So I'm back from my holiday, which turned out to contain a lot of wet feet, dirt, rain and mosquitoes (why did nobody tell me it was going to be a Neeker-breeker marshes kind of re-enactment?), but it was a lot of fun nonetheless. The first game-related thing I did when I got home was something I had been planning for a long time: I installed Steam on my computer. For those who don't know the program: Steam is a platform wherein you can buy games, and connect with friends. Remember back when we used to be online on MSN all the time? Well, much like that, but then it's even more awesome, because you can talk to each other while being in-game, even if you're playing different games. It has an overlay that's very neatly done. Anyway, I should stop advertising for Steam, I'll just conclude with saying I wish I'd started using it a long time ago.
To be able to add friends in Steam yourself, you need to own at least one game (protection against spammers etc, I think). It so happens there's a summer sale going on (some games are 80% off, really, ridiculous prices), and I suddenly found two games gifted to me by my boyfriend: Myst V and Botanicula. Such a great surprise! And it was the latter game that I tried out first - it immediately stole my heart.
Botanicula is a game about... yeah, what is it about, really? It is a game without spoken words, a game of images and sounds only, and I love it. You need to explore and discover yourself what's going on and what you need to do through these images and sounds only. Everything feels very intuitive, though (apart from the weird shit that happens after you've solved something). Base story? You live on a tree and need to save the beautiful and special treelife from some sort of evil black spider creatures. I think. To be honest, playing this game for the most part creates the impression of being on a magic mushroom trip and there's no end to it.
- Awesome animations, with all sorts of funny and, above all, super cute creatures.
- Fun music and great sounds, of which almost all are made by voice.
- There are many 'easter eggs', funny animations of species to discover that have no use to the main story but are just, well, fun.
- Overall: playing this game feels like looking at art, not just like playing a game.
- Getting 'stuck' and spending time running around, clicking everything left and right in frustration before you find out how to proceed. It's a game rated for 7 years and older, so I guess that explains a lot about me...! Luckily this doesn't happen too often.
Overall, I think this is a great game to play in between other games. It keeps surprising you. You shouldn't play it for too long, though, as you'll start to feel a bit dizzy (at least I did). It's typically a game that you'll either love or hate.
One of the most fun things in Botanicula are the many different creatures you encounter on your tree, of which many are not really interesting for the level continuation, but do add a lot of fluff. Their only use is a spot as a card in your collection book, which I'd like to get as complete as possible. Here are some examples from screenshots I took:
Top left: Soukac
Third from the left, second row: Dzin
Bottom left: Zio A
- More screenshots at my Botanicula gallery
- Free demo with the first level playable online at Botanicula.net
- "WTF is Botanicula" - a hilarious video review: