Botanicula

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Botanicula Game Poster Image
Beautiful, imaginative adventure is a treat for eyes, ears.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about ecosystems and the environment and practice their puzzle-solving and reasoning skills in this fantastical point-and-click adventure game. Players will need to put their thinking caps on as they experiment with the game world, analyze what they see, and then use that information to solve context-driven puzzles. Observant kids may also begin to recognize relationships between the tree and its creatures, how they form a symbiotic system, and how parasites can harm this system. Botanicula's simulated tree world is fantastical, but its concepts about ecosystems transfer easily to the real world.

Positive Messages

This game is about exploration. It rewards players who observe what's going on around them and use logic to solve puzzles. It also has subtle themes of environmentalism and conservation, thanks to a quintet of botanical heroes who work to save a tree and help their co-inhabitants.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The game's heroes use their inherent, non-violent abilities to solve problems. They employ prudence when confronted with dangerous creatures, and often run away when they feel threatened. They help their fellow creatures when they can, usually to curry favors.    

Ease of Play

Things start out easily enough, with players simply clicking on interesting-looking objects to make things happen and advance the story. However, the navigation becomes trickier once players enter larger areas, and the solutions to some puzzles aren't always evident, forcing some difficult trial-and-error play.

Violence

A bit of mild scariness comes in the form of menacing creatures that chase well-meaning plants/bugs. Innocent animals are occasionally poked and prodded by these creatures, and sometimes fed to other creatures as you participate in a living ecosystem. One short sequence shows a puppet show where a puppet chops off the head of a dragon, and the dragon's stump bleeds onto the stage. The same puppet show has puppet versions of the five heroes pulling off legs of a bad spider who then bleeds on the stage. The real heroes of the game cower nearby in fear. Near the end of the game, players shoot a menacing monsters until it's dead.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One scene shows the game's little creatures drinking a strange liquid and having mild hallucinations.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Botanicula is a point-and-click adventure game starring plant-like creatures who live on a giant tree. It contains subtle themes of environmentalism, but is primarily a game of exploration, discovery, and imagination, thanks to its beautiful and unique world and characters. There's a bit of scariness in the form of shadowy monsters that try to attack the game's protagonists. One scene near the end of the game has one of the player's bug-like heroes charging himself up before "shooting" an enemy. Within a short puppet show, a dragon is decapitated and bleeds onto the stage. Given that this is an indie game that is distributed via download, this game has not yet rated by the ESRB. Common Sense Media recommends it for ages ten and up.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byCody E. October 3, 2016

Using Botanicula as a Teaching Tool

Botanicula offers a way to teach children 10 and older in explaining ecosystems, symbiotic relations, and the dangers of parasites. Botanicula is an engaging Po... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written bybookia12 May 1, 2012

positive

i think its good

What's it about?

BOTANICULA is a point-and-click adventure game that puts players in control of a quintet of tiny beings that are a cross between insect and plant. Its wordless story -- everything is presented through images -- begins with one of these creatures encountering a spider-like monster intent on gobbling up the big, beautiful tree. Then begins an adventure in which the five friends journey up and down the tree, foiling its parasitic invaders and helping their fellow arboreal creatures. Players spend their time observing the environment, looking for interesting and suspicious things to click on as they travel from one screen to the next. They'll encounter plenty of puzzles along the way that require either an eye capable of detecting subtle patterns in their surroundings or patience for the trial-and-error process. The adventure lasts around six or seven hours.

Is it any good?

Botanicula is an extravagance of imagination. The veins of the great, strange tree throb with life, and the animals that crawl over its branches are almost alien in their bizarreness and variety. Many would border on creepy if not for their adorable, babbling voices and human-like needs, desires, and emotions. The ecosystem formed between plants and creatures is wonderful to witness. Many of the tree's curiosities have little to do with the game's primary objectives, existing instead simply to delight the player and provide an opportunity to collect "creature cards."   

Sadly, some of the magic may be lost should players have trouble finding their way through the game's expanding maze of non-linear location tiles. Plus, while many puzzles are elegant and require some satisfying reasoning, some will likely force players into a series of random, trial-and-error clicks as they search for a solution. Others require players to retrace their steps through vast maze-like environments. Still, the unique world of Botanicula is a pleasure to discover, and one most players won't soon forget.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence that shows up in the puppet show. Why would the game developers put a bloody scene into this otherwise peaceful game?

  • Families can also discuss puzzle solving. What do you think of puzzles that can only be solved via trial and error? How about puzzles that demand logic and reasoning?

  • Botanicula shows n fantasy ecosystem in a tree. Families can talk about the environment and real ecosystems formed by trees, forests, and the small animals that inhabit them. What would happen if the food chain were interrupted at the insect level?

Game details

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