Video Game: Botanicula

This is supposed to be a bat.
Botanicula is a Point-and-Click Game by the developers of Machinarium, Amanita Design. It is the first of their games not designed by founder Jakub Dvorský but by the animator newcomer Jaromír Plachý, something that is evidenced by the amount of animation in its every frame. The story follows a Five-Man Band of forest creatures who embark on a quest. Along the way, they have to evade multiple adversaries, notably a Giant Spider that sucks the life out of anything it touches.

The game is done in a similar whimsical style to Machinarium, although it can turn surprisingly dark at times. It won the Excellence in Audio award at IGF 2012 for its energetic soundtrack by the Czech band DVA. Additionally, a new Humble Indie Bundle was created for its debut, which gave part of its proceeds to the World Land Trust.

Botanicula provides examples of:

  • Big Bad: The Spider.
  • The Everyman: All of the party members seem like this, what with their fear of the Spider and the desire to take their minds off of their quest at certain junctures in the story, but Mr. Lantern especially gives off this vibe, particularly in light of how his special skill isn't really useful compared to his friends'. The game makes his Character Development a part of its mechanic in the final level—when the player gains the courage and wits to delve deeper into the Dark World after watching all of the other party members get drained, so will Mr. Lantern, and in so doing he becomes the hero of prophecy.
  • Fantastic Flora: Inevitable, due to the game's theme.
  • Five-Man Band: Made up of Mr. Lantern, Mr. Twig, Mr. Poppy Head, Mr. Feather, and Mrs. Mushroom. Each has their own unique special ability.
  • Giant Spider: A prominent one that adds a certain amount of terror to the game. Interestingly, based on the more realistic-looking spiders that can be seen in-game as well, the black "spider" isn't really a spider, but more of a... multi-limbed, sinister shadow-thing.
  • Heart Is An Awesome Power: Mr. Lantern's special ability—being able to glow because he's bearing the Seeds of Light—doesn't help the party overcome the puzzles as well as the skills of the other party members. However, the Light of the Seeds turns out to be anathema to the Spider and the shadow beings that live inside/comprise him, which prevents Mr. Lantern from being drained like his four friends at the beginning of the last level, and ultimately leads to the Spider's defeat.
  • Mime and Music-Only Cartoon: All of the dialogue is either communicated in gibberish or through thought bubbles.
  • Mushroom Samba: Between the first and second levels, the five friends encounter some magic mushrooms and trip out. Its connection to the plot is tenuous at best.
  • The Prophecy: The five friends encounter some interesting, black lollipop-shaped figures three times over the course of their adventure, whose combined tales give them an exposition/prophecy about the Tree they call home: the Tree of Light grew from a Seed of Light, and the shadowy Spider will one day threaten the Tree (which it is in the process of doing over the course of the game), but a hero of light will vanquish the Spider. Mr. Lantern rises to the challenge in the end, fulfilling the role of the hero.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Pretty much everything is adorable. You even get to keep virtual cards for all the critters so you can fondly reminisce about them whenever you want.
  • Scenery Porn: This appears to be a recurring theme in Amanita games. Some screens in particular are nothing short of breathtaking.
  • Sequel Difficulty Drop: The game is significantly easier than Machinarium, with more of an emphasis on exploration than on puzzle solving. The difficulty does increase gradually towards the end though.
  • Shout-Out: One area features both Josef from Machinarium and the gnome from Samorost in what could be called the Amanita Universe.
  • Solo Sequence: Mr. Lantern gets one toward the end, when the spider temporarily sucks the life from his friends and he has to navigate the Dark World.
  • Spiritual Antithesis: Acts as this to Machinarium. While it keeps much of the tone, the vibrant, organic world of Botanicula is a far cry from the broken-down robot dystopia of its predecessor.
  • Spiritual Successor: Also acts as this. Many of the gameplay elements seem like the logical next step from Machinarium.
  • Tree Top Town: One of the game's major set pieces. All the little beings and animations give it a very lively feel.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Many of the puzzles help others as well as your group.
  • Womb Level: The final level is inside the giant red spider.