In short, we love it. We haven’t finished it yet, but Samorost 3 is from Amanita Design, so it’s gotta be awesome. Just to remind you, Amanita are makers of Machinarium and Botanicula, both of which we’ve reviewed in the past – and both enchanting and addictive games.
Amanita’s games are all puzzlers with an edge of mystery and adventure, Samarost 3 is no different. It’s a loose follow-up to Samorost and Samorost 2, both PC games featuring a curious space gnome who is keen on discovering the mysteries of the universe. This third part is a stand-alone game, so you won’t have to play the first two (which are currently only on PC) to fully enjoy the experience.
You control an adventuresome space gnome with the touchscreen interface and must help him solve puzzle after puzzle to advance his exploration of nine whimsical and beautifully designed planets. And they are really imaginative, eerie, cute and vividly coloured planets with striking detail that makes their environment’s a pleasure to view – a strong feature of Amanita’s style.
You begin the game the gnome’s home/observatory and receive a flute that mysteriously falls from outer space. This flute is used to help uncover and discover clues to your ‘mission’, usually revealed through ghostly apparitions that appear and communicate some action you must take to progress in the game. You also use the flute as a listening device by amplifying specific sounds.
Your first mission is to help a grizzled inventor build your spaceship. Hence you must locate several parts to complete the task and each part can only be found by solving some problem or puzzle, be it an engaging card game with interactive cards, trying to cross a deep chasm or salvaging spare parts from the environment.
You have a hint book that you can refer to when you hit a problem you can’t solve – and truly, some of the puzzles would be impossible to solve without these pictorial and sometimes cryptic clues, so don’t feel bad if you refer to it liberally. Even with hints, you still have to apply your problem solving skills to advance.
Music and Landscapes
Music is a primary feature in the game and it’s applied really skillfully and even humorously. For example, you have to play musical notes on giant bug’s antennae to activate clues, or – one of my favourite missions so far – you must musically direct three amphibious looking creatures (bass, tenor and soprano no less) as they improvise a hilarious harmony. Worth playing just to hear their adorable scatting. Earphones are best for full effect.
The game also treats the eyes to landscapes that transform from drab monotone to startling vivid colour. Again, the detail and original design of these worlds makes it as artistic as it is playable.
Amanita has another hit on its hands in Samarost 3. It’s in the App Store, get it. Also check our Facebook page for some gameplay video.