Prominently featuring a cross-section of Amanita Design games, as well as several other goodies, the newest Humble Bundle was released on Thursday in order to raise money for the World Land Trust, a British charity organization that helps preserve important natural areas, such as various rain forests and animal corridors.
The games in this Humble Bundle are Botanicula, Machinarium, and Samorost 2, all by Amanita Design. For those who spend more than the average donation, which is $8.75 as of this writing, they will receive Windosill and an animated Czech film called Kooky.
Steam keys for all the games are available for those who spend $5 or more.
Analysis: I’m not sure who their primary demographic is here. With a Humble Bundle headlined by Amanita Design, you’d expect the bundle to be aimed at point-and-click fans who love artsy, minimalist games. The problem, though, is that those people probably already own everything in this bundle.
I mean, let’s take a look at the games here. The headliner this time around is the brand new Amanita Design game Botanicula, which is a very lovely game from the little I’ve played of it thus far. However, it suffers from the problem that I think all Amanita Design games in general suffer from in that it’s pretty alienating and doesn’t resonate well with a large demographic. There are simply too many logic puzzles, some of which are very difficult, for the casual gamer; it’s too minimalist for the typical point-and-click adventurer; and it’s too simplistic for your Professor Layton junkies. You literally have to be buying the game all for the atmosphere and the artsiness alone, and the people who are willing to do that are a very small group indeed.
So you want Botanicula, but what else are you getting? Well, we’ve got Machinarium, a game that I played and loved… back in 2009. Yes, it’s been three years since this game was released, and in the interrim, it’s been included with a previous Humble Bundle and it’s almost always offered in one of Steam’s special $5 Indie mashups during their biannual mega sales. So who’s going to be buying a three-year-old niche indie game that goes on sale and gets included in cheap packages all the time? Not the people who’d be interested in Botanicula‘s new release because they grabbed Machinarium ages ago and have long since stopped having bad dreams about that one mindboggling bomb puzzle.
The next game on the list is Samorost 2, another three-year-old game, but that’s also going to be in the libraries of the folks who would want to get Botanicula already. If for some reason it isn’t, the game only takes about an hour to finish, so it’s not going to be drawing in any major customers anyway.
That’s it. That’s the whole bundle for those who don’t want to go over the average price. That’s pretty weak, isn’t it? You’re buying a bundle for one game. That’s not too good of a deal at all. Still, let’s say that you’re one of the few people who are interested in Amanita Design but who haven’t already gotten all the old games yet, or that you just really care about the environment and want to donate, so you decide to spend over the $8.75 requirement. What else are you going to get?
Well, you’ll be getting Windosill, a two-year-old mini-game that you might already have and that takes about twenty minutes to complete, and a two-year-old children’s film about a teddy bear trying to find his way home. If you haven’t seen the film, it’s got a 73% on Rotten Tomatoes, so if that seems worth it to you, then go for it, I guess. Otherwise, there’s really just not that much enticement to go above the average marker.
All in all, the people to whom this bundle will appeal the most will already own most of the bundle, so it really is just Botanicula that’s selling the bundle. That’s not necessarily the most accessible, friendly game out there to be cast in the role of a headliner. That means that I can’t see this bundle being all that successful, which is a shame because the charity seems like a nice cause.
So what are the figures? Thus far, the Bundle has banked in $307,154. Compare that with the $2.37 million, $902,352, $1.1 million, and $2.1 million raised by bundles with similar donation timeframes, and that total doesn’t seem that impressive. Of course, with thirteen days left to go, there’s certainly time for that total to grow. However, the majority of sales usually happen within the first seventy-two hours, so things might be looking grim for the Humble Bundle this time around.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Amanita Design, I love the Humble Bundles, and I most certainly love protecting rain forests, but this just isn’t the kind of crazy awesome package that people expect from the Humble Bundles. I think a lot of folks are going to walk way from this one disappointed.