Sometimes you happen to stumble upon a something that changes the way you see something. You watch the first Matrix films and get to realise that there are more to blockbusters than big badabooms and huge human-like robots fighting among skyscrapers. You read Paying for It by Chester Brown and realise there are more to the comic books that Batman crushing the skull of a super-villain who is terrorizing Gotham City. You play plachý trpaslík and realise there are more to the video games than the pure entertainment.
plachý trpaslík (shy dwarf in Czech) is a small indie game by Jaromír Plachý, a game designer from the cult Amanita Designs studio.If you're into the indie gaming you surely know who the Amanita guys are: they have brought us such awesome games as Samorost, Machinarium, and Botanicula.
The major idea behind almost everything Amanita has done and will do is 'Screw the gameplay — hail the design!' Indeed, when it comes to the gameplay in their titles, Amanita can scarcely make your eyes starry: their ideas look slightly hackneyed at best.
Nevertheless, the Czech developer has managed to yield an abundant harvest of fans, being a success commercially. And, as I have just mentioned, where they win is their game design. I've never seen any imaginary worlds that bizarre and surreal and at the same time that touching and cosy. This unique feel to the Amanita worlds leaves you no chances to not be infatuated by Josef the Robot from Machinarium or the characters in Botanicula. Eventually, you start re-playing these games not for the sake of the story or another adrenaline injection into your blood vessel, you rather try to have a sublime aesthetic pleasure looking at a new Amanita weird universe unfolding right in front of your eyes.
plachý trpaslík is a perfect illustration for the Amanita game philosophy. It's very short, it's utterly non-sensical, and its weirdly beautiful. Try it. Now. Please.