Review: Botanicula

Every once in a while, we may want to play a video game just for fun, rather than doing the usual stuff like blasting away the endless waves of bad dude with Big Gun™ or stratching our heads after that intricated plot thread which resulted in a mindfuck ending. We want a game where we can genuinely enjoy its charm while relaxing on our seats. Well guess what, I have this little indie game that just perfectly fitted  for you to play!

Botanicula is a point-and-click adventure game from Amanita Design, which some of you probably recognized by their previous work Machinarium. Just like Machinarium, Botanicula is a point-and-click game which you played by clicking stuff on the screen and solving puzzle to proceed to the next area. Point-and-click genre has been long known as one of the most popular genre on PC. Some older PC gamers can easily remember titles such as Monkey Island series or Maniac Mansion which were really popular back in the days.

Back to the topic. I enjoyed all of Amanita Design previous works. From Samorost to Samorost 2 to Machinarium, and also their several flash adventure games on browser. That's why I was really looking forward to Botanicula. After watching the trailer, I was rather surprised after noticing its design was more like Samorost's art style instead of Machinarium's. Not that it's bad or anything though but I always fond of Machinarium beautiful hand drawn art style.

While in Machinarium you are a small robot in a depressing steampunk world, the world in Botanicula is more colorful. In this game you control a group of five botanical creatures which are trying save the last seed of the tree of their home tree from this black evil thingy creature that look like that big ass spider from Limbo. And then you began your journey through different area to avoid that thing (actually those things because there were more) and met different unique creatures along the way. Like any other Amanita Design games, Botanicula has no dialogue (either written and spoken).

The puzzles themselves weren't too hard since they have less to do with the thought process of solving puzzles and more to do with figuring out what exactly needs to be done with those strange creatures which moves when you clicked on them (and of course, some pixel hunting too). In fact, they were easier than the puzzles in Machinarium and Machinarium's puzzles were already this easy. Well, that's why I said in the first paragraph that this game can be enjoyed when you relax in your free time without having to think too much. I finished it in two days with total play time around 4 hours. Yeah, it was short but totally worth it.

The soundtrack is one of the strong points in Botanicula. It was done by Czech alternative band called DVA and these guys knew how to make perfect tunes for this game. The music in Botanicula can't help but made you feel relaxed during the playthrough. It was the kind of music that made my body feels lighter when I listen to the tune:

Botanicula is such an unique experience, at least for me, because how it tried to suck the player into its own beautiful world that filled with charm and successful in doing it. I commend those guys at Amanita Design for its imaginative visuals and sounds. It might be true that Botanicula won't be easily called as an example of 'modern classic' in point-and-click adventure genre like Machinarium did but at least it earned a special place in my heart forever as one of the most charming video game I've ever experienced.

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