Year: 2012
Platform: Windows/Macintosh/Linux
Developer: Amanita
Genre: Puzzle
Review Date: 5/12/12
Rating: ***

A delightful point-and-click adventure from the same team that brought us "Machinarium" (2009). A group of forest critters band together to save their tree from being devoured by nasty spider-like parasites. As a game, it's basically a collection of fetch quests and "click on everything until something happens" puzzles, which become increasingly tiresome as the game wears on. Where it excels is in its presentation and characterization. The hand drawn characters are simply charming and everything plays out like a Terry Gilliam cut-out animation from "Monty Python's Flying Circus." The sound effects are fabulous and bring the characters to life with a sense of innocence and wonder. The environment feels tactile and alive, and just moving your mouse has an effect on the flora and fauna of the tree. Players are encouraged to click on everything, and then click again to see how the inhabitants of the tree react to your presence.

The art direction becomes increasingly surreal and menacing as the game progresses, and the puzzles become trickier. While there's nothing particularly difficult about the game, I did find myself completely stuck on one puzzle for a couple of hours, which can be pretty aggravating. Sadly, the game starts to lose its charm about two thirds of the way through, as the puzzles become more involved and the labyrinthine root system of the tree becomes annoying to navigate. Still, you want to see it through to the end, if for nothing else to hear the enthusiastic celebratory sounds of the protagonists.