As a child, I was never that much into video games. Instead, I found my solace in books. Besides, I used to think videogames were just another form of mindless entertainment. And the types of games I saw people around me playing (Call of Duty or League of Legends) were just too frustrating and complicated for my brain to handle. I was oblivious to the world of indie games, and more so about artistically-driven games, until I came to know about Botanicula.
This charming gem of a title opened my eyes. It made me realise that games have the potential to be a lot more of a personal experience. One in which you can dive into and be in awe of the wonderful realm and its inhabitants. Before coming across Botanicula, I had never thought much about the role of art, sound design and story-telling in videogames.
The premise of the game is one that follows the journey of five insect-like creatures as they head out to save their home (tree) from vicious life-sucking parasites. The tree itself is enchanted. The characters communicate through charming chirping noises that genuinely feel like music to my ears.
Botanicula falls under the point and click genre of gaming. It was developed by Amanita Studios back in 2012. Despite its seemingly simple point and click nature, the game requires you to use your creativity to solve the puzzles. Sometimes, you may have to experiment by pushing a character or dragging an object, or giving them an item that you acquired during the journey.
You get to see and experience the world of the game from the perspective of tiny creatures. It has made me realise how a single tree can be just as vast and complex as an entire ecosystem. The game has an interactive world and it rewards curiosity with surprises and beautiful moments of audio-visual symphonies. Overall, it is well paced and not excessively challenging, which makes it very relaxing to play. I often caught myself simply gazing at the screen and admiring the fine details that the creators added to the environment. All these aspects have made the game extremely engaging till the very end.
In my opinion, the only flaws of the game lie in the simplicity of some of the puzzles and the slight tediousness that may result from having to click around the environment for a while in order to complete a level.
After I finished Botanicula I felt this void inside of me, similar to when I'm done reading a really good book. Like a good book, you can only spend so much time with the characters and their journeys until eventually you have to part ways. And it also made me realise something very important about gaming. Just as you don't have to love novels from every single genre to say that you're a reader, you also don't have to play the mainstream games in order to claim that you enjoy video games. It simply comes down to you who you are and what appeals to you the most.
So give Botanicula a try, you might just fall in love with it.
Farah Masud is a humanbean and that is all you need to know about her. Please don't try to contact her anywhere, especially not in person.