One place to start poking is the termites’ nest. You can manipulate them into singing a lovely song in counterpoint. Then a flying termite leader appears and imparts wisdom in a language you (the player at least) can’t understand. Did this progress the plot or provide information for a future puzzle? I have no idea. Later, if you can get four little men to sing, “Blegh blegh blegh, a shzub shzub shzub,” in unison, you get an item you have no idea they had. You also don’t know why you need it or how to use it, but it just works.
If I sound slightly frustrated, I don’t really mean to be. I was entranced by this kind of poke and play approach in previous Samorosts and Botanicula. Some of the puzzles seemed less intuitive this time around and progression more accidental, is all. Doesn’t mean it isn’t absolutely lovely. I’d probably go so far as to say it’s magical. Indeed, I messed with the sonorous antennae on the bug inside the comet that is powered by its own flatulence for a good five minutes before I googled the solution. And, despite how distracting everything is, the story is actually really nice. It opens with the little white-clad gnome living in the observatory, of sorts. He is given what looks like a straight bugle, but sounds like a clarinet, and uses it to listen to hotspots. This triggers increments of story and you can piece together that a metallic hydra is menacing the other tiny worlds nearby. So, you build a spaceship out of a mushroom and the top half of a soft drink bottle, and you’re on your way.
The best puzzles require careful observation and an imaginative approach, like using bats to weight vines so you can cross them. The worst are the ones where you click, hold and drag but eventually
realise you weren’t dragging quite left enough. Or where you suddenly get the key you needed, inexplicably. Almost everything in the world makes noise, though, whether this is organised formally or otherwise, and the entire game feels like a seamless, wonderful, consonant cacophony. So, you see, even describing the game in this review is a joyous experience. Certainly, you will want to listen to, gaze at and touch Samorost 3 everywhere. My favourite puzzle involved feeding a family by organising picture cards into various orders to ensure wild animals would be caught, killed and cooked, mostly because it was probably the most logical moment in the game. But, especially if you’re a messer, you’ll enjoy this and every other little nook and cranny, too.