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It’s rather lovely when you learn of a tiny company consistently making splendid games is succeeding, rather than struggling to stay alive. Amanita Design, who RPS have championed for their witty, beautiful and smart adventure games since we launched, sent us some very interesting sales information about their robotic point-and-clicker, Machinarium [official site], after its four millionth sale.
Amanita Design's award-winning adventure game is finally making its way to PS3. Originally release on PC in 2009, Machinarium will be available to download next week on the PlayStation Store for $9.99. Described as the "ultimate version" of the game, the PS3 version of the game includes a zoom feature, PlayStation Move support, and sticky hotspots when using a DualShock controller.
The studio's most recent release, Botanicula, won an award at IndieCade last night for excellence in Story/World Design.
Amanita Design's charming robo-adventure game Machinarium is making its way to Vita as well as PlayStation 3, according to a recent ESRB listing. And why would those lovely men and women lie? Why? Why would they do that?
As is customary, the updated ESRB listing (via PSNStores) offers no details beyond the fact that it's coming to Vita too. One imagines it too will be downloadable via PSN, like the PS3 release we've been waiting on for yonks.
Amanita has described the PS3 edition as "the ultimate version of Machinarium", with a zoom feature, Move support, and sticky hotspots when using a DualShock controller.
Hopefully by now, you've played Amanita Design's marvelous point-and-click adventure/exploration/music-time story-thing Botanicula. But I'm entirely open to the idea that you have not—and so is Amanita, who have now made the first section of the game playable for free through their website.
You may recall that earlier this year I said Botanicula so charming that it stole Julia Roberts away from Pretty Woman-era Richard Gere. That about sums it up. You really should play this game: It's got a great sense of humor, beautiful art, and one of the best and most distinctive soundtracks of the year.
Don't take it from me! Head on over to Amanita's site and play the game for free. And bear in mind that there's much more to the full game than the bit in the demo; all sorts of hidden joys and fun digressions. You'll see. Go play.
Botanicula Demo [Main Page]
I think that Botanicula, the new game from Machinarium indies Amanita Design, is freakin' wonderful. I already wrote about why I like it, so read that if you're wondering about the game. Short verzh: If you have a heart and like lovely and funny things, you should play it.
Botanicula comes out today, and as part of a promotion, the Humble Bundle guys just let us know that they have created a special bundle just for the game. They also sent this goofy-ass video to promote it. Heh.
You can pay whatever price you want (!!), and if you do, you'll get Botanicula as well as Aminata's other two games, Machinarium and Samorost 2, both of which are great in their own right. You'll also get the soundtracks for all three games, which are all so good that they're pretty much worth the price of admission on their own.
If you pay more than the average price, you'll also get the (probably weird and delightful) Czech film Kooky, with art direction by Amanita's Jakub Dvorsky, as well as Windowsill, another point-and-click game from Vectorpark.
The kicker is that not only will you feel good about yourself for getting a bunch of great games for basically no money, but you can also pat yourself on the back for saving the planet—you'll have the option of donating a portion of your purchase price to the World Land Trust.
So what are you still sitting here for? Go do this thing. Play Botanicula!
Humble Bontanicula Debut [Humblebundle.com]
Joy is a terribly underrated commodity in video games. Most of the games I play inspire all kinds of feelings-stress, tension, exhilaration, frustration, even less-celebrated but still mentionable sensations like "comforting routine" and "empowering murder-fantasy."
There aren't all that many... More »
A new Humble Bundle has launched, celebrating the games of Amanita Design -- including the newcomer, Botanicula. The nature-themed adventure title is the standout of the set, but it includes five games in all for paying above the minimum. Plus, true to the game's message, you can contribute to a conservation charity.
The two-week promotion starts today, and you can purchase your bundle at the official site. Botanicula involves guiding tree creatures to save their home from spider-like villains, and includes a soundtrack by the Czech alternative band DVA. The bundle also includes Machinarium and Samorost 2. If you pay more than the average (currently around $9), you'll also get the Czech film Kooky and the Vectorpark puzzle game Windosill.
As always, games are supported on Windows, Mac, and Linux, with Steam keys available if you pay more than five bucks. Instead of Child's Play, the charity this time can go towards the World Land Trust, a charity that seeks to save threatened habitats.
There aren't all that many games that make me feel really, truly joyful. Botanicula is one of them.
Argh, this game. This game! It's basically a government-created smartbomb designed to deliver a payload of exuberant joie de vivre from your hard drive straight to your brain. Except it wasn't made in some government lab—it was made by actual people who put their actual selves into it. The result is a gorgeous, hilarious, endlessly creative, warm-hearted thing.
Botanicula, which comes out tomorrow and costs $10, is basically a point-and-click adventure game for PC, Mac or Linux. You'll be able to get it from Steam, the Mac App store, from GOG.com or direct from the developers.
In it, players control a group of five little nature-dudes who live in harmony on a giant tree. I call them "five little nature-dudes" since each one is different and it's not entirely clear just what they are. There's the little one-winger dragonfly dude, the little branch dude, the little(ish) fungus dude, little mushroom dude, and little glowing nut-dude.
Uh oh! Some scary black spider-things that more or less represent "evil" arrive and start sucking the life out of the tree. The head little nature-dude, (glowing nut-dude if you're keeping track) sees a vision and decides to get his little dude-friends and set out to stop them.
This is all conveyed without words—just like Machinarum, there's no talking in Botanicula, just goofy sorta-speak from various characters as well as visual representations of text that play like little cartoons.
Botanicula comes to us from Amanita Design, an independent Czech game development studio headed up by Jakub Dvorsky and Tomas Dvorak. Amanita is probably best known for their fabulous and too-often-overlooked adventure/puzzle game Machinarium. Have you played Machinarium? Good god, what are you doing with your life, etc. Go play it, etc. It's on like every platform known to man.
Where Machinarium relied on ingenious (if at times very difficult) puzzles roadblocking your progress, Botanicula is much more exploration-focused and, perhaps, approachable. I've been moseying through it and while all of its puzzles require brainpower and creativity, they're nothing close to the difficulty of Machinarium. They are fantastically creative, though—the game found a splendid number of ways to use my Macbook's trackpad, backing up Tim's notion that the apple trackpad is the best game controller yet made.
Botanicula feels designed to draw you into its world and, once it's got you there, to delight the living shit out of you. The world is organic and real-feeling from the first moment of the game. The art and colors are vibrant, soft, and lush. The puzzles and sequences themselves are all unique and memorable—you'll never repeat a single action, and each each new area and challenge arrives at new creative heights.
This game has been realized down to its tiniest details—many of the best gags are easter eggs that have no effect on the game whatsoever. (Watch out for the penguins, is what I'm saying.) The character animations are so good, so funny, that they recall Pixar's best and most charismatic silent beings—say, the robots of Wall-E. Each character was animated with flawless comedic timing—a pause here, a beat there—that makes every tiny movement a pleasure to watch.
On top of all that, Botanicula is possessed of one of the most creative and endearing soundtracks I've heard in ages. And that's not just my well-documented bass clarinet bias talking.
All of the sound effects and music in the game were created by the band DVA, who for the bulk of their sound rely not on instruments or samples but on human voices. Almost every humming insect, growing flower, and plunking, crashing sound effect was created by a human voice. It gives the game a loopy, child-like energy that in this age of (don't-get-me-wrong-lovely) chiptunes and electronically augmented sample libraries. It feels damn near sweded.
Friendly John Walker at Rock, Paper Shotgun observed that the soundtrack recalls the (hip! good! worth checking out!) band The Books, and he's spot on—from the moment the game started, I felt as though I was playing a video game version of The Lemon of Pink.
Curses. I don't want to get sidetracked on the soundtrack just yet. For now, just… the soundtrack to Botanicula is pleasing, hilarious, winning, touching, and flat-out gorgeous. It sounds entirely unlike every single other thing ever.
To sum up, here are some 100% true facts about Botanicula:
And so okay, yes, it won't be to everyone's taste. It's not exactly that difficult and there's not as much "game" to it as there is to many other games.
Vampires and Republicans probably won't like it. It'll probably go over the heads of most babies, and Vulcans won't see the appeal. Ditto serial killers and dead-but-actually-secretly-comatose soap-opera characters and people who paid to see Stan Helsing in theaters.
But whatever, I'm not talking to those people. I'm talking to you.
Botanicula is so good. You should play it.