Genre: Point and Click
Year: 2012
Developed by: Amanita Design
Published by: Amanita Design
Platforms: Windows, iOS, Android
Feeling Like: Botany of the Barrel

Amanita is onto something. What it is, I couldn’t tell you in less than 500 words. So here we go. You play as a group of forest critters who are trying to save the last seed from their home tree from dark, parasitic creatures that have infested their home. As somebody who cringes at the mere thought of a spider scrambling up my bathroom wall, I empathized quickly.

There’s Mr. Lantern, Mrs. Mushroom, Mr. Poppyhead, Mr. Twig and Mr. Feather. I only knew that because I just looked it up; there’s no written or spoken dialogue in the game, an Amanita Design specialty. What surprised me was the charm evident despite this.

Going from a couple of Role-Playing games starring Mario to Botanicula is like going from reading War and Peace to watching a silent film. I’m included to lean Botanicula’s way in terms of enjoyment. The animation is endearing, it reminded me of a kinder Monty Python cartoon, though not without dangers.

Early on it was easy to figure the puzzles out, but as the game progressed, I became less enthusiastic to figure out the challenges and more interested in hearing the outstanding soundtrack. The main theme, aptly titled “Juchu” perfectly encapsulates what Botanicula is about. A sense of discovery and wonderful. A playful attitude. Uncertainty of the future. Plus, it sounds like your fabulous five chime in once in a while with a chipper “YIHOO!”

Trust me, I don’t know either.

Each of your little botany buddies has an ability. Twig-dude (Mr. Twig is his father) was my favorite. He always seemed the most fragile but managed to be useful at the most opportune times. I’m always a fan of friendships born out of necessity of survival. It’s a lot easier to justify why random people hang out that way, instead of boring exposition about they’ve been friends since they were kids. Or…saplings.

I consider these types of games more like experiments, or experiences rather than games themselves. It wasn’t necessary for me to control the Botaniculians, and I’d likely have gotten just as much enjoyment by watching a Let’s Play on Youtube. But isn’t the whole point of a game to…play it?

If you’re aware of the E-Sports scene and how big it’s become, you understand. If you’re not, that’s understandable. It’s VERY weird to watch somebody play video games. Or is it? How much money does sport drive? You wouldn’t think twice sitting down and watching somebody play a sport you enjoy.

You’re either eye rolling or nodding your head. Either way, that argument doesn’t directly apply to Botanicula. It’s an adorable little game, one that makes you earn the next screen of beautiful artwork supported by a quiet jazz piece. The ending will certainly make you smile and make a compelling argument to listen to the soundtrack when you’re feeling whimsical.

Previous 491 Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story                                  Next 489 Dear Esther