Enchanting treetop point-and-click adventure
Botanicula is a point-and-click adventure which combines light puzzles with exploration and a raft of cute characters and inventive gameplay. The game, developed by the team behind Machinarium, is now available for iPad, after having first been released for Windows and Mac.
If you go down to the woods today...
In Botanicula you follow five tree creatures as they attempt to save their forest from an infestation of evil parasites. Botanicula isn't a normal point-and-click adventure. While there is a story, the point of the game seems to be exploration and interaction.
It's a surprisingly big game, with lots to explore and quite a complex map. The tree is divided into screens, and on each screen you can interact with the flora and fauna in different ways, sometimes for fun and sometimes to solve puzzles. There are no long conversations to follow, just really pretty animations accompanied by a gorgeous soundtrack.
There's a collecting aspect to Botanicula too, and every time you discover a new creature you unlock a card. This encourages you to really explore the treetop world, in order to find all its secrets.
Botanicula translates very well to the iPad, and in a way the idea of having different screens for different parts of the tree lends itself very well to the tablet format. Clicking on smaller items or characters isn't as precise as it is with a mouse in the desktop version, but there's no serious impact on the gameplay as a result.
There's no hints system in Botanicula, which would be very useful at times. The puzzles are deliciously inventive, but sometimes it's a bit too taxing on your brain to try and figure out how to make a creature do something, or where you should go. Some little pointers for those who are really stuck would be nice.
Botanicula manages to stay away from being simply an attractive ambient experiment with the consistently inventive animals, and the evil parasites. The level of detail and the intricate work that has gone into the design and presentation of every single creature, leaf and flower, has to be applauded.
Good green fun
Botanicula is an enjoyable and relaxing game that is suitable for all the family. The game world is so engrossingly gorgeous that at times you'll wish you really lived in a tree with a bunch of bugs.