So my first exposure to Amanita Design’s Botanicula was through a Giant Bomb Quick Look. So freaking adorable. The evidence was there. Then I realized the game was only $9.99 on Steam, and I had to have it.
The story is this: you play as a bunch of little plant/insect dudes who are trying to save their tree home and all their tree friends from a bunch of evil, parasitic spiders. And that’s it. But the game’s not so much about the story as it is about all the characters you encounter along the way.
Botanicula is a point and click adventure. You click on everything. Many, many times. And many weird things will happen to you. Since the gameplay is so straightforward, there’s not really a tutorial of any kind.
Step One: Click.
Step Two: Watch stuff Happen.
Step Three: Click it again to make sure other stuff does not happen.
The only time the “No Hints or Tutorials!” thing gets a little tiresome is towards the end. Things started to get dark, and I was so close to the end I could taste it, but the puzzles were driving me nuts. Then, I will admit, I was looking at walkthroughs for help, because I had no idea what I was supposed to do. Some of the puzzles are easy, and some of them have several different steps and will make you want to pull your eyeballs out. I spent many minutes swearing at a worm in a maze who had stolen a star from another little dude that I needed something else from.
If that sounds weird to you, that’s because it’s supposed to.
Botanicula is like an adorable nightmare has come to life. But everything is so pretty to look at, you don’t even care that the bloody-looking Santa character is going to haunt your dreams (I seriously just have “BLOODY SANTA CLAUS” scrawled on a piece of paper I was writing notes on). Every new setting in the game is unique from all the others, which seems impossible because there are so many places to go in this game. But they are beautiful, and the characters are so charming. You help a lot of little tree people in your quest, and every single one of them is an adorable, special little snowflake. Except maybe that asshole crab thing that kept chasing me off the tree branch. Or that stupid worm.
But let me tell you about the sound! It’s really the best part. I want to use exclamation points in this whole paragraph because I love it that much! It’s awesome! My stupidity aside, the soundtrack is great, as are the effects. The sound design won the Excellence in Audio award at the 2012 Independent Games Festival. There is really no point in playing the game if you are going to play it with the sound turned down, because it’s the star of the show. The soundtrack and all of the effects were done by the Czech band DVA, and you can buy the game’s soundtrack straight from their website.
Overall, I’m giving Botanicula a B+. I love it, but the puzzles get a bit tedious towards the end.
The Steam Sale just started, and you can currently get this awesome game on sale for $6.69. So, if you have Steam and only $7 in your bank account, buy the hell out of this.
Or buy it somewhere else, I’m not your mom.