Have you ever talked to plants? Although it may seem strange to some, the linguistic exchange with plants is considered “to make them grow faster” for some, while others have even turned it into a whole science. No matter how you feel about it, it certainly cannot be ruled out that speaking with plants is fun, which in itself has a therapeutic effect. Hazel the Plant Witch picks up on this principle and uses the dialogue with the plant world to create a gameplay mechanic out of it and tells a wholesome story.
Hazel the Plant Witch is a short narrative adventure in which we slip into the role of the eponymous Hazel and take care of the needs and worries of our plant friends. At the moment, Hazel is most concerned about Rose, who wants to leave the village. If only we could understand her better … Fortunately, we have a device that helps us translate the language of the plants into ours. With the help of a recording function, we record individual statements, which we then play back to other plants in order to gain information and advance the story.
The great thing about this game is its focus on one gameplay mechanic (record and replay) and the entertaining conversations with the inhabitants of the game’s small world. This quickly creates a homely feeling and sparks joy when you finally put together the right language segments to solve the “riddles”. The only downer is the very short playing time of only 30 minutes because we would have liked to have spent more time with our plant friends. Fortunately, after the end of the game, you can try to unlock all dialogues in the game and literally watch the “Dye Log Tree” grow. That is quite challenging, we only found 50% of the texts in the first attempt.
Hazel the Plant Witch is a unique game that can also completely convince audio-visually and rightly won first prize at the GM48 Game Jam. Communication is the central game element and is embedded in a story that focuses on understanding and community. We can’t get enough of that, especially in the year 2020. A great debut of the Mini Bunnies, whose team members come from Singapore, Canada, and Iceland (!), and Victoria Caña, co-founder of Cat Quartet Games.
We are also excited about Mini Bunnies’ next project, a musical Metroidvania with Peranakan influences called After School Afterlife.
Until then, we would like to encourage you not only to talk to your plants but also to listen – they might have something important to say. Immediately afterward, you can download and play Hazel the Plant Witch for free on PC over at itch.io.