Why I'm Excited About Botany Manor

A few days ago, I played through the half-hour demo of Botany Manor. Ever since then, the experience has refused to leave my mind. It’s not often that I come across a game that arrests my attention, or that offers something that I would consider original. And it’s even more rare that anything is so thoroughly up my alley that I replay a demo just for the sheer joy of it, rather than hunting for something that transfers over to the full game (looking at you, Resident Evil). All that being the case, I want more people to know about Botany Manor. I simply need to share it with people. So, what is it that has captured me so?

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why im excited about botany manor
Why I’m Excited About Botany Manor

The Presentation is Delightful

I’m not going to say that Botany Manor is the first game to offer a bright, slightly exaggerated, cartoon-like art style. No matter how many times I see it, though, it never fails to delight me. And in this case, it serves to draw you into a gentle, relaxing, somewhat melancholic experience. The outside of the manor is verdant and lush, and the indoors are comfortable and homey. The plants you’re supposed to grow are gorgeous, and I found myself being excited to solve the puzzle just to see the flowers bloom. Same goes for the music. It’s calming and sweet, with appropriate swells to give you that little feeling of reward whenever you correctly solve the puzzle. And when you sit down, it becomes wistful and contemplative. And speaking of sitting down…

the presentation is delightful botany manor

I Love the Gameplay

At its heart, Botany Manor is a detective game. You collect clues that tell you what you need to do in order to grow a given plant. Once you find enough clues (ideally, all of them), you can then proceed to solve the puzzle using your environment. That would have been enough to sell me, because I adore detective games (Obra Dinn being one of my all-time). But there’s one mechanic that just clicked with me, hard.

Namely, whenever you come across a chair or a bench, you can interact with it and sit down. What is the point of this? Nothing, as far as the demo goes. You just get to look around, take in the scenery and listen to the music. Now, you tell me how many games you’ve played that invited you to just… take a moment for the sake of it, not because there’s a gameplay incentive to do so? I know it might seem like a pointless addition, but that’s where you’re wrong. It’s integral to the vibe Botany Manor is trying to evoke. Also, it helps you get into the shoes of our protagonist. Speaking off…

i love the gameplay in botany manor

An Unusual Protagonist

By unusual, I don’t mean a quirky weirdo. I mean unusual as in a character that I don’t think has ever been done in video games before, not to my knowledge, at least. In Botany Manor, you play as Arabella Greene, a retired botanist. This is so interesting to me, because how many times do you get to inhabit the shoes of an old lady in a video game without it being played for laughs (which means Watch Dogs Legion doesn’t count). I am beyond bored of the same gruff, super-capable protagonists. So much so that I don’t even notice them anymore. But while Arabella’s age doesn’t affect the gameplay in any way, just the knowledge of it is enough to earn points from me.

botany manor interior

I Want to Know More of the Story

Now, I have only played through the demo, so as far as I know, I’ve only just brushed the edges of the story. But what I have gleaned so far, I really like. Basically, you find postcards, letters and the like from Arabella’s past. You learn about her travels and work as a botanist and the different people she met on her adventures. And that’s it, as far as the demo goes. No rescuing the world from imminent disaster, no huge battles. Just an interesting but still normal human life. How refreshing is that in the world of video games? I love it!

So, yeah those are some of the reasons why I’m excited for Botany Manor. It takes elements that we have seen before, but through a few changes, they mold it into a completely new, unique experience. And that is something to be celebrated. Whenever somebody pushes the limits of a medium in any direction, I’m a happy guy. I can’t wait for the full launch, which will be on April 9th, 2024, on Steam.

Author JoeTheBard profile picture
A language teacher and video game enthusiast turned rogue, Joe is on a quest to become the ultimate gaming journalist. This is somewhat hampered by his belief that the golden age of gaming ended with the PlayStation One, but he doesn't let that stop him. His favorite games include Soul Reaver and Undertale. Other interests are D'n'D, dad rock, complaining about movies, and being the self-appointed office funny man, which nobody else agrees with.