Botanicula PC Review
Peter Donnell / 4 years ago
This week I have been lost in the world of Botanicula, a bright and colourful Indie title from the talented developers at the Amanita Design game studio, who already have a place in my heart for crating their previous masterpiece Machanarium, another similar style title, which also featured the same creative point’n’click gameplay mixed with hand drawn computer animated graphics. Botanicula brings you into the world of not one but five main characters, Feather, Lantern, Poppyhead, Mushroom and Twig, each with their own unique personalities and skills, who are on a journey to save a tree from the life sucking evil spider-like creatures that have started to over run the tree.
Wandering from branch to branch presents you with various puzzles and challenges for you to help them through, totalling in at over 150 different detailed locations / scenes to explore and enjoy, such is the chilled out style of this game that you can’t help but get lost in this very magical and occasionally dark world that exists on their tree, exploring the world of the tiny insects and bugs that resides in and around it, discovering enemies, allies and creatures in need of your help along the way.
Point and click adventures don’t get the attention they deserve these days, with game development studios putting focus on action and adventure, so its amazing to see so much love going into what has been often declared in the past, a dead genre, so much so that I doubt it was ever a dead genre, more just a forgotten one.
With a stunning and creative soundtrack courtesy of the band DVA, with well scripted and organic music that springs to life as you perform various actions and travel throughout the tree, not to mention the creative use of sound effects, which as the best of time sound like a child making his own sound effects, but it helps create a fun and imaginative tone that really suits the games creative environments and characters.
Not just the sound, but the graphics are wonderfully detailed in all the places it matter too, the characters are imaginative and at times some of the other inhabitants of this world made me think of Terry Gilliams work in Monty Python, the same can also be said of the animation, it makes you want to click on every leaf, creature and flower again and again just to see what it will do, thanks to there being hundreds of unique animations in this game, which means you really never know what is going to happen next, giving you plenty of fun surprises from the most unlikely of objects.
Gameplay is a lot of fun in this game, with clever little puzzles to keep you scratching your head throughout, but not so difficult that you end up pulling your hair out trying to solve them, striking a perfect ballance between entertainment and puzzle logic that helps keep the game progress flowing.
While this may not be the biggest game ever, completion time clocks in at about 6 hours, although I was playing slowly and enjoying everything I could find, I would say its possible to complete this game in 4 hours without too much trouble, but your likely to miss some of the games areas and hidden wonders if you do.
With no text dialogues to slow the pace of the game, instead relying on broad gestures, thought bubbles and big arrows being used to clearly explain just what it is you need to do, simple things are suggested to you, such as “find 3 feathers” and “locate 5 keys”, all of which can be accomplished by solving the number of little puzzles that are scatters around the tree, helping a creature reach some food, getting past a mean little bug, or using all 5 characters to help you reach an object that is normally out of reach, simple ideas, but non the less more fun than it sounds.
Botanicula is one of those games that comes along every so often and gets easily lost in the hundreds of new indie titles that seem to come out every month, and while indie games are often great, it is very difficult to find out which ones are best to spend your hard earned money on, fortunately with this game, as is the case with a lot of indie titles, the price is low, coming in at just $9.99 so its not so expensive to miss out on the “pick up and try” sale, which is something that happens less and less these days with the £40+ retail release games.
This game makes a strong argument for quality over quantity though, with so much polish and love having gone into every moment, combined with the low price point still make this game great value for money, soon as you finish playing it you’ll be wanting your friends and family to try it out too, my 5yr old has had just as much fun playing / watching this game as I did, now I don’t know if that speaks for how accessible the game is, or my maturity level, but I’ll side that this is a great game for all ages. While there isn’t a great deal of re-playability here, the initial experience is definitely worth your time, its great to see a developer that has a clear passion for what they do, which is why I’m awarding Botanicula our Gamers Choice Award, I couldn’t recommend this title enough.