Botanicula

LQ: 8.4

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Brain grade: 8.2
Fun score: 8.6

Botanicula - Educational Game Review
Game Type: ESRB Rating: N/A Platform/Console: , LWK Recommended Age: 7+ Thinking Skills Used: ,

iTunes (Mac) / GOG (PC)

In this point-and-click adventure game, players control a band of five tiny tree creatures that are trying to save their forest from a dark band of invading parasites. Using the mouse, players interact with the surrounding scenery to solve a series of interactive puzzles. As they explore the world, players meet various characters that live in the forest, and they must periodically complete tasks for these tree dwellers in order to proceed. There is no text or dialoge in the game, so players must pay close attention to sounds and visual cues to figure out what to do next. Botanicula contains only mild comic mischief and is very easy to play, with puzzles that test the players’ creativity more than their intellect. Thus, the game is deemed appropriate for players age 7 and up.


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THIS GAME IS GOOD FOR KIDS WHO NEED HELP WITH:

Flexibility

Adapting and adjusting to changing conditions and expectations. Trying new things.

Puzzles in Botanicula are interwoven with the progressing story line, making each challenge different than the last. Players will need to use varying tactics to solve these puzzles, trying out how each of the five characters interact with the environment differently. No instructions are given, and there are no time limits or penalties for wrong answers, leaving players free to explore new ways to interact with the environment and control each character.

For instance, in one puzzle, the protagonists encounter a large pod which is blocking their path. Atop the pod is one of several keys that they need to collect in order to progress. Upon investigating the pod, players will realize that they can manipulate the pea-shaped objects floating inside. By carefully maneuvering the peas through the pod players discover they can send them through vent-like tubes, launching them out in different directions. By experimenting with this, players can eventually shoot a pea directly at the key, knocking it down to the protagonists. Solutions like this may seem simple, but actually require a significant amount of creativity and improvisation by the player.

Working Memory

Recalling and retaining information while working.

Many puzzles will require players to backtrack through environments, using newly discovered items along with previously encountered creatures or objects. Discovered items are stored in an inventory, and players must frequently recall the details of previous areas to determine whether the object can be used in order to advance the narrative.

In one area, for example, players will find a small worm which they store in the inventory. Later on in the level, players encounter a creature fishing off of a branch. Giving the fisherman the worm results in a humorous animation, and the player is rewarded with another object: a baby crab. The crab can then be offered to a spider, met earlier, who was blocking a path. Recalling this type of information as they play will allow players to figure out how to help the characters in Botanicula as they continue on their adventure.

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