I can understand if you're confused for a moment, wondering if you've forgotten or overlooked the previous Samorost games on the App Store. And perhaps that confusion is expected, when those games are over a decade old. Samorost 1 and 2 were released in 2003 and 2005 as Flash games; Samorost 3 is the first in the series to come to IOS.
But even if you're not familiar with those games, you just might have heard of Machinarium and Botanicula. Developer Amanita Design has always delivered finely-crafted adventures that as much artistic showcases as they are enjoyable point-and-click games, and this latest release Samorost 3, six years in the making, is no exception
A living galaxy
Every Samorost game follows the spacefaring adventures of its nightcap-wearing gnome protagonist, and this third entry is the most expansive one yet, featuring nine diverse planets, ancient mechanical beasts, and a magical flute.
Awakening from his rusted comfortable abode by the flute falling from the heavens, Gnome soon finds himself on a journey across the stars to reunite the instrument with its creators and stop a planet-destroying menace. But that overarching story is almost secondary to the moment-to-moment experience of Samorost 3.
Those moments are spent exploring planets that look more like organic detritus adrift in the void, gnarled islands of twisting roots and fungal growths. But once you leave your ramshackle ship behind, you realize that they are full of life, from the odd inhabitants that have carved out their homes in these otherworldly places to the fauna that rustle through the undergrowth.
Discovering the places and people of gorgeous organic worlds is what imbues Samorost 3 with such charm and wonder.
Watch and learn
Those interactions are what constitutes the puzzles you'll find throughout Samorost 3. Much like Amanita Design's previous game Botanicula, many puzzles are more about learning how the different elements of a planet intermingle and interact. How to manipulate hanging roots to cross a gap or how to get a hulking creature to move out of the way of an opening.
This focus on uncovering how to interact with the world means these puzzles can seem cryptic and less logical than the challenges of other adventure games. But that is by design, a means to foster discovery and to encourage you to play with the world. There is no text or dialogue in Samorost 3; to solve these puzzles, you need to learn the rules of each planet, observing what plants and animals and people do when clicked, gaining the knowledge and items needed to solve puzzles.Samorost 3 will last you around five hours, each one filled with wonderful art, odd people and places, and playful puzzles across space. Amanita Design described this as their ambitious project, and it shows in every new area and animation of this beautiful adventure.