Amanita Design is a developer that over the last years they gave us games like Samorost and Machinarium that managed to stand from the adventure game crowd because of their artistic design and unique gameplay. Botanicula is their newest creation that shares these elements but its a whole different game in every level.
The game was released on April 19th, 2012 for Microsoft Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. A version for iPad will also be developed with no official release date set as of yet. The game is also in consideration to be ported to Android and iOS.
We’ve recently seen Botanicula being nominated and awarded the Excellence in Audio Award in the 14th Independent Game Festival. Since Botanicula is another game that managed to gain our attraction and received enough coverage until its release, what we had to do now was to play the game and tell you what we think.
Sound and Vision
The graphics and sound area is the field where Botanicual really shines. The game brings tons of beautiful environments, full of life and will probably remind you of some weird post modern animation titles that participate in experimental film festivals. Animation is very imaginitive making you to want click on every leaf, insect, flower over and over again just to see what it will do. Thankfully in the game there are hundreds of beautiful crafted animations so you’ll never know what is going to happen next, giving you plenty of fun surprises from the most unlikely of objects.
The original soundtrack and sound effects for Botanicula were created by the popular Czech alternative band DVA and features musical voices,gargles and mouth trumpets, accompanied by guitars, percussion and all manner of strange noises. Every creature has its own sound 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. Rarely do you come across to such stunning sounds. If we were giving game soundtrack awards then Botanicula would be not only an early contender but the absolute favorite to win it.
Botanicula takes place in a giant tree where wildlife lies until one day a big spider-like creature starts sucking the tree’s life starting from its seeds. The last seed manages to escape from the spider and decides to fight back by callingits four friends. You take control of this gang of tree creatures with the goal of beating the spider and saving the tree.
After you spend some time starring at the game’s surreal graphics as the game has many little activities that will distract you from your quest: you can click flowers into blooming, disturb bugs ensconced in nooks and crannies, leap off springy branches, pluck dead leaves and many other you should find out yourself, you’ll soon realize that you are totally alone in the game as Botanicula lacks any tutorials, objectives, hints and tips. However as soon as you’ll start taking the first steps in the daedalic tree branches and interact with the first evil parasites, you’ll get the hang of the game.
It is not sure if all gamers will want to follow this road to the unknown, but those who are persistent will surely be rewarded with an exceptional interactive experience.
Botanicula is described as a point a click adventure but its a very different one. The game feels more like an interactive story where everything on the environment is click-able rather than a game that follows the traditional puzzle root. Not that there are not any puzzles in the game.They exis but mostly what you have to accomplish are fetch quests where you have to take advantage of your crew’s special abilities. Sometimes a puzzle’s solution is based on the sounds you get to hear making the gameplay even more pleasant as you’ll catch yourself repeating a puzzle just for the fun you get out of it.
The game is divided into four sectors, the upper part of the tree that is healthy, lively, and full of various creatures, a lower part where all the nasty bugs lie, underground around the roots, and the infected area. Arrows mark the directions in which your fab-five can travel, though there are many other ways they can arrive at their destinations: falling off surfaces, being carried off by other creatures, flying via an ingenious helicopter, or even submerging in a living submarine.
What will be a great help you in navigating in the tree is finding a leaf that will allow you to create the puzzle of the map. Every area will take you about an hour to complete and the whole game lasts for 4-6 hours. What makes things even better is the ability to save the game whenever you like, you don’t have to reach for a checkpoint.
Those who reach the end of Botanicula will probably like to give the game one more playthrough just to revisit some very entertaining parts of the game. As soon as you do that then there isn’t much point in replaying Botanicula. The only thing we encourage you to do is to strongly recommend this title to other fellow gamers,even if there are not in to point and click adventures. Botanicula is an experience that shouldn’t be missed.