Amanita Design is a pretty well established studio by now with titles like Machinarium, the Samorost series, Botanicula, and now also Chuchel, but this review will only be about Botanicula: If you don’t know what to expect, Amanita games are 2D point & clicks in a relaxed, imaginative setting and atmosphere with often very whimsical characters and some light puzzles. A lot of the time you click on stuff and see what happens. Nature often plays a part and words like “adorable” or “cute” easily comes to mind while playing. Botanicula is no different: everything is as adorable and whimsical as ever. There’s also a lot of extras to discover and activate.
Everything might seem very carefree, but all is not right in the land of Botanicula; a conflict drives our group of friends to seek further answers. The story isn’t trying for anything particularly profound or life-changing, but it doesn’t have to and gets the job done quite competently. If you are into having your mind bent and can’t have it any other way, this is probably not the game for you. Everyone else will love it.
The music is sort of a mix between Steve Reich, Meredith Monk, and Dvar in their lightest, most playful moments, and also sometimes interactive. The sound design is great and sets a perfect tone for the game (I think most of it is done vocally (as in human beatbox, but without the beats)). The puzzles are well integrated with the surroundings and often consists of bridging a gap, climbing something, or finding a most needed object by interacting with the environment or the NPCs, and choosing which of your characters to use.
It’s a fun game which I think could easily draw a smile from even the stiffest, most determined grumpy old fart. If you are still not liking it, then being a kid — either by heart or by design — might help. It’s a perfect fit for when you need a break, but don’t want to, or cannot, leave your computer.