Botanicula (iOS) review: A fun and sometimes frustrating puzzle adventure

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The Good Botanicula has cute characters, great ambient music and sounds, and challenging puzzles.

The Bad The game badly needs a brief tutorial so you know all the controls.

The Bottom Line With adorable characters, challenging puzzles, and a compelling storyline, Botanicula is worth your money, but it takes patience to succeed.


8.1 Overall
  • Setup 9
  • Features 8
  • Interface 7
  • Performance 9

Botanicula is a colorful, interactive adventure game where you guide a band of five cute friends who are trying to rid their home of invading spider-like parasites.

If that sounds strange, it's because it is. The entire world of Botanicula is alien and difficult to comprehend on first blush. But as you touch and tap different things on screen, you slowly realize that the various life you find living in the tree are pieces of a larger puzzle you'll need to solve to help keep their world alive.

There are plenty of point-and-click puzzle games for the iPad, but the unique art style of Botanicula puts it in a class by itself. If you're looking for a truly unique touchscreen game, this one is definitely worth your money -- even at $4.99, £2.99, or AU$6.49.

One thing that is important to note right away is that this game is only available for Mac or iPad. This review is for the iPad version of Botanicula.

Finding your way around

Botanicula takes place on a giant tree, and each screen in the game represents a different section of the tree you're exploring. As each level begins, you and your cohorts are presented with a problem. The first level requires the team to collect feathers to help a creature fly again so he'll no longer block your path. Each level of the game presents a new problem, but all require items you'll need to find by piecing together smaller mysteries.

To navigate between sections of the tree you tap near the edge of the screen where a branch continues out of sight. A valid path will display an arrow as you tap on the screen, causing the characters to travel off screen to the next section. When an arrow doesn't show up, it means you've hit a dead end (in a particular direction), and you'll need to take a different path.

Touch everything

Probably the best piece of advice I can give for playing Botanicula is to touch everything. As you progress through the levels your eye becomes trained to look for tiny spikes, small eyes, or wiggling leaves as an indication of items waiting to be touched. Sometimes a simple touch reveals a hidden animal, while other times multiple taps or a long-press are required to bait an animal out in the open so you can interact with it.

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