Samorost 3: It’s “Nothing Short of Wow” | Touch and Go

More than a decade after the series' last installment, fans will be thrilled with Samorost 3.

Fans of the award-winning games Machinarium and Botanicula by Amanita Design will be thrilled to learn that third in the developer’s “Samorost” series is out, featuring the same otherworldly landscapes and quirky creatures.

Samorost 3 from Amanita Design ( iOS, $2.99 , Android, $1.99 ; Gr 4 Up) is nothing short of wow! Released 11 years after Samorost 2, it’s an ode to the adventure games of yesteryear updated with gorgeous, hyper-realistic graphics, rich in texture, detail, and motion, and infused with an otherworldly musical soundscape like no other. In the app’s opening scene, viewers find themselves adrift in deep space on an alien planet dotted with verdant moss-covered hills, a field of flowers swaying in a gentle breeze, and a woodpecker pecking on one of three barren trees sprouting star-shaped blossoms. When a small, golden horn falls from the sky, a dog barks and a miniature gnome in a hooded jumpsuit emerges from a rusty observation tower. He picks up the horn and plays a haunting tune that triggers a demonstration of how to zoom and swipe. No words are spoken, no text instructions given, but it becomes clear that it’s time to explore the surface of this eerily strange planet. All viewers need to do is click the path ahead of the gnome to move him along toward whatever lies ahead.

While viewers won’t be quite sure what anything is or how anything works, at this point curiosity is sure to strike and off they’ll go. In choosing to follow the gnome to the observatory, they’ll find, among other things, a book that hints at the game’s underlying story—on a distant planet four men with musical golden horns have built a Tin Woodman-style robot powered by a magic stone, which the gnome must find in order to help conquer the planet–destroying the evil that’s afoot in the world. As adventurers continue to explore the area outside the observatory, they’ll stumble upon an industrious mechanic who’s hard at work soldering pieces of scrap metal. When another animation of various mechanical parts appears in the sky, gamers will learn that that the mechanic can build the gnome a spaceship if those parts are found.

Once players locate and gather the necessary parts, the mechanic constructs the spaceship out of a giant onion and the gnome is off on a grand journey across the nine planets that comprise the wonderfully surreal universe of Samorost 3. Along the way, they encounter a wild assortment of unusual creatures, such as a mammoth insect with antennae that resonate with ethereal music when plucked, a tea-drinking shaman, totems that smile when they get things right, holes, chutes, underground tunnels and chambers, gnarled roots, stumps, and oversized mushrooms, beaten-up mechanical levers, pipes, pulleys and pumps, and puzzles galore. Organic decay and rebirth are seamlessly interwoven in the various landscapes along with broken pots, discarded bottles and the overgrown debris left behind by long departed inhabitants. When the right combination of moves is enacted to unlock the mystery of a puzzle, everything comes to life in a riot of animated light, color, and sound.

The gnome’s titanic personality is as engaging as his tiny appearance is delightful. He never talks, but often babbles, uttering phrases like “na-na” when players are headed in the wrong direction and “yoo-hoo,” “weee,” or “oo-wow,” when he’s excited. He scratches his head when he’s confused, jumps up and down when he succeeds, and dances when he likes the music he hears. Clearly, some things in the environment exist for pure entertainment, some are collectibles (30 in all), while others serve the purpose of moving the gnome toward his ultimate goal. Built into this delightful app is certain amount of ambiguity and the need to retrace or repeat steps on occasion, but there’s online help if players get really get stuck. A trailer is available. VERDICT For those who love exploring stunning new worlds in search of hidden secrets and solving unusual visual puzzles with a logic all their own (and a minimum of instruction), Samorost 3 is a first-rate choice. Kathleen S. Wilson, New York University, NY, NY

For additional app reviews, visit School Library Journal’s dedicated app webpage .


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