Samorost 2

I must endure the presence of two or three caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies.--the Flower, from Antoine De St. Exupery's The Little Prince

IMAGE(http://www.gamerswithjobs.com/files/images/samorost3.thumbnail.jpg)

As the software behind those punch-the-monkey banner ads and infernal screen-blocking pop-up animations, Macromedia Flash is responsible for some of the Internet's most loathsome innovations. There's another side to Flash, however, exemplified by creations like Samorost 2. Simple, mysterious, witty, and engaging, it's a wonderful example of what's possible when creativity finds an accommodating bit of technology.

As the title implies, Samorost 2 is the recent follow-up to Czech developer Jakub Dvorky's 2003 point-and-click adventure, Samorost. Originally created as a college thesis project, Samorost eventually gained cult status for its clever gameplay and surreal imagery.

Samorost 2, though slightly more sophisticated in gameplay and presentation, generally follows in the footsteps of its predecessor. It features the same diminutive, nameless hero who dwells in, of all places, a spaceborne chunk of weathered wood. At the outset of the game, we're introduced to his dog, who unwittingly initiates a chain of events that involves aliens, interstellar travel, and a daring rescue. To reveal more might ruin the surprise, but by virtue of its status as a browser-based Flash app, Samorost 2 doesn't need much introduction. A simple click on a link to its site, and you can immediately experience the game for yourself.

IMAGE(http://www.gamerswithjobs.com/files/images/samorost4.thumbnail.jpg) IMAGE(http://www.gamerswithjobs.com/files/images/samorost2.thumbnail.jpg)

Samorost 2's design is exceedingly simple, and would be familiar to anyone who's ever played a 2D adventure title. Progressing through each of its levels involves manipulating a series of objects or switches, usually to generate some chain reaction that opens a new door or path. A certain amount of guesswork is required, and at times the experience devolves into pixel hunting. There's no way to die or otherwise fail, so experimentation and random clicking are both encouraged and rewarded.

Though such gameplay mechanics often lead to frustration, Samorost 2 overcomes its simple, trial-and-error design in large part by virtue of its compelling content. The story's quiet hero is immediately likable, and the struggles he encounters are both fascinating and engaging. The tiny universe that Dvorky presents, comprised of hand-drawn images, close-up nature photographs, and cartoonish characters, defies easy description. It is in many respects reminiscent of the world depicted by Antoine De Saint-Exupery in The Little Prince, where the protagonist travels from one strangle little world to another, encountering a series of enigmatically charming characters and creatures. A wonderfully evocative soundscape by composer Thomas Dvorak perfectly compliments the game's quirky visuals.

IMAGE(http://www.gamerswithjobs.com/files/images/samorost5.thumbnail.jpg) IMAGE(http://www.gamerswithjobs.com/files/images/samorost8.thumbnail.jpg)

Samorost 2 is divided into two chapters, the first of which includes four brief levels. Depending upon how quickly you solve its puzzles, Chapter One shouldn't take more than half an hour to complete. It's playable online for free, but the cliffhanger ending may tempt you to shell out $9.90 for the second and final chapter. Chapter Two, available for download after purchase, consists of three additional levels. It's about the same length, and equally weird, though its puzzles are a bit more frustrating.

Samorost 2's gameplay occasionally drags, but it's an undeniably intriguing creation, likely to be overlooked due to its simplicity and status as a "casual" game. Its greatest offering might be the evidence it provides of the artistic fidelity available to developers who don't operate under the constraints of multimillion dollar publishing budgets and the expectations of the gaming public at large. If Flash can encourage this kind of creativity, I suppose I can put up with the occasional punch-the-monkey abomination.

Samorost 2
Official Site
Release Date: December 2005 (Online)
Developer: Amanita Design

Comments

Let us all hope that games such as this will comprise a larger part of gaming's future! Nice review, Fly.

bleh. I lurv atmospheric games, but I hate point and click pixelhuntingfests. Tried to play it, got carried away by the atmosphere until the first time I got stuck. Which was after about 5 minutes. Now I hate it.

Nice review, though

The cool thing about this game is that it goes well when you have 'Gorillaz - Clint Eastwood' playing in the background!

I really enjoyed Samorost and Samorost 2, although I haven't yet ponied up $10 for chapter 2. I will shortly in hopes of encouraging more releases. For those frustrated with pixel-hunting, I believe tab will cycle between hotspots.

Also you can thank Flash for the Grow puzzles.

Awesome! Good writing, quirky new experience, exactly the thing I come to this website for. However, I was outraged that your first link is dead. Fire the editor!

souldaddy wrote:

Awesome! Good writing, quirky new experience, exactly the thing I come to this website for. However, I was outraged that your first link is dead. Fire the editor!

As soon as we locate him, he will be fired. In the meantime, I've fixed the link.

Cool! I can't wait to go play with it! Nice review, good tip, yay you!

Nice Review Fly,I'll be off to play the game now.

It was cool all the way up until I got stuck. And then I just got pissed off because the puzzle made no sense.

All the ones before it were perfectly fine and easy enough to fill out if you just thought about it a little.

This one.. not so much.

Pretty much why I always disliked most adventure games anyway.

*edit*

I did eventually get it, but the solution still made no sense. Also.. when it ends, does it just sort of stop unless you have the full version?

Thin_J wrote:

when it ends, does it just sort of stop unless you have the full version?

There's a clear ending to the first chapter. Parachutes are involved. If you made it that far, you're at the end of the first chapter.

The Fly wrote:
Thin_J wrote:

when it ends, does it just sort of stop unless you have the full version?

There's a clear ending to the first chapter. Parachutes are involved. If you made it that far, you're at the end of the first chapter.

Well, I haven't, but there doesn't seem to be anything to click on in the room I was in

Ah well. It's definitely an inspired little game though. Particularly in the art area. It's very atmospheric and fun to look at.

Samorost 2 -- it means something like "Self-grower 2". Sounds actually like a weed growing simulator!

Funny graphics, sort of Where Wild Things Are meets post-apocalyptic Bozena Nemcova. Boring pixelhunt gameplay, though.

Actually, I didn't pay a full $9.XX...only $6.XX. If you enjoyed the first Samorost and the first half of the second, it's worth it. Also, even though I've played it a number of times, I saved it to my Jump Drive (with "Power to Go") so I can show it to people or play it on any computer when I'm bored.

Probably the enjoyment is in the music and the artwork. I pretty much know how to get through the game quickly but the attractiveness of the game makes it fun to take my time.

Did anyone else recently pick up Samorost 2 from Steam?

http://store.steampowered.com/app/40720/

It's currently on sale!

Done! I never did get the full version so thanks for the news.