Welcome plant parents, to Botany Manor, an exploration walking simulator that’s as pretty as a peony.
I can barely contain my excitement for this game as it’s like someone just stepped into my shoes and walked around my home county.
Growing up in the English countryside I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by castles, mansions, and stately homes that have been converted into museums by the National Trust. These historic houses and buildings are steeped in history and their beauty has to be seen to be believed.
Now I won’t lie and say I’m a history boffin at all, but I do find their architecture, portrait paintings, and gardens fascinating.
When I found out about Botany Manor, I couldn’t believe my luck.
Finally! I discovered a game that reminds me of my own experiences as a child.
There were many school trips and days out to these stunning historical beauty spots, our picnic baskets filled with sandwiches wrapped in cling film and mini cakes to snaffle up while we laid out on the lawn.
You simply must go to Blickling Estate if you ever visit Norfolk. I take you on a little tour of the main house actually, in my latest YouTube video where you can also see my gameplay of the Botany Manor demo.
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About Botany Manor
Botany Manor is the 19th Century stately home of Arabella Greene, a retired botanist.
Explore a complete historical English manor with its many rooms, charming hallways, precious plants and sprawling grounds.
Set in the beautiful countryside of Somerset, England, you’ll find yourself stopping to take in all its loveliness – from the sounds of the birds to the sun’s rays through stained glass windows. But don’t forget about your Herbarium!
Preserve your plant specimens as you fill out your journal with each scientific discovery to unearth the mystery of each plant and flower. Your botanical research could help you find the ideal habitat for your collection of rare flora.
Botany Manor Demo Gameplay
The demo begins in the conservatory.
With no true direction, the game lets you explore to better understand how to play.
At first, I felt lost.
I meandered around the smoggy conservatory just picking up and putting down pots. The little white dots that appeared on the screen gave me some clue as to what items I could interact with.
I thought the postcards were a nice way to introduce other characters.
Colleagues, and perhaps friends, who knew Arabella throughout her scientific career and continue to help with her studies in retirement.
Being first-person, I could really feel the solitude in the house. It didn’t feel lonely though, rather it was comforting and altogether peaceful.
The potting station was easy to navigate as I sowed my windmill wort and sprinkled it with water.
But while I was busy finding clues on the botanical posters and interactive items scattered around, I didn’t realize that I was supposed to be adding clues to my Herbarium manually.
I couldn’t understand why nothing was showing until I accidentally clicked on an empty clue and realized I could tick them off, so to speak.
Though the game does progress even if you don’t fill it out. Which I found rather odd.
I would have liked to get some sort of in-game reward notification for ticking off all the clues.
After leaving the conservatory and progressing to Arabella’s house I found the next seed and more clues. This time though it was a bit harder to work out the puzzle.
I kept overlooking one crucial item I needed which wasn’t obvious.
It took me about 15 minutes of walking between rooms before I found it.
A tiny bottle with the ingredients listed that I need to combine.
And just like that, the demo was over.
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Clever Puzzle Mechanics
Finding the ideal habitat for each seed is a clever puzzle mechanic that had me scratching my head but I never got frustrated.
Generally, I’m not a fan of puzzle games because I like to relax and not have to think too hard when playing a game.
For this reason, I love management sims and designing games.
I love being able to get creative.
But Botany Manor was so pretty and incredibly relatable for me that I couldn’t miss it!
I played the demo through to completion in under 90 minutes but I spent probably half of that time just gawking at the views and taking in the peaceful environment.
I truly enjoyed this sneak peek into this exploration puzzle game.
I know this is one game that I’ll be continuing on full release, though that date hasn’t been set in stone yet. I’ll keep you posted.
I can’t wait to discover new seeds for my botanical notes and find their right habitat.
For a game that has been developed by a solo dev – Laure De Mey at Balloon Studios – Botany Manor is a splendor to behold. Its beauty is incomparable. Laure has done a fine job of bringing English history to cozy gamers and giving us a peaceful respite from our hectic lives.
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