Botany Manor's lead designer assures players that this cozy game is clear and straightforward, 'there's not too much strain on the player'

A robin standing outside a birdhouse
(Image credit: Whitethorn Games)

I've always thought that the best way to relax is to look after something small, and for me, that would be my plants. It's been over a year since I moved into my flat, and before I even had a sofa, pots and pans, or a bed frame, I made sure to cover every inch of every room with flowers, vines, plants, and herbs. 

But there are only so many spots for flowers in my apartment. So instead of spending time in an allotment garden, I've tried to find a couple of cosy games to fill the plant void, and it looks like Botany Manor will be my next obsession.   

When Laure De May, the founder of Balloon Studios and lead developer on Botany Manor, told us about this cosy puzzle game during an Xbox ID showcase, as well as its focus on not stressing out its players, I breathed a sigh of relief. I love solving puzzles as much as the next person, but not if they deal me psychic damage. 

"We have put a lot of thought into this game because it has a very nice peaceful setting," May explains. "We didn't want the puzzles to be too challenging, but obviously also not too simple. I guess the challenge in this game comes from, how many clues there are to find, how many steps there are, how many things to keep in mind, and also how far things are spread out." 

Rest assured, you'll be able to discover everything inside Botany Manor at whatever pace suits you. Quests have no time limit, and there are no tricky interactions that involve holding buttons for too long. You don't even need to have a knowledge of plants to play this game and complete Arabella Green's botanical research book. "Everything is very clear. So, there's not too much strain on the player," May tells us. 

During a short clip, we got to see what a typical session in Botany Manor would look like. In trying to grow a flower called Pixie Tears, Laure took us into an apple orchard to try to find some clues that would help the plant grow. There are tiny specimen slides with sketches of chloroplasts as well as an apple-pressing machine that is used to make apple juice or cider. 

After reading that Pixie Tears obtain energy by absorbing sugars through their roots—you learn something new every day—Laure explains how, by pressing the right kind of apples, we can grow the Pixie Tears and complete the puzzle. 

I can't wait to explore Botany Manor in all its vibrant beauty and slowly fill up the botanical research book. While the plants I find in this cosy game won't replace my love for the real ones I keep in my flat, I'm looking forward to learning about new species and new ways to care for the ones I keep.