Amanita Design is the Jiří Trnka Studio (Studio Jiřího Trnky) of video gaming. The surreal characters are similar to Czech puppet films and all storytelling and interaction are mutely told in pictures.
What Amanita Design really does, is combine very special cultural elements into beautifully crafted entities: Traditional adventure games, Czech animation aesthetics and magical sound- and naturescapes.
I always gorge myself with adventure games. I want to complete them in one sitting, like it was a long interactive animation film. Within few days now, I’ve done it with Samorost 3 as well as I’ve done it with Day of the Tentacle Remastered and the new chapters of King’s Quest.
Machinarium being the game changer for me, and still the only 2000’s game to penetrate into my top 10 adventure games of all time, I doubt I’ll get the same feeling of awe and happiness with a new game very easily. It still doesn’t mean I wouldn’t enjoy all new Amanita Design games quite as much, or consider them just as good.
While Machinarium was a bit more traditional kind of an adventure game, Botanicula was dreamy stream of consciousness, a microscopic nature toy and an ode to flora and fauna.
Even though Machinarium and it’s steam punk looks became so personal for me, I always loved Samorost-world the most. The shaping of nature is hugely inspirational, and it’s the main reason for my own nature photographing hobby.
I’ve photographed tens of thousands shots all around Europe within my latest years, always imaging a scene, interaction and it’s inhabitants in them, mostly thanks to Samorost 1 and 2. Samorost actually let me see the nature differently, and it’s quite an effect for a video game.
So, I waited this new long Samorost game quite anxiously. Teasers were simple and beautiful, and I would watch them over and over.
The protagonist gnome is very lovable and cute, musically skilled little white riding hood, in a slightly surreal and unexplained world. Gnome’s childish interest in the world sometimes resemble the most classic Czech animation character – Krtek, the little mole.
The emphasis of story is always on the existing moment, but there’s also the big picture, the story, that is told in various kind of pictures. Some of them you can find by listening to the nature, or luring it with your flute, and some you can follow at picture books.
There are many themed orbs for the gnome to enter, but the game starts with a little puzzle of how to build a spacecraft with junk from your backyard.
Puzzles of Samorost 3 follow pretty much the path of elder Amanita Design pieces. There are few scenes where you see the solution from afar, and there are few where you couldn’t possibly come up with anything without exploring and playing with the environment a bit. Most puzzles are somewhere in between, always fun, distinctive and clever.
Amanita Design have designed actual interactive toys in the past, so it is still one part of the experience. You should just forget about progressing and solving anything, and simply play around. The Steam-achievements are mostly Easter eggs and stuff you find only by doing so.
It is hard to actually evaluate this games difficulty. There are classic adventure gaming gags and tricks, and for anyone who have previously completed an Amanita Design adventure, will probably succeed with this one too.
Not all puzzles are exactly easy, but like in most contemporary adventure games, you cannot actually die or get stuck, so you’ll make it eventually.
Music puzzles are a bit more rare for adventure games, so some may find them baffling or challenging. For me, it took seven hours to complete the game, with peacefully exploring pace, and only one puzzle would take more than half an hour.
In a way, Samorost 3 is a very safe product, as it’s so similar to old classics, Samorost 1 and 2, but longer. It’s more like there’s a lot of new puzzles and raves in a familiar kind of imaginary world you always loved.
The (múm-esque) soundtrack by Floex is as amazing as in all Amanita Design games, and the musical scenes in the game are as fun as ever, and I can’t wait for the vinyl OST. Machinarium vinyl has been one of my most listened ones ever since it was published, and Samorost 3 would be on heavy rotation, just as it is now on digital format.
All in all, Samorost 3 fits perfectly in the high quality catalog of Amanita Design games, just like all Jiří Trnka films fit in the high quality Trnka-catalog.