You’d thought that a toy game is some kind of bad pleonasm but unfortunately, this is what I found in Botanicula. I must say that since the advent of Machinarium, I’ve been completely hooked by Amanita’s very peculiar style and as I waited for Botanicula, the hype piled up. So perhaps this is only the rant of a kid with shattered dreams but to be honest, I sincerely tried to like this game but I just couldn’t.
To give credit where credit is due, I believe they really did achieved this organic feeling Botanicula was supposed to be all about. You really feel life flowing in the environments you wander through as each and every pixel seems animated by a will of it’s own and in that aspect, the visuals of the game are a success - in my opinion, some of the graphics did lacked some depth and polishing but there is an undeniable care and effort that’s been put into the animations.
On another hand, there’s something really shallow to this world. Machinarium didn’t had a very complex story and neither did Samorost I and II and yet those games compelled you to evolve, they challenged you and to my sense, most of their beauty was in that somewhat magical relation you had with those games when you finally understood their bizzare, intricate mechanisms. In Botanicula, there are no bizzare, intricate mechanisms, only the bland repetition of a simple jack-in-the-box effect over and over as you blindly click on everything that moves and advance in the game in the exact same way. (I seriously believe someone could pass through this game by randomly clicking on any moving objects in about 5 to six hours max).
I often happened to enjoy creations that were mostly intended for kids (Miyazaki’s works especially), but with Botanicula, when I finished the game, I remember telling myself: “this really was a game for children”. So, if like me you crave challenging puzzles and enigmas that will, for a brief moment, grant you some feeling of amusement and wonder, perhaps Botanicula is not for you.
Time Played: 2-5 hours