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publisher: Amanita Design
developer: Amanita Design
|ESRB rating: n/a
release date: Apr 19, 12
|» All About Botanicula on ActionTrip|
Quality humor is all but absent from mainstream gaming, and if this bothers you, put on your indie hipster hat (Check. - Ed. Vader) and follow 'moi' on a journey down to Botanicoolness (TM). Let's pretend for a minute that I'm a professional, because I would like to throw some made up numbers at you. Approximately 80% of games are about bathing in blood to prevent the end of the world; 10% are about watching indestructible supercars drive themselves; 7% are hidden object games with haunted manors and the remaining 3% are worth playing (See what I did there?). But anyway, Botanicula, just like every other Amanita Design game, falls into the last category.
Creepy and cute - two words that define this game.
He's about to suck that poor leaf dry!
This is a point-and-click adventure that plays almost exactly like Machinarium, the one notable difference (or should I say advantage) being the reduced difficulty. For me, this resulted in a considerably more pleasant experience than the one I had with Amanita's previous effort (Yep, same here - Ed. Vader). While there were two puzzles that came close to becoming tedious, everything else was smooth sailing. I played this game with a big smile on my face, and that's a compliment I've never given until now.
So what's it all about? It's fairly simple, to be honest. You guide a group of five unhappy tree friends (Mr. Lantern, Mrs. Mushroom, Mr. Feather, Mr. Twig and Mr. Poppyhead) bent on saving their tree's last seed from a spreading corruption. There's no spoken dialogue, everything is conveyed through amusing sound effects and expressive animation. It's like the semi-silent movie version of a crazier-than-usual puppet show. And I do mean crazy. While most of the creatures are cute and harmless, there are some pretty weird thingamajigs residing among the tree's roots and branches. Nothing too disturbing though, just caricaturized relatives of the monsters we usually slaughter in manly games.
There are 123 creatures waiting to be discovered, lurking behind leaves or hiding in plain sight and every time you come across a new one, you unlock a card with its picture on it. Collecting these cards yields post-credits bonuses, so try and get as many as possible. Click on everything you can because the most innocent looking item could start a chain reaction of humorous events. There are many small moments in the game that are there just for the fun of it. They serve no purpose whatsoever, other than to amuse you. Botanicula is all about the details and everything in it is obviously lovingly crafted. You'll find no copy/paste levels here, no endless waves of enemies making your life miserable. Just good, clean fun.
I hate these black-spider thingies.
That was rude.
I'm honestly struggling to find something to dislike about it. At around 5 hours, even the game's length is satisfactory. It may not sound like much, but Botanicula was made by a handful of people and they managed to cram a ton of content into it. But if I were to nitpick, perhaps I could ask for a clearer map, more save slots and, uhm, a bit of gratuitous nudity (That's a weird-ass request for a game of this type, but whatever rocks your boat. - Ed. Vader). Actually, I do have one real suggestion: more interaction between the heroes. I would have loved to know the little guys better. Perhaps through a backstory for each of them. Maybe next time?
Botanicula is the type of game that even non-gamers could easily fall in love with. It emanates a positive vibe, delights at every turn and makes you wish its world was actually real. Imagine watching Mr. Lantern and gang go on a new adventure each day. That would be really something. But since it's impossible, could we please get a little sequel? Or why not even a sandbox spin-off? Or both? An animated show wouldn't hurt either.
In case it's not obvious enough, I wholeheartedly recommend this game to everyone. It's funny, clever and totally lovable.
Beautiful and funny game that feels entirely handmade, not too taxing on the brain, highly imaginative soundtrack, the controls are as simple as it gets, very low system requirements;
Makes other games look even blander, although I'm not entirely sure if that's bad, Mrs. Mushroom is a tease.
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