Samorost 2 is a unique and artistic adventure game gem
There is an argument by some that video games simply cannot be art. I disagree. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I’d like to present exhibit A, Samorost 2, The game, which launched on the PC several years ago and just recently popped up on the Mac App Store, is far too short and it doesn’t break any barriers, but it’s a joy to play all the same. Why should you play Samorost 2? Put simply, because it’s an entertaining, unique experience that you’d be hard-pressed to find in any other game.
Samorost 2 is the sequel to the free-to-play flash game with somewhat of a cult following, Samorost. It’s a point-and-click adventure game developed by Amanita Design, the same company responsible for Machinarium. If you’ve ever played either of Amanita’s other games, you know that while there is very little in the way exposition (if any at all), there is still a story to be found amidst all the pointing and clicking. Samorost 2 is no exception. You play as the same small pajama-clad character from the first game, on a quest to save your stolen dog. Along the way you’ll encounter some very bizarre locales and some even stranger creatures. It’s up to you to navigate these odd locations in order to bring your stolen dog home.
Throughout the game, each location will have obstacles preventing your character from progressing. That’s where the puzzle-solving aspect of the game comes in. The puzzles are clever and interesting and give the player that rewarding “AHA!” feeling once completed. However, at some points they can become too clever for their own good. There were times that I honestly felt completely unsure of what the game “expected” me to do to move on to the next level and with no hint system, the game can get somewhat frustrating. You’ll more than likely find yourself clicking random objects in hopes that interacting with them will yield the solution you’ve been searching for.
Despite the sometimes confusing gameplay, the production values are excellent for an indie studio. The visuals are breathtaking and the music is quirky and fun. I never felt angry about being stuck on a particular level because the world of Samorost 2 feels captivating and intriguing. It’s a world that feels comparable to Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas in its uniqueness. It just feels like an exciting new universe to discover. Which is one of the reasons it was so disappointing to me that the game lasted only about an hour. If you take your time to really enjoy the scenery, the gameplay may be extended to about two hours or so, but by and large, the game just isn’t long enough.
Another disappointing feature to the game is the way it saves progress. Samorost 2 employs an old-school “password” save system, in which the player needs to type in a specific word to continue at a particular level. The word is given after a level is finished and then it’s up to the user to remember it or write it down so it can be recalled again. It’s ludicrous in today’s times to not simply use a modern-day save feature, but it’s only a small gripe that’s easily overlooked. Especially since the game can easily be finished in one sitting.
Earlier I mentioned that Samorost 2 can be thought of as art. Not because it has some deep, metaphorical meaning to its story, but because Amanita Design has created a world that feels so unique and interesting, that it’s like playing a brief nugget of some larger piece of art. It has loads of charm and great production values that will keep gamers intrigued throughout. If you’re willing to overlook the annoying save system and the limited gameplay, you’ll find a gem that’s definitely worth the asking price. Just don’t expect an epic adventure that lasts hours.