I must admit that when I sat down to review Samorost 3, I had never heard of the first two games. I decided to do some research to make sure I wasnt going to be missing out on any story line elements that were explained the previous 2 renditions. It turns out that Samorost and Samorost 2 were both tiny flash games, while Samorost 3 is the first full length, full screen adventure in the series. Luckily for me you require no prior knowledge of the previous 2 games to be able to fully enjoy Samorost 3.
Samorost 3 is made by Aminita Design, who are most famous for their other games Machinarium and Botanicula. Simply put, Samorost 3, is absolutely beautiful! It features a unique graphical collage look. The levels are very detailed and so are the characters that you meet along the way. Each scene feels alive and their are hidden extras to be found on every screen. For example on the first screen clicking on the leafs on the trees unlocks an achievement. It is this extra attention to detail that really makes the game stand out and that much more enjoyable. Another thing that really impressed me was that the game contained no graphical settings, but still looks picturesque the whole time.
At the start of the game a horn transcends from the sky. Once the main character picks it up he quickly learns that he can use the horn to listen to specific objects and animals throughout the world. Using the horn let's you learn about a terrible series of events that occurred on the other "floating worlds". Another character has gone rogue and has started to use a three-headed monster to destroy the local beauty and steal the souls of the land.
The main objective of the first world is to try to get off the home land and travel to the other planets to help stop this new found rogue problem. This involves you talking to a character who happens to be a welder. There is no text in the game so all interaction is done through cartoon style thought bubbles using pictures to explain what your next objective is. The welder shows you all the different parts you need to build your spaceship to allow you to leave the home land. All the pieces are obtained by solving different puzzles. They are all different in style, some require you to listen with your horn and then repeat the melody back, thankfully the playing of the horn is automatic and you don't have to remember the notes.
One puzzle that stands out from the rest, a fantastic idea that involves placing a series of eight cards in different orders. The drawings on the cards respond to the order they're placed in. In this puzzle you are trying to hunt four different animals. improvising with the fire, pond, weapons, and creatures is an absolute delight! My only complaint was that this puzzle was used only once and very early in the game. This is a puzzle that I would of really enjoyed playing again later on in the story.
Once you build your spaceship you can travel to the different floating islands. Each new land has numerous things to interact with. New creatures, new sounds, new puzzles, and most importantly new music to hear. The soundtrack is crucial to the way you play, a lot of the puzzles rely on crafting songs by clicking on characters, building harmonies, or hearing music on completion.
While the game has simplistic controls that are inviting and has basically no learning curve, thinking the this would be a simple game to finish would be a huge understatement. There were numerous times when I was absolutely stumped as to how to find an item or how to finish a puzzle. More often then not, it was about returning to areas I was convinced I had already finished, or repeating the same action two or three times despite there being no clear indicator that this was required. Unfortunately other times it was just difficult to find the next corresponding puzzle. Thankfully, Samorost 3 has a built in walk-through. While it does feel cheap to get past a challenge while using the walk through, I have to admit that I had to use it a few times.
Samorost 3 is a beautiful, vibrant, masterpiece of a game! There are many things that stick with you long after you are done enjoying it, especially the absolutely incredible soundtrack. While the game does get difficult at times, that shouldn't hold you back from having a gaming experience that I believe everybody should enjoy!