1. Samorost 2




    Genre:   Adventure Online Flash game

    Developer & Publisher:    Jakub Dvorsky

    Released:  2005







  6. by Becky


    Remember The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry -- the story of a boy who lives on Asteroid B-612 with a flower, a sprinkling can and a glass globe?  The prince now has a new neighbor.

    Samorost 2 follows the adventures of another little fellow – this time a gnome, wearing white pajamas and a nightcap.  The gnome lives on an asteroid with a misty green lawn, a medieval style stone tower and fruit trees.  Oh, and he owns a dog.

    One day, blue creatures from a neighboring asteroid show up in a space ship.  They harvest the gnome’s fruit (without asking permission).  Then, as a bonus acquisition, they steal his dog too.

    Samorost 2 is a sequel to the original Samorost, an online Flash game created by Jakub Dvorsky.  Hosted on a server sponsored by friends of the developer, Samorost was downloaded by so many people that the server crashed.  By now the original game has been downloaded millions of times and has achieved cult status.   

    On the Turnip Asteroid

    The world of Samorost 2, like that of the original Samorost, has a curious innocence about it.  Much of what you see is little – baby creatures with their mothers, small rodents, tiny larvae, miniature butterflies.   There are unusual shapes – an asteroid that’s shaped like a hedgehog, another that’s shaped like a vegetable, a vehicle that’s shaped like a bird.  The hotspots in the world are also small, and you will find yourself searching scenes full of enchanting detail in order to find something with which to interact.  At times, the game draws upon the classics of children’s literature.  One segment harkens back to Alice’s Adventures  in Wonderland, others recall the dreamlike fabrications in bedtime stories, or the odd creatures found in books by Dr. Seuss.

    The environments are realistically rendered and softly lit, with touches of Asian influence.  Exteriors feature bizarre flora with pods or delicate seeds on tall stalks.  Interiors are often underground with walls of drift wood, earth, or tarnished metal -- each room isolated in a solid black surround. The characters are flat looking and stand out in contrast to the textured and detailed environments.  These characters -- whether alien, human, creature or gnome -- have individualistic ways of walking and gesturing that give them unique personalities.  Each scene in the game contains movement, and the creatures, gadgets, plants and insects are beautifully animated.

    The music is rhythmic, with lots of percussion.  The ambient sounds in each world add to the rhythm, so much so that at times they are an integral part of the percussive layer.  Other instruments add atmosphere – sometimes the effect is creepy, sometimes upbeat, and sometimes the beat slows and the musical effect is more languorous.

    Actions Speak Louder Than Words

    The story in this game is told through events, not through journals or conversations – in fact, there is no recognizable language at all, except for the word “hey.”  If you are looking for character motivation, complex plot twists or fiendish puzzles, this is definitely not the game for you.   The game doesn’t attempt to immerse you, or stump you or frustrate you.  It asks you to look closely, listen closely, and to be open to an experience of surprising charm.

    In each location, certain things are moving.  It’s like an interactive clock mechanism, except that the moving parts are not always mechanical.  Much is hidden.  Clicking on the right spot at the right time causes a change or uncovers something, creating a Rube Goldberg-like effect, resulting in further changes.  Often the results are droll and unexpected.  Although getting the “mechanism” to work involves precise timing, these challenges are not difficult – you observe what’s happening, then click at the right moment.  If you fail, you wait for the right moment and try again.

    Code: BUD**R (The Sausage Level)

    Samorost 2 has a point-and-click interface and uses third person perspective.   It does not contain an inventory, though you can pick up one item at a time to use with things in the game world.  There isn’t a save system.  Each level has a code, which appears for the first 30 seconds or so when you enter a new place.  If you manage to write the code down, you can then return to the beginning of the level whenever you wish.  I thought this unusual save system was an annoyance, particularly when I missed a couple of opening animations while I was busy scribbling down the code word for that level.  There is one potential dead end, but once you realize the progress is impossible, you simply reload the level.

    The game was stable and very short.  It’s the only game that I have completed in a single afternoon.

    The game is downloadable from the Samorost 2 site for 6.90 USD. 

    Quick List for Samorost 2

    Alien creatures, a gnome and a dog.  Oddly compelling graphics, exuding a childlike innocence.  Music is quirky and imaginative, with ambient sounds often aiding the mix.    No dialog.  No reading.  You cannot die, nor does anything else.

    Third person perspective, point-and-click interface.  No sliding tile puzzles, no mazes, no challenges that require color discrimination.  Simple item-use puzzles and timed puzzles.  The timed puzzles are forgiving.  Hotspots can be difficult to locate.

    A strange coded save system.  The game was stable; no problems with installation.  The game is very short.

    Can be downloaded from the Samorost 2 site.

    Samorost 2 is aimed at lovers of the imagination and the young at heart. 


    Final Grade:

    As an adventure game:  B

    As an interactive story:  A  


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