hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts


Review: Botanicula

2:00 PM on 04.28.2012 // Alasdair Duncan

Amanita Design showed that there was definitely still legs in the point 'n click adventure genre when they released the charming Machinarium in 2009. The tale of a small robot seeking his true love both looked and sounded great and the game was a really solid old school adventure title. However, Amanita's new game Botanicula owes more to the slightly more abstract Samorost games, the last of which came out in 2005. Does Botanicula still fit into the point and click mold or is it more unique type of game?

Botanicula (PC [Reviewed], Mac, iOS)
Developer: Amanita Design
Publisher: Amanita Design
Released: April 19th, 2012
MRSP: $9.99

If you've played either of the Samorost games, particularly Samorost 2, then you'll have a good idea what you're going to be playing with Botanicula; beautiful artwork, lovely sounds and a much more abstract approach to a point and click game. The game relies less on traditional point and click logic and relies instead on using the environment and the creatures that dwell there to proceed.

The game starts as a malevolent spider creature makes it's way up a magical tree, consuming the life force out of the tree itself as well as the multitude of small creatures it finds on it's way. At the top of the tree is are a trio of glowing orbs, the source of the tree's life force but as the spider creature tries to take the final orb, it falls eventually being found and hidden inside a tiny acorn shaped creature. Realising the orb must be kept safe, the acorn creature summons four of it's friends and they begin a journey down the tree in an attempt to keep their home safe.

If you're wondering why I'm using vague terms for things in Botanicula, it's because there's no written or verbal identifiers used for any characters in the game. None of your team are identified in any way and aside from the menu system, there is not text in the game nor is there any English voice acting. Creatures communicate either in unintelligible grunts and growls. However, Botanicula wouldn't really be the game it strives to be with both voice acting (not needing any localisation team must be a boon for an indie developer) or big text bubbles. That being said, there's a nagging feeling of disconnection and vagueness whilst playing Botanicula that was hard to shake. 

Whenever you reach a challenge or an obstacle, more often than not your merry band of tree dwellers will simply stand there as your invisible hand either manipulates the environment or interacts with other creatures. The times when your creatures get involved certainly felt like they were in the minority and in those cases, it really felt like you were simply clicking on each member of your group to eventually find who was the "correct" answer to the puzzle. The problems in Botanicula may not seem obvious or even logical sometimes but they're not unfair or overtly complicated. That being said it can feel a little frustrating when you complete a challenge and all you've really done is click three times on a random rock or leaf.

That being said, the puzzles themselves are a wonderful mix of interactive environmental puzzles and ones that rely on a combination of sound and reactions. The solution to many trials will reveal themselves with a burst of music and singing and all manner of crazy creatures dancing and celebrating. When this happens, it's hard not to get swept up in Botanicula's strange world. Almost every screen is buzzing with life with all manner of strange looking bugs and animals milling around, the branches of the tree itself almost look more like veins with tiny blood cells in them. Whilst I'm hesitant to push the visuals of a videogame too much, Botanicula is certainly beautiful. 

Botanicula occupies this weird space where in many ways it's a traditional adventure game and in many others it's a more experimental art game. The fact that it straddles both sides so neatly is testament to Amanita Design's focus here. There's very little fluff or padding and while the game is not always focussed on guiding you down a certain path, it's hard to get sidetracked and lose what your goal is. Whilst a little more exposition and narrative would have been welcome, it's great to see the developers stick to their guns and make Botanicula a wonderful looking and sounding experience.  



Botinicula - Reviewed by Alasdair Duncan
Charming - Not perfect, but it's easy to ignore the rough spots when faced with so many engaging design decisions and entertaining moments. A memorable game that's hard not to like and recommend to others.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Alasdair Duncan, Contributor
 Follow Blog + disclosure Full_of_hornets Tips
Alasdair Duncan is that bearded, bespectacled Scotsman that covers PC gaming that is not Fraser Brown. A long time Destructoid community member and forum moderator, he covers adventure, puzzle, F... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
The amount of people who still defend Atlus's terrible marketing for their "crossover game" is kind of disturbing...
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Playing MGSV Ground Zeroes reminds me of when I was a younger child and I would play game demos over and over again, creating my own objectives and stories with my imagination. I love it!
Parismio avatarParismio
SFV just revealed Laura's video. She doesn't look that combo-friendly tbh. That just might be the video though.
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
Apparently some people are upset at Hyrule Warriors Legends calling it "the most expensive DLC", to quote a well known former writer of the site "they're Nintendo fans, that's what they do" complain.
Barry Kelly avatarBarry Kelly
God damn Xenonauts is brutal on Ironman mode. Oh well, time to start again.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Out of morbid curiosity, whats your favorite handheld gaming machine?
ShadeOfLight avatarShadeOfLight
Who's that Dtoider?! [img][/img]
wutangclam avatarwutangclam
Pathologic Classic HD just got announced and holy crap am I excited. If you haven't played the game, keep your eyes on this one. It's the very definition of an underrated title. Though I'm not sure what'll happen to the remake that was being shown...
El Dango avatarEl Dango
My opinion on Tomba has changed, now I dig it again. Stay tuned for updates.
techsupport avatartechsupport
MGO is a blast and after playing for a few hours as each class, I'm glad I stuck with Infiltrator.
CblogRecaps avatarCblogRecaps
So assuming the terrible blog tools functions correctly, soon there may be a nefarious call to arms. So keep an eye out and hope there isn't a typo due to light-grey on white background text.
Jiraya avatarJiraya
Gonna have a date tonight ? Here's a song for you. [youtube][/youtube]
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
[youtube][/youtube] And yes, this is video game related!
Nathan D avatarNathan D
"Everlasting. True love. I am yours." -Rule of Rose T^T
Shinta avatarShinta
MGO's pretty fun! I suck at it though. I mostly hang back and just mark enemies and get the occasional sniper kill. It's pretty fun to be semi-useful with a very hands off role like that. Love my avatar character guy too.
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
Fuck Insecticons
nanashi avatarnanashi
they pooped in my food they pooped in my food they pooped in my food they pooped in my food
Robo Panda Z avatarRobo Panda Z
I have been accused of the greatest of crimes - cookie snobbery.
KyWii avatarKyWii
Rock Band 4 is really fun...takes me back to my teenage days of high school. Also reminds me of all the hours I wasted on a plastic guitar instead of getting better on a real one xD
Avoclefo avatarAvoclefo
Team Fortress 2 just got a massive community-made Invasion update. SFM short, reskins, cosmetics, and 4 brand new maps?!?! God, I love this game and its wonderful community so, so much. [youtube][/youtube]
more quickposts


destructoid's previous coverage:

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -