How to play a game that doesn't want to be played? Calendula is an experimental meta game about trying to play a game. Use your logic to thrive against conventions and get surrounded by a dark atmosphere.
User reviews:
Mostly Positive (184 reviews) - 75% of the 184 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Feb 2, 2016

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“If you ask me, the scariest things are the ones that feel a little too real. Meta as fuck? You betcha.”

“Its computery chills looks pretty dang swish. Interesting, that, innit?”
Rock Paper Shotgun

“Like a haunted house where the doors and hallways shift around you, Calendula is a slippery thing to inhabit.”

About This Game

What is Calendula?

Calendula is an experience. Calendula is a mystery. Calendula is a glass full of blood. Calendula is an experiment. Calendula is an atmospheric game. Calendula is a flower. Calendula is your deepest secret...

About Calendula

  • Calendula begins as a usual game... until it is not anymore.
  • The player's goal will be to unveil the mystery behind an apparently broken game, but it won't be easy.
  • Calendula's mechanics are entirely focused on the struggle of trying to start a game, exploring the limits of the 4th wall and breaking with conventions.
  • Calendula's aesthetics follows an increasing obscure atmosphere, plunging the player into a disturbing, thrilling experience.
  • The narrative is built within a labyrinth of metaphors and abstractions, ready to be unraveled.
  • Unlike other games, the player will feel as if things didn't work the way they should, similar to Twin Peaks' Red Room (David Lynch).
  • The player's journey goes from simple to complex, from bright to somber, from real to dreamlike.
  • To follow Calendula's path, the player will have to use his wit and think outside the box. In this case, a tiny oppressive box.

    Please, remember this: It is not your fault.

System Requirements

Mac OS X
    • OS: Windows 7 or later
    • Processor: 1.7 GHz Dual Core
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Card with at least 512 MB VRAM and Shader Model 3.0 or higher
    • Storage: 2 GB available space
    • OS: Snow Leopard 10.6.8 or later
    • Processor: Intel Core Duo
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Card with at least 512 MB VRAM and Shader Model 3.0 or higher
    • Storage: 2 GB available space
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated Sept. 2016! Learn more
Mostly Positive (184 reviews)
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127 reviews match the filters above ( Mixed)
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
9.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 10
Product received for free
This game was amazing,but really creepy and it was easy to beat the game,so i'm pretty sure that i like those musics and it was good to play it....and i have all achievements complete.
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
136 of 187 people (73%) found this review helpful
18 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.8 hrs on record
Posted: February 3
If you've played Pony Island then you have played a much better version of this game.

Calendula has the same basic premise as Pony Island: Try and play a broken game that doesn't want to be played. The "game" plays out like an indie short film with bizarre imagery and a pretensious "plot". The entire game consists of about 15 very simple puzzles mixed in with some nonsensicle cut scenes of raw meat in a sink. If Calendula's aim is to be creepy, it failed. If Calendula's aim was to deep, it failed.

Is it a digital representation of reincarnation?
A metaphor for the creative process of making a game?

I don't know.

But oh well, It is not my fault.
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52 of 76 people (68%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.8 hrs on record
Posted: February 3
I really liked the concept of a haunted video game ala PonyIsland/Undertale, but the game isn't even an hour long and the puzzles are way too simple.
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47 of 69 people (68%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
0.7 hrs on record
Posted: February 2
An excellent and unique experience, there is no game quite like Calendula. For a game that is mostly made of seemingly broken features and insane surreal glitches, it tells a fairly coherent and enjoyable story. Even if you're not in it for the story, it's still a supreme mind-screw. The puzzles are brain-tingling but solvable, and each time I solved one I felt like I'd done something incredibly wrong.

Note the short playtime, but also know that the game is expertly paced and just the right length for the type of experience it delivers. If you want to feel truly bewildered and slightly uncomfortable, then this game is definitely for you. It never let me get my bearings, and it was over before I knew what happened. I love it.
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36 of 50 people (72%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.8 hrs on record
Posted: February 3
Well, that.. certainly wasn't what I expected from this game.

Not only that it had just one hour of playtime at best, but most of this time is spend in the main menu, where you have to solve a bunch of easy puzzles. After solving one you get to walk a few meaningless steps in a meaningless corridor and see some really meaningless pictures, which are meant to be disturbing. There also are creepy sound effects all the time, which at least have a better impact than the rest. I guess you could say that the screenshots on the Steam shop page already spoiler you most of the game's content.

I would've recommended CALENDULA if it was free. But I paid 6$ for this, which is far too much. Well, at least I can refund it right away after I bought it.

(P.S.: If you're looking for a game that twists your mind, I can highly recommend The Stanley Parable. It's great.)
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34 of 48 people (71%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.9 hrs on record
Posted: February 4
I hate to have to say this... I really do. I loved the game... but I cannot recommend it to people, especially at the current price tag it has. The game is good, it has great atmosphere to it and its all psychological in its presentation. I love games like that. The problem here... its too short. You can get through it all well within 30 to 40 minutes and thats the game. If the price drops... I do recommend a playthrough of it then. especially if it was on sale for a dollar. That feels like a more acceptable price tag for a game that has no real replay value. No, i am not trying to bash the makers of this game. As i said before, I loved it and I love the concept of it, its just... -way- too short. ONLY get this... if you have enough money to just blow on something you are only going to play through once, if you are willing. otherwise, give it a pass.
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22 of 27 people (81%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
1.1 hrs on record
Posted: February 3
I bought this game on a whim, because it looked interesting as hell, plus I'm a massive fan of meta/headscrew games. The well done visuals and effects got me interested, and then... what? The whole ending turns out to be the overdone "whole thing is a metaphor for death/rebirth" cliche? I was expecting to learn more about what was going on, to uncover some secret hidden in plain sight, have the information it wanted at the start to be used against me somehow, ANYTHING but that same cliche. The game did occasionally give some occasional good foreshadowing, but a big chunk of the disturbing imagery seems to have been put in there simply for the sake of being disturbing. I never really got invested in the game, I spent most of my playtime waiting to get to the good part.

However... I don't really HATE this game. If I had, I probably wouldn't have even bothered to review it. I like the amazing potential it shows. The quality of the visuals, the effects, music, all show real talent, at least when it comes to creating an visually immersive experience.

But I didn't really come for the graphics. I came for the experience. It sucked. 3/10
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14 of 15 people (93%) found this review helpful
1.7 hrs on record
Posted: March 4
I'm torn on this one.

Gameplay itself is simple. You must navigate through the start menus, trying to get to the "game" itself. There's always a puzzle you have to solve, usually by adjusting the settings in some way. Clues are provided via error messages. Every time you manage to load a file, you are treated to a straight walk through a hallway or something and then sent back to the start menu with a new puzzle. They are usually rather straightforward- I was able to solve every puzzle myself without consulting any guides. It took me about an hour to beat the game, so it's very short- It's probably not worth 7 dollars, at least in my opinion. But my main complaint lies elsewhere.

The store description says that this is a game that doesn't want to be played. I think that's a novel concept, and one that deserves fleshing out. I found myself extremely curious as to what it could mean. Is the game haunted, and trying to steer me away from my doom? Indeed, as I played it, I found myself thinking that this is how a 'haunted' video game might actually look- graphical glitchiness, cryptic menu text, and continuous restarting with subtle differences each time- no ridiculous creepypasta stuff like Mario or Sonic hyperealistically bleeding over all their friends or anything.
I soon realized, however, that the devs weren't quite interested in pursuing this innovative path. As text throughout the game, the bizzare final "cutscene", and a couple threads in the steam discussions seemed to indicate, this game's primary purpose looks to be metaphorical.
Metaphorical for a subject that has nothing to do with the game itself, and is a completely unnecessary sidetrack to what might have been an incredibly innovative horror game. The missed potential is depressing. I was expecting an experience focused on me, the player, but instead the game thrusts the role of a hypothetical person in an unrelated situation upon you. In a normal game, this is expected, but in a meta-game such as this one, it's unacceptable.

I will still give Calendula a tentative recommendation (for a cheaper sale buy of course), since it still contains some innovative and fun puzzles. However, if this game had been designed with its store description's face value more in mind, I believe it could have been much better.
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17 of 22 people (77%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
1.0 hrs on record
Posted: February 3
I like unusual games like The Music Machine, Jazzpunk, The Beginner's Guide, e.t.c., but this project....I think that now it is more in a state of a sketch than in a state of a completed project. It has an interesting core idea and interesting gameplay elements. But overall it has a very poor visual quality, even for an indie project. Sorry, but the visuals and the acting are bad. It does not feel as a whole, more like pieces of different things that were forcefully put together. I would rate it 2/10.
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17 of 25 people (68%) found this review helpful
2.3 hrs on record
Posted: February 3
Deliberately glitchy, unstable and constantly fracturing, Calendula is hot on the heels of the recent Pony Island for the most meta game of 2016.

We must manipulate a broken menu screen to be able to play the horror game 'Calendula'. But the game resists being played, actively evading the player with its constantly shifting commands.

It takes the broken menu puzzles of Pony Island and makes a complete experience of them. Thanks to the sheer originality of its execution, it's effective and engaging, and Calendula conjures up plenty of opressive tension through its disconcerting atmosphere.

Between puzzle sloving there are surreal first person vignettes which form the actual "game" of Calendula that we're trying to play. These sections add to the disturbing vibe rather than give any real exposition or narrative, until later when we're beat over the head with the obvious symbolism.

Ultimately it's up to the player to decide "what it all means", and I concluded with a story that works for me, although that narrative doesn't connect with the mechanics of the game in any meaningful way. They feel like seperate experiences.

Still, it's a sharp and mysterious atmospheric-puzzler, even if it's intended mind-♥♥♥♥ doesn't quite come together with its mechanics in unity.
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Recently Posted
0.9 hrs
Posted: September 17
This game was amazing! It made me think and problem solve in ways no other game has. The ending was meh but it made sense and I didn;t see it coming. Some puzzles were super easy and others where hard. I only had to look up the third puzzle because I realy didnt understand the game mechanics but kudos to the devs for making such a unique game, if youre looking for something new and different try this game, if your a boring in the box thinking person then its not for you and you will get fustrated. Id love for horror games in the fututre to start bending the ppuzzles to other aspects of my pc. Imagine a game that made a file you had to read on your program files, imagine a game that sent you emails in order to continue. This is the directions that new devs should take note on to make an experiance more immersive
Helpful? Yes No Funny
3.4 hrs
Posted: August 27
A strange, albeit enjoyable and visually appealing.
It's short, but sweet. Like, REALLY short. It's understandable why the price is hard to justify; I finished it in about an hour.
Also, apparently the game's about childbirth or something
TL;DR fun but short and kinda pricey. Buy it when it's on sale.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
0.3 hrs
Posted: August 12
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Adam Jensen
2.6 hrs
Posted: August 9
I've never had to open the configurations menu so many times in a game, really.

...Honestly speaking, a pretty confusing ride. Get if you're really bored (like I was). For all its faults, the game did keep me hooked till the end. I haven't played many of these meta games, so the puzzles were a little weird to me at first.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
0.7 hrs
Posted: August 6
Haven't played Pony Island, but this one is pretty cool. A few creepy meta-puzzles that you can beat in about an hour.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Ghostface Q
1.3 hrs
Posted: August 3
This game is an awesome concept that's sabotaged by some horrible execution. I really like the idea and the aesthetic, but there's too many problems to be able to recommend it. The game mechanics center around the idea of "CALENDULA" being a haunted game that's buggy and deliberately unplayable. The problem is that there's a number of actual, non-fake bugs that range from frustrating to nearly gamebreaking.

If you're going to make a game designed around solving fake problems, the presence of so many real ones is inexcusable. There's definitely some cool stuff in here, but as it stands, this feels like an unpolished mess.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Roaring Man Bear
0.6 hrs
Posted: July 2
After reading a bried review of CALENDULA, the mysteries it proffered seemed like something I couldn't pass up. I've been a horror fan for quite a while and was hoping the "game that doesn't want you to play it" might offer a unique take on what an experience of horror could be. What I found was a sense of isolation, being pushed away constantly and only catching the briefest glimpses of what it meant to understand something we can't really truly understand. While the game is primarily based up the recurrence of puzzles involving the title menu and briefs vignettes in the first person coupled with weird/distrubing imagery, it all forms a neat little circle. I could expound theories for a while about what it all means but I'll stick to this: its entertaining to actually enage in as a player, its imagery is disconnected enough to genuinely chill at times and it seems a welcome place for interesting theories about story. My only sticking point would be length I suppose, as I got through it in little over half an hour (I could see hitting upwards of two depending on your ability to guess puzzle elements) and aside from replaying to mine story ideas/theories, its puzzles will just become routine. Still, I think it is well worht your time to try out and if you're in a dark enough room, it'll disquiet you something fierce.
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Swamp, Ritual, Scathe Zombies
0.7 hrs
Posted: June 27
This game was not at all what I expected. Or rather, it wasn't nearly as deep or well designed as I expected. I thought it would something along the lines of IMSCARED mixed with a little The Stanley Parable, but it turned out to be a very simplistic puzzle game which comes down to basically manipulating the exact same mechanic in a slightly different way to "solve" each puzzle.

As a reward for solving each puzzle you are treated to an extremely vague and incredibly brief cut scene. I got the impression that they were supposed to be very psychologically evocative and make me work to figure out the puzzle behind the puzzles, perhaps with an undefined sense of dread. This atmosphere was not effectively built up however, and the ending, while tangentially related to the cut scenes in retrospect, was pretty unsatisfying even if it was meant to be a metaphor or if we were meant to carry over the anticipated feelings of dread and anxiety from the gameplay over to the ending, neither of which I think was successfully executed if that was the intent.

I got this on sale for 4.19 US, and I would probably agree with another reviewer's comments that if the game was free, I might suggest a playthrough just because the "puzzles" are relatively nonstandard and the intended thought process behind the cut scenes and ending is at least intriguing. However, since the game is not free, I finished it in about 40 minutes, and found it to be generally unsatisfying regardless of price, I would not recommend this title.
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0.5 hrs
Posted: June 26
The game is not intuitive, the hints aren't given that well, and overall it's a repeat of the same 4 screens or so. Largely dull and not a satisfying experience. It's definitely the weak version of Pony Island. Even for an hour of a good game, I would not have minded the price, but it just wasn't that. I tried.
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