too easy, in fact, for it to have been rated highly as a puzzle game in the competition. It just doesn’t offer much of a challenge as its puzzle is straight forward and easy to complete. I had figured out the solution to the puzzle before I was even half-way through, and from then on it was just rote.

Still, I would be remiss if I did not whole-heartedly recommend the game, especially if you enjoy the rare experience of a well-produced, point-and-click adventure game as this one is.

John at

I was thrilled to see a Submachine-related entry from Mateusz in our competition. If you aren’t familiar with these games, I’ll advise you to start playing right now. Each of the installments is a shining example of style, atmosphere and simplicity rolled into a surprisingly deep casual gaming experience. Submachine Zero takes the same point and click pizazz from the previous games and scales things back just a bit to fit our competition theme. The game has a wonderful setting that hints at volumes of backstory. It’s a little more straightforward than previous Submachine titles, but because of the depth of design you won’t forget it anytime soon. Rarely do I get so engrossed in a game that I am compelled to finish it before leaving my chair, but Submachine Zero did the trick!

Noah at

Mateusz surprised everyone with a new edition of his popular Submachine games. With moody graphics that would be at home in an Edward Gorey book and spooky sound by the ThumpMonks, Submachine Zero is yet another great contest entry, and just as absorbing as Mateusz’s prior work.

Helen Daniels at

I was able to complete the puzzle quickly, and would appreciate a more complex one in the future, however I felt a sense of achievement when I completed it!!! and very much enjoyed the process!!


Congratulations for this fantastic game. I loved the ancient environment and I WISH that you design a full game set in this environment full of puzzles etc. In my opinion this is the best environment so far for all your games. PLEASE consider the idea of designing a large game in this environment. Also, I liked the new way of pick-up-and-put-back for the items found. If you could pick-up an item and carry it with you, it would be more convenient, as in ‘real life’ you can take with you anywhere any items that you hold.

Overall, I give it 100%. Keep up the excellent work and PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE design a big game set in the ancient environment.

Excellent work.

alias asterix:

It was clear from the first submachine how the structure of game play influenced the playability and enjoyment. Although there are no instructions, its very easy to simply open and play the game. This is a severe floor in many other games. Some might say the menu is bland and boring. ‘play’… But thats exactly what it needs to be. For me, small and simple elements like this make a game good. Dont ever over look the small details. When i play games, i dont want to spend 5 minutes going through options and selections and instructions. For that reason, submachine was very appealing.

In the second game, the new inventory/menu system was very nice. The music (or rather sound effects) made the game rich and vibrant. There was alot of character in each frame and details that made the game visually stunning. It was balanced perfectly: just enough puzzles and problem solving, just enough exploring and mystery. What i was very impressed with was how all the graphics ‘matched’. The colour use was much better than the first game and was a clear advancement. Well done on producing such a well planed game.

Sub3, the loop. Again, spectacular music! Just perfect for this type of game. Although many people have commented that this game was lacking, i found it just as entertaining. There could have been more story to give the game purpose, however due to the games liner nature, this simple problem solving game had its own stand-alone appeal.

In Sub zero, The new menu i found to be a little hard to control at first. The lighter was a good element in the menu as it was a re-usable item. The ‘one click’ pick up i found to be a little frustrating. Instead of dragging the item, clicking on it made it jump to curser on step. In the previous games, if it wasent an active object, the item would jump back to its position. Having to return the item manually got a little repetitive. This could be improved by having clearer marked peripherals for the inventory. This new menu engine is much better and more solid than any other. I liked the way the item description moved with the mouse! Very neat. The fonts used matched the game genre and were clear and easy to read. Again, well done on another great game.

For me, the submachine games were enjoyable because they were simple, logical, neat and short. Thats right, short. Small games in my opinion are more fun to play. Some games like ‘myst’ are too long and become repetitive and boring after extended hours of play. In conclusion, the most appealing part of submachine is the simplicity of gameplay. More advanced and complex is not always better! You have pulled it off very well and despite its 2d graphics, is one of my favorite games i have ever played. Congratulations on making the submachine series and i very much look forward to your new game!