Gaming With A Cause: The Humble “Botanicula” Debut

I always find it a charming experience when I can find games made from foreign countries that can make me smile. In this month’s case of The Humble Bundle – I think I’ve found a new love in a game design company. Now you all may have been around when I touched on Machinarium during my Point and Click Adventures post , and let’s just say if you liked that you’ll certainly love the package that the Humble “Botanicula” Debut gives you.

Created by Czech Republic indie company Amanita Design these games are fantastic, whimsical, and will charm their way into your hearts with their simplistic, engaging, and emotionally heartwarming gameplay. The glorious thing about it all, is that you pay what YOU want for the Bundle – and your donations go to a wonderful cause – we’ve been through this routine before with past Humble Bundles if you’ve followed my blog. I’m telling you now they’re wonderful money-saving, cause caring little bundles and you should really check them out.

In the Humble Botanicula Debut you’ll receive the following:

  1. Botanicula
  2. Machinarium
  3. Samorost 2
  4. KookyAn indie movie by Amanita Design
  5. Windosill – if you pay over the average donation – which is 8.77 as of now

So, now to try and examine each one, in short, to prove you get your money’s worth.

Botanicula:

In the newest release from Amanita Design, you play as a quirky little gang of misfit  tree creatures [ one looks like a stick, the other an acorn or seed, one looks like a fruit, etc. ] and you must guide them about this fantastically artistic world to save their forest homeland from spider invaders. Does this sound fun yet? – well it should! The game has a sense of whimsical charm I haven’t seen in ages, and it’s point and click storybook humor and gameplay make it not only simple, but a game that can be enjoyed by players of all age groups.

One small step for seeds - one giant leap for a forest.

I really have nothing bad to say about this game, because it doesn’t have dialogue from what I’ve experienced, and if it’s anything like most Amanita Design games, they’ve taken into account deaf players and either added no necessity for sound, or some sort of written or picture instruction [ in Machinarium, they used picture instructions so I’m leaning on the same vein. ] The colors are vivid and the animations are child-like and gorgeous. The mechanics are easy enough via point and click mechanics – so if you’ve got a mouse, even those with limited mobility will be able to play this game.

We're your friends! We're your friends! We're your friends till the bitter end!

The color scheme is the only thing that scares me, not being color blind I don’t know how this will affect colorblind gamers, but there’s quite a few spots where I felt that the colors of the background and items tended to have similar color tones, and that may cause some issues, but the characters and backgrounds I feel are vivid enough to counteract that. If any color-blind gamer gives this game a shot, let me know your personal opinion. I would love to hear it from a person who’s had first hand experience. Overall though, the game is charming and can be played by practically anyone – I totally endorse it as a must see game.

Machinarium:

Some of you have probably already heard of my ringing endorsement of Machinarium, but in case you haven’t, please check out my post on Point and Click Adventures.

Samorost 2:

If there ever was a game that I could honestly say had an almost Salvador Dali feel to it then it would have to be Samorost, but it’s sequel brethren Samorost 2 is no different. Now in Samorost 2 you play as a little man who’s dog has been kidnapped by alien invaders. They’ve taken your dog and now you must fly off to go on a grand quest to save him and find a way to return home. This basic and charming premise leads to one of the most heartwarming and light-hearted stories I’ve seen in ages.

Excuse me, but umm - have you seen a dog about Mr. Aardvark?

Now the games difficulty can become a bit tedious, as this point and click adventure game doesn’t hold your hand. You’re not told what does what, and you’re not told what items you can click on – so you’re sort of shooting in the dark, but I think that’s the joy of point and click adventure games. It’s a puzzle from the moment you walk into an environment. The game really has no dialogue, except for some sounds here and there, and so it can be played rather well by deaf gamers. The game is, once again, for all ages too. It provides a whimsical and exhilarating change of pace from the stereotypical game culture of FPS’s and MMO’s that we have floating around today.

Oh Wise Big Head! Me and my pup want to go home!

The color schemes are great, vibrant colors with distinct tones to separate one object from the other without being too offensive to the eyes. Samorost 2 is truly a treat, and I suggest anyone who loves any of these games today to seriously check it out. If you’re unsure still and you want to give the game a whirl you can try out the demo – or try out the full version of it’s predecessor Samorost. It’ll truly be a surrealist gaming experience that I feel you’ll cherish in your heart for a while.

Kooky:

Now Kooky isn’t even a game, but rather, it breaks from the traditional design medium of Amanita Design by being a MOVIE. This movie has everything going for it, and while at first I was skeptical of having an indie game company design and produce an indie film, I was proven wrong with my foot in my mouth when I watched the trailer. If you personally loved the movie “Where The Wild Things Are” or have ever watched any Muppet/puppet based movie – you’ll probably love Kooky.

A picture of the Kooky puppets from a museum exhibit

Kooky is a tale about a little teddy bear who gets lost from his owner, and must travel across a forest in search of him. This basic principle has been done before, by many successful franchises [ in fact I’m pretty sure Winnie The Pooh was made off the idea of adventuring to find Christopher Robin ] but my point is this – this movie will captivate you. The movie is captivating, in my eyes, because of the use of materials and the use of Czech actors actually portraying the English speaking roles. The accents portrayed give a wonderful tone to the movie, and the puppets are gritty, odd, and out-of-this-world unique.

You can see Kooky in all of it’s glory in both the Czech/English Dub, or you can watch it in Czech with English subtitles – and to think you can get this ALL of these for less than 10 dollars? I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the whole thing, and you should too. Here’s the trailer to show you how amazing of an experience you’re bound to have:

[ Yes, that’s Jeremy Irons being Narrator ^_^  If that doesn’t sell you… ]

Windosill:

If you’re looking for a completely bonkers, unusually artsy experience well then look no further than Patrick Smith of Vector Park and his odd-ball game of Windosill. The game look like it came out of a child’s nursery, if it was the nursery of a famous artist of course. My point is this game will be odd, I’m certain of it – but after playing the demo I’m completely intrigued. There are a couple of issues I have with the game that limit it’s accessibility, but overall it’s grand.

Well, this is a look into a person's closet...

The first would be the color tones. I’m in love with the artwork that Smith has portrayed, but the rooms often carry very similar color tones, and for color blind gamers that can make differentiating items difficult to determine. The other is that, because there is no instruction what so ever you’re tossed in blindly to finding out how to access new areas – what items do, etc. It’s a very odd game to say the least, but it’s a beautiful game and if you’re looking for something oddball to pass the time I’d definitely say you should be glad to pick this up.

So there you have it folks! Four fantastically artistic indie games that are both simple to play and beautiful to look at, and one intriguing childhood whimsical film that I’m exceptionally excited about. You can grab all of these for less than 10 dollars currently and you’re donations are not going to waste either. You’ll be aiding the World Land Trust, an organization that works to promote conservation of our world’s natural rain forests. So please, if you’re in a gaming mood and in a giving mood – I suggest stopping over and checking out the Humble “Botanicula” Bundle.

You’ll be glad you did. The Bundle is going to be running for 13 more days so get your button clicking fingers ready and pay what you want for a fantastic good time!

3 responses to “Gaming With A Cause: The Humble “Botanicula” Debut

  1. Hey, I’m sorry I wasn’t around to reply to your question earlier about this man, but quite frankly it seems you didn’t need my help at all as this article you’ve written has perfectly summed up anything anyone could possibly want to know about the bundle! Thank you so much for all your lovely comments recently, I’m really enjoying your blog and it’s a genuine honour to be complimented by someone who writes as well as you do and for such inspirational causes.

    • Thanks man! I’m touched by your words – it means a lot to me to know that my blog means something to others. I’m also really thankful that I have blogger friends like yourself who share in the same quirky, innovative, and odd sense of design that I love.

      I’m hoping that when I get around to posting up my art page and my designs that they’ll live up to the oddities that I post about on here 😛 Thanks for the support though Alex! Much appreciated!

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