Botany Manor - PC Review

Botany Manor by developer Balloon Studios and publisher Whitethorn GamesPC (Steam) review written by Valerie with a copy provided by the publisher. 

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Yay! A puzzle game fell into my lap recently and I'm here to say I did finish to 'The End' and roll credits!

In Botany Manor, you are Arabella Greene of a long line of Greenes and a retired botanist. In this puzzler game you play in first person view. No you don't have an actual hand in view to pick up and inspect items, just the key commands and click of the mouse.

I am impressed by the puzzles which gave me a feel like I was in a derivative of a Myst game (another all time fave series of mine). Even though the puzzles were fast to get through, I still had an enjoyable time reading and learning about the plants in England.

You start the game in the conservatory where you are given a book to record your research. You seek out the seeds, clues, and locations where they are from which gets entered into the book. With that seed you plant it in a pot and figure out how to make it blossom! As you complete the page about that particular plant, you go on to the next one. The book you record your research and clues in is divided into chapters. A great way to introduce more brain teasing puzzles to solve and progress you along. At the very beginning of the book is a maps section which is a big help in solving the puzzles.

The setting of the game is in a Victorian English Manor, quite the sprawling building of rooms with peaceful outdoor areas. The gardens, conservatory and orchard net some nice surprises as you progress through a book that you fill out with your research/clues on the various plants. There are not one, but two ponds here where one is enclosed in cement, while the other is in a natural setting.

Life back in the 1800s was a lot of hard work and peaceful times. Botany Manor brought back memories of my anticipation of receiving a letter in the mail. Something I still experience with a couple of friends who feel the same way. I loved the use of these letters to impart clues and the story of Arabella with her passion for botany. Throughout the game you realize Arabella had the drive and did all that hard work only to hit a barrier that a lot of women faced during that time period.

The music was so relaxing that I must admit to 'resting' and taking in the views a lot. Many screenshots have been taken too! With the music was an abundance of sound from running water to birds singing that brought out some olfactory memories of a manor I had visited years ago, and the smells associated with that time.

I absolutely loved that section with the camera and flash powder! Awesome as that's my trade and I adore any photographic paraphernalia! I remember at a museum here in my town where they had a similar setup and the story of how the flash powder caused the photographer to sneeze and knock his setup over.

I loved the artwork both in the game and of the game design. The artist that I also embody as I paint in watercolor from time to time was a joy to see around the manor. I long for my own painting room, alas, not to be had for a while, but I can dream as I played the game. Throughout the game I experienced that calm that comes with an organized life of a scientist appealed greatly to me throughout my progress through the game.

A few times I went overboard in picking things up and placing them in other spots, but that made me feel right at home! Part of gardening to me is creating an asthetically pleasing and peaceful area to sit and enjoy. One can ponder one's own life and what is to come next.

All in all, if you want to relax and enjoy a few mental challenges for a couple of hours, go get this game. Balloon Studios put out an awesome game and Whitethorn Games gave us all the means to buy a copy to play. My only little wish is that there were more puzzles as I am a puzzle hound! Great story suitable to the times, and the location and scenes were soothing to my ragged and haywire senses the day this dropped in my lap. I forgot all about my problems each time I opened the game to continue on after my regular daily tasks.

Score: 9.5 / 10

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