Botanicula: A Humor-Filled Green Adventure

May 29, 2012

5:00 pm

Do you remember all these point and click exploration games that were big during the 1980’s and ’90’s? Games such as the King Quest series and Maniac Mansion are prime examples. During the late 1990’s and into the ’00’s, this genre began to lose popularity, but it seems that, with the remake of games such as The Secret of Monkey Island and new games such as Back to the Future, there is a point and click revival.

Independent developers are also paying special attention to this genre. A good example is Machinarium, which was one of the most successful independent games in 2009. Another excellent title that I had the pleasure of playing last week is Botanicula. In this game, you control three ‘seeds’ and a ‘mushroom’ that inhabit a tree that is threatened by a bizarre chlorophyll-hungry creature. Your mission is to stop this hungry creature and help other inhabitants of the tree solve puzzles and find different items.

What I really like about this game is its use of humor. Every click produces a small animation, a funny sound or activates a gag, most of which are hilarious. It is also possible to interact with all types of insects, leaves, seeds, and other creatures. All characters communicate with little cartoonish sounds that will put a smile up on your face.  The music is equally good, and the graphics, without being too sophisticated, are also very enjoyable. All these elements together produce a beautiful gaming experience.

The gameplay is very intuitive and, in contrast with the point and click games from the 80’s, has almost no frustrating moments. This game is not difficult and is relatively short; I finished it in a couple of days playing an average of 1 – 2 hours each day. However, regardless of the length, the experience was very enjoyable. Actually I found the length perfect for those who do not have that much time for playing video games. But for sure, once I finished the game, I wanted to play more.

So far, Botanicula is one of best click and point games that I have played this year, and probably one of the most charming games I have played in a long time. Botanicula is definitely worth a purchase; it costs is $10 and is available for PC as a downloadable game.

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Salvador Garcia Martinez is currently collaborating as a researcher at the Technoculture, Art, and Games research centre; he is also a doctoral student in Educational Technology at Concordia University in Montreal. He has professional experience as a software developer, web designer, and instructional designer. You can connect with him on linkedIn or his personal website or follow him on Twitter @salgarciam.

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