Game Review – Samorost 3 (PC)

Spaceships And Flutes

Short Version: Beat boxing animals, whistling rats and acapella-singing bugs. Buy this game.

Long Version: I went into this game knowing absolutely nothing about the Samorost series of point n’ click adventures, but after playing it, it makes me want to go back and see them, due to the immense amount of fun I had with the third installment. Before making any assumptions, I would like to assure you that it is not necessary to play any of the previous Samorost games in order to understand what is happening in Samorost 3, since pretty much everything is clearly laid out and simple to understand. On top of that, there is no actual dialogue or text in the game of any kind, so there is no language barrier to stop you from having fun. I’m getting ahead of myself though; let’s roll it back a bit.

Woof-Woof-Woof!

As I booted up the game, it immediately opens up to an adorable-sounding dog noticing that a mysterious instrument just fell down from the sky. He calls to his owner, a small, white colored, elf-looking man who will be this game’s protagonist. He (She? It? Not sure. Sounds and looks like a boy to me) picks up the flute instrument and starts to play around with it, like listening through it on certain areas or playing a small tune in order to active a clue to a puzzle and a bit of backstory. Similar to the Portal Gun in Portal, the Transistor in Transistor or any other titular weapon in recent memory, the player will immediately realize that this flute will be the recurring item that will be used for the entire game, which is used to really good effect.

Immediately after receiving the instrument, I had the freedom to go wherever I wanted. After exploring the little guy’s house for a bit, I discovered that he dreams (literally) of making a spaceship and going out to explore the cosmos, which already gave me a clear objective to aim for. As I looked for spaceship parts, it didn’t take long before I was met with some puzzles. Judging by my previous experience with point n’ click adventure games, I was afraid that some puzzles might be impenetrable for me, but in reality, it was very much the opposite. Most of the puzzles, if not all of them, are overwhelmingly easy, which I personally think is not a bad thing at all, since it is made pretty clear from the very get-go that Samorost 3 is more about having a pleasant experience rather than giving you some sort of hardcore, brutal challenge. This game isn’t about that, especially when there are many of those kinds of games out there already to satisfy that need.

Samorost 3 Mushrooms 2

As Tough as a Warm Stick of Butter

Let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that you do get stuck on something. It is possible for you to select a menu option that takes you to a book. In this book, you spin some gears and line them up in the same formation, to which then the book opens and reveals some purposefully crude drawings that show a rather detailed solution to all of the puzzles on the screen you are in, including secret ones. Some people might consider this cheating, but I like to call it a “just get on with it” button. I know how satisfying it feels to figure out a solution to a puzzle (believe me, I’ve played The Witness to completion), but I’ve never found myself to be smart enough, or even patient enough to go through many puzzle games, so I’m glad that the developers provide an option for people that would rather explore the area freely without giving themselves a headache. Though I insist on the easiness of the puzzles, there will be moments where, inevitably, you’ll get stuck, which is completely natural, considering how the game’s world and logic probably won’t click with you until after the first half hour. After that small learning curve, everything else should be a breeze to the point where you’ll forget that the hint book even existed, which again, I don’t consider that a bad thing at all.

This game is more about exploring and smelling the cosmic roses as I walk around the absolutely beautiful art gracing my computer screen, clicking on everything like one of those old Humungous games I used to play as a child. Every screen I explored felt like it could be used as computer desktop wallpaper, no matter where I took the screenshot. The game looks so good, that when my father was walking past my desk, he stopped to ask me who was the one that painted all of that, and was surprised to hear that it was a video game.

Samorost 3 Newts

Best Plastic Bottle Cutting Sound Award 2016

In addition to the visual side, the audio department is just as impressive, with many sound effects produced by human mouths, guttural noises and great Foley work, creating a much more unique and whimsical feel to the world, rather than trying to replicate the actual real sounds that space ships or creatures would make. It is a small thing that makes it stand out from other games in the genre. Though I thoroughly enjoy the sound effects, it doesn’t hold a candle to the phenomenal soundtrack.

Most of the songs will be heard through puzzle solving, such as waking up a trio of beat boxing animals that form a full song when the puzzle is complete. There is also a moment where I found a bunch of crickets on a corner, and when I clicked on them, they just squeaked a bit. I didn’t think much of it, until I used my flute to listen through it, and was met with a catchy string section song, which took me by surprise, and left me with a stupid grin on my face for the rest of that play session. I highly recommend you people buy the soundtrack and experience the game with headphones on; you won’t regret it.

Samorost 3 Red Cave

See You, Space Cowboy

As I type this review, I’m having trouble figuring out anything bad to say about the game, other than the fact that it is too short and would love to explore more of what this world has to offer. There may have also been a little too much backtracking for my taste, but it was a minor issue. In any case, even if it is really short and really easy to beat, Samorost 3 was an absolute joy to play. It’s simplicity, along with it’s beautiful art style, stellar soundtrack and whimsical charm to the surroundings, strikes all of the right chords with me and would happily give anything to experience all of it again for the first time. Considering these are the same people that made Machinarium, I’m not surprised that this game came out the way it did. Go buy it.

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