In the Indie Gaming world, anything could go by with as little effort as possible, rarely leaving behind in its wake a captivation which leaves one rooting for more. Samorost 3 is one such surprise that hides its inability to offer more than a few attractions under the visage of awe-inspiring visuals.
Developer: Amanita Design
Publisher: Amanita Design
Available on: PC (tested)
Calling the game a mundane affair would be painfully shortsighted, as the further you tread in the seemingly surreal, almost eerie world the more you find sense in its various inexplicabilities. By appearance alone the game gives off the impression of imbuing relentless complexity, but is otherwise deceptively simple in its various puzzles and logics.
Samorost 3 starts overlooking an old observatory situated on a huge piece of wood sporting a lush green world. The story begins when a horn falls from the sky in the front yard of the observatory to the notice of its occupant, a tiny gnome clad in a onesie. From there on it’s a trip of finding answers to the mysteries your gnome is inadvertently thrown into, traveling on a makeshift spaceship through planets and their moons in search of the truth.
As you maneuver through the game’s environs you find out that the horn upon blowing appears to bring out concealed spirits who let you in on their side of tale which enables you to piece together the fragments to understand the story. These tales are told through illustrations in a chat bubble, or certain times a spirit would morph into shapes to illustrate the story. Dialogues are conveyed in the most spectacularly gibberish manner gamer-kind could stand witness to. Predominantly you have to have multiple go’s at the dialogues – so to speak – to fully elucidate the affairs surrounding the world of Samorost, and in particular, the quandary you have to seek an end to.
The essence of Samorost is in its various puzzles and the trusty yet mysterious horn which is the only persistent item in your inventory, and your way to get through to the end. Most of the game is routine-affair with horn-blowing and puzzle solving, sporadically requiring you to scavenge or acquire an item to further your goal. There isn’t anything in terms of clarification as to why something happens when it happens or if there’s any logic to a particular action or a set of actions, so you have to take everything at face value, not putting much stock in trying to understand the physics – or even the biology for the that matter – of the entities that exist in its world.
There’s little, yet useful, in terms of solace when you’ve hit a roadblock – a companion book which provides solutions through doodles without going the extra mile of giving you exact details as to what you’re required to do, adding to a mixed sense of frustration and wonder.
Music is one of the stronger aspects of the game, and the further you move along the narrative the more you’re convinced that music plays an important role, and just shies away from establishing it as the universal language in the world of Samorost, however it mostly works as a constant yet lively reminder of the game’s various peculiarities.
Samorost 3 is game with rich, photo-realistic visuals, intriguing plot that leaves much to be desired, and a gameplay sticking to the basics of point-and-click. Sound, interaction, and narrative together make for a lasting and worthwhile experience.