An experimental point-and-click puzzler

User Rating: 7 | Botanicula PC

Botanicula follows the journey of five insects to save their tree habitat from being overran by spider-like parasites. There are no cohesive written or spoken words to progress the story or describe what your task is. Instead, the game relies on animations, pictures, and arrows to give hints.

At first, it may seem baffling, but once you understand how the game works, you will make progress, partly by using a bit of logic, and a bit of trial-and-error. The puzzles are quite like Swords & Sworcery where you have to click sets of objects multiple times, or in some specified order, but luckily it's a bit more obvious, charming and fun. The game is split into several chapters and in each one you have a main task of acquiring a set number of items such as 3 feathers, 5 keys, 3 babies etc.

On each screen, there will be many obvious objects to click and experiment with, and some not so obvious objects which may require pixel-hunting to find the interactive objects. Some objects require more than a click, so you may need to drag or shake them instead. Sometimes, it may be more like a point-and-click adventure where you need to get one item, and give it to another character to progress.

There's plenty to discover in the game's world. As you interact with plants and animals, it may trigger reactions, and a card may get added to your collection. As a sub task, it can be your aim to fill your encyclopedia of the games ecosystem. A lot of the creatures are down-right bizarre and there are a lot of surreal moments during the game, especially since it gets progressively weird as you reach the game's climax.

The world produces a lot of sound when interacted with as well as its own ambient noise, which is a bit of a mix of Swords & Sworcery and Proteus, but again, Botanicula seems to have the upper hand.

There's plenty of indie games that barely have any game-play and may rely on other ways of entertainment such as sound. Games like Swords & Sworcery and Proteus seemed to rely too much on sound, but Botanicula has a more balanced system between great sound, visual charm, and game-play elements, meaning it can just about pass itself off as a game as well as an intriguing and charming experience.