Maybe you haven’t heard of Samorost 3. It’s a very lovely adventure game by Amanita Design that also happens to be wickedly hard. The only way I can think to try to get you to play it for yourself is to spoil one of its best puzzles. Don’t worry; it’s only the first part.
The folks who made Samorost 3 previously released Machinarium and Botanicula into the world. Amanita Design’s new game is a wonder to behold, a quirky storybook come to life and filled with gently feverish imaginings. Like the best adventure games, Samorost 3 envelops players in a kind of dream logic and asks them to intuit relationships between things that don’t go together in the real world (if they even exist at all).
Like the previous games in the series, players control a little cosmic gnome, using a magic horn to listen and play the sounds of the world that surrounds him. He’s trying to build a spaceship out of odd, disparate parts. At the start of the video above, he needs to get a knife from the floppy-hatted gardener who’s harvesting mushrooms. To do that, Gnome needs to figure out the card game that the gardener lays out before him. It looks simple enough, but of course it’s not.
In terms of rules, this puzzle is a lot simpler than the others I’ve encountered so far in Samorost 3, in that it’s obviously a challenge of sequencing. But, as I swapped them out, I felt a genuine sense of wonder watching the stick figures on the cards come to life and change their actions and interactions with each other. I almost didn’t want to win because I enjoyed the little moments of surprise storytelling so much. Samorost 3 is out now for PC and Mac.