Samorost 3 for iOS is the latest work from Amanita Studios, whose previous works include Machinarium, Botanicula, and, of course, Samorost 1 and 2 (experience with these prequels not required to enjoy Samorost 3). Before I get started with the review, I'd like to take a moment to remind everybody that Samorost 3 will only run on iPad 3 or newer, iPad Mini 2 or newer, iPhone 5 or newer, and iPod Touch 6 or newer. If you attempt to run the game on an unsupported device you will see a warning screen. If this happens, it would probably be better to request a refund from Apple rather than attempt to run it.
As with Amanita's previous efforts, gameplay revolves around a plucky underdog of a protagonist. In this case, you are a loveable space gnome who travels from world to world (nine in total) in an effort to learn his/her origins. Your primary tool of trade is a magic space flute, which can be used both to listen to things, and to play music. As you make your way through the cosmos, you will meet the oddest of "people," solve puzzles, and explore. This last part is what sets Amanita Design's games apart. The game itself isn't particularly difficult, but that doesn't mean the solutions are obvious. Sometimes you have to experiment, tinker, and play with it a bit to get that breakthrough you've been waiting for. While you're doing this, though, you will inevitably discover strange and sometimes beautiful things that have absolutely nothing to do with your story. Once you find the first one, you will be absolutely obsessed with finding all of them. There is no timer, there is no death. It is a beautiful, surreal, and completely relaxing adventure.
Graphically, Samorost 3 is an eye-feast; Beautiful, fantastical landscapes dotted with post-apocalyptic remnants of the technology of a previous civilization. Pinch-to-zoom is fully supported so you can really get down into the weeds and see what's going on. In fact, the visuals are so good, When I arrive at a new location I usually just spend a few minutes taking it all in. Yep, it's that pretty.
Amanita gets a lot of attention for its graphical style, and rightly so, but the thing that has always stood out for me in their games is the audio; particularly the sound effects. Everything is meticulously sampled; the heavy breathing as your protagonist runs, the sounds his feet make on different terrain, the clicks and whirrs of machinery, etc. Somebody really loves their work.
As an adventure game, Samorost 3 isn't particularly memorable. But Samorost 3 is so much more than an adventure game. Its an immersive gaming experience that feels, at times, more like a toy than a game, and at other times, more like an experience than a toy. I would recommend it to casual and experienced gamers alike as both will be able to appreciate all it has to offer.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 5 - Surreal, fantastical, and acid-drenched are some of the words that come to mind. Sound: - 5 - The sound effects and music are so good, you'll want your headphones every time you launch the game. Controls: - 5 - The touch interface is perfect for a game like this. The mobile version may be the definitive one. Gameplay: - 5 - Adventuring, puzzle-solving, and exploring at their best.
Playing Hints and Tips:
If you're stuck, try doing the same thing more than once. Repetition is a big part of this game, and failing to take that into account may drive you to resort to hints. Try everything, interact with everything. It may not be necessary, but it's what sets Amanita's games apart.