This is Samorost 3 Download, the latest, and arguably greatest, game to come out of Czech indie studio Amanita Design, the home of cult-hit adventures Botanicula, Machinarium, and of course the first two Samorost games. At its core, it’s a point-and-click adventure that follows a string of puzzles through a hazy, myth-like narrative. But like its predecessors, it’s also very much a toy, something to be played with rather than completed, and it encourages exploration almost to the point of demanding it. An infestation of termites, for instance, can be made to sing an Ave Maria-esque choral. It’s a simple thing to do, easy to stumble upon by accident, and really quite beautiful. It’s also entirely unrelated to your progression—making it happen earns an achievement, and (as far as I can tell) nothing more—but central to the experience. The plot, such as it is, is paper-thin, but individual moments like that are magical.
Samorost 3 Download is not a very difficult game, despite the way it sometimes looks, but it does require a certain amount of patience, observation, and willingness to roll with the weirdness. There is guidance to be had in the form of a built-in hint book that will direct you, with pictures and the occasional pointing arrow, toward your next goal. I didn’t find it necessary, and bulling toward the end really misses the point of a game like this (if I can say so without sounding overly judgmental) but I was happy to see it included because it fits well with Samorost’s non-threatening nature: relax, poke around, discover things, and if you want help, it’s there.
Something I did find slightly frustrating, on two occasions, was the need to repeat actions without being given any indication that repetition was required. In one such instance, a couple of yanks on a piece of wood produced no visible effect, and so I moved on, thinking I was on the wrong track. But I was not—I eventually came back and tried it again, because there was nothing else to do, and after a few more swings of the mouse, things started to happen.
It’s obviously a very minor point as complaints go, and not nearly enough to detract from the brilliance of the game. And Samorost 3 Download is brilliant at times: Weird, wonderful, and a worthy next step in the evolution of Amanita Design. Given the studio’s history, that’s no small accomplishment.