Botany Manor Review – A Relaxing Victorian Jaunt

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Botany Manor Review – A Relaxing Victorian Jaunt

Botany Manor brings cozy plant-growing puzzle gameplay to Victorian England, here's our Botany Manor Review.

Picture the scene, it's Victorian England, and you've just been left a Manor. It's probably not a huge leap for many of us, so it's a logical setting for a puzzle game. In a gaming space full of shooters, RPGs, live service titles and everything else, nothing quite beats sitting down to a simple Puzzle title.

In Botany Manor, you play as Arabella Greene who has just returned home after some time away. The goal of the game is to fill an empty book with Arabella’s botanical research to prove that a woman in the 1800s also can become a professor in botany. To do this, you must solve different puzzles to find out what conditions make certain flowers bloom and record the results. 

Game Reviewed on Switch

Make Them Grow

Botany Manor Screenshot 9 2

The game begins and you are quickly introduced to a large manor with a sprawling garden, but it is still mostly locked down since you’ve been away. There are signs of other people being around, but you are left alone to focus on your research. It is obvious early on that this is a game that doesn’t want to be rushed, but rather wants to be slowly enjoyed with plenty of spots for you to sit down and listen to nature. The ambient sound is relaxing and the environment is well-designed and looks alive. 

You start with a packet of seeds, a pot, potting soil, and a watering can. You combine these, but there is still something missing. You search the room and find clues that together show what conditions you need to create in order to make the flower bloom – some need heat, some need light and some need special fertilizer. 

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All clues you find are recorded automatically in your guidebook, “Forgotten Flora”, which also contains a map, the current puzzle you’re trying to solve, and the locations of the relevant clues you have yet to find. However, not all clues are for the flowers – some are for the world around you, so that you can unlock the next area.

The Clues in the Design

Botany Manor
When you're pressed for time, Vicotrian engineering saves the day

Botany Manor rewards you for exploration; there is a lot of stories to be found in the form of notes and letters left behind all around the manor. Clues you find early on, but don’t use are automatically added to the correct chapter, ready for when you get there later in the game.

I would have loved to be able to pin certain clues in their entirety to the book instead of having to return down the stairs and across the hall to reread the details on a chart, but at least the book tells you in what type of clue it was and in what room you found it. It's a minor gameplay gripe, and, if we're being cynical we'd say it's a way to pad out the game's length.

As we said earlier, Botony Manor isn't a long game, which isn't a problem, we certainly don't need every new game demanding 20+ hours of our time. We clocked in around 4 hours on our review playthrough, with only minor slowdowns for puzzle solving.

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Botany Manor
A job well done

All About the Motion

I don’t usually get motion sickness when playing first-person games, but in this one, I struggled even with the multiple options in the special menu option to reduce it. The game has a number of settings specifically for this issue, however, nothing was able to shake the problem. We reviewed the game on the Switch, and my only thought left is that the slightly sluggish frame rate (even when docked) could be the issue.

Botany Manor Review – 8.5/10

A wonderful game with good variety in the puzzles, that still keeps things new and exciting with each chapter. The setting, and the game's theme are on point, and the Manor itself is a beautiful rendition of a period Manor. We enjoyed our time in the Manor a great deal, and it left us wanting more, for better or worse. If you need a game to switch off your brain for a few hours in the evening, Botany Manor will be right up your street. 

However, the motion sickness has impacted the score, simply because it spoiled the experience for me. For clarity, I asked my partner to play a small sample of the game, and they had no issues with it. So your millage may vary, but be aware when going into the game.

For more reviews like our Botany Manor Review, check out our reviews section. 

Botany Manor Review – A Relaxing Victorian Jaunt
David Hollingsworth
David has written for games media outlets for the last ten years. With his first major esports role being with Esports News UK covering mostly UK League of Legends. David is also a member of the British Esports Association and is an advisor to them on World of Warcraft Esports. More recently David has worked for Esports Insider and Red Bull as an esports journalist. David later became Editor at ESTNN and now leads the current team.