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Abstract but beautiful adventure

Contrary to popular belief, the heyday of the point and click adventure is far from over, with things like the Deponia series taking over from where classics like Monkey Island and Fate of Atlantis left off. Botanicula is another great modern take on the genre and provides plenty for fans to get their teeth stuck into. This one takes the established formula of the 2D point and click theme but finds the player in control of some small tree creatures who are out to save their forest home from parasites. The game itself is puzzle-based but the ones on offer here are largely environment-based and which require the user to master various forms of mouse movement in order to solve them. Adding to the interest is the fact that many of them revolve around audio as well as visual clues, while others remain of the classic inventory-style, requiring the correct use of objects. Alongside the main quest, there are also side characters to meet and engage with, and which build up the game's background and story, fleshing it out in clever fashion. You get to control multiple characters too, with their individual skills making certain puzzles easier to solve. Botanicula really is quite the delight. The visual style is wonderfully striking, with some absolutely beautiful environments to explore, and some gloriously quirky character designs to enjoy, making this an absolute visual treat. Fortunately, the gameplay lives up to the graphics, with a uniquely compelling narrative to follow and some clever and inventive puzzles to get your teeth stuck into. If you're looking for something abstract, beautiful and original, then this needs to be played.