Botany Manor - Switch Review

"Botany Manor is a good game… taken in small bites."

Botany Manor - Switch Review
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Do you like gardening? How about puzzle games? If you’re like me and answered yes to those questions, then boy, do I have a game for you. The debut title from the small team of developers of UK based Balloon Studios, Botany Manor, is just that: a first-person puzzle game where you figure out how to make strange plants grow.

Set in 1890 England, you play as Arabella Greene, a retired botanist trying to finish her research on ‘Forgotten Flora’. In order to accomplish this, you will explore your 19th century Victorian English manor and its grounds, finding clues in the form of letters, books, posters, photographs, and so on. Through these clues, you will learn how to grow these strange rare plants, contributing to your pokédex of plants (Forgotten Flora).

The Good

Chock full of vibrant colours, atmospheric music, and beautifully historic scenery, Botany Manor will be a memorable one. Whether inside or out of the manor, there are flowers and greenery everywhere. The vibrant, stylistic, three dimensional art, the smooth camera movements, and the atmospheric music really beg the question of how in the world a team as small as Balloon Studios managed to make this game. I love when games encourage the players to sit down and smell the roses. There are countless spots in the game where you are able to interact with a chair or couch to simply take in the relaxing atmosphere.

If you want a game to hold your hand and tell you exactly what to do, Botany Manor will not. The moment you hit ‘new game', you are thrown into the game with no explanation. However, chapter one is the tutorial and it essentially explains that you have to find clues in order to figure out the conditions required for each plant to grow. I really enjoyed that you actually had to search the environment for clues instead of being spoon fed the answer after two minutes of fruitless investigation. Even though sometimes I found myself stuck and irritated, the moment I was able to put all the pieces together, it was all the more rewarding.


  • Vibrant, colourful, stylistic visuals
  • Atmospheric music
  • Relaxing
  • Challenging

The Bad

Overall, I would say that Botany Manor is a fun, challenging yet enjoyable game. However, there are times when that challenge can be a little too challenging. Since a huge part of the game is hunting for clues around the manor, it can be a bit confusing or  you could get stuck if you don’t manage to find one of the bigger clues right away. Especially if you aren’t playing for a long time in one sitting. 

Which brings up my next point: this game can be nauseating. I couldn’t play for more than about 25 minutes at a time because I kept getting infuriatingly nauseous from motion sickness. In the settings menu, there is a dedicated section of options to help alleviate motion sickness for players. Even having changed all the settings to the recommended ones, I would be pressed to say that the motion sickness was actually worse for me afterwards. So if you get motion sickness from playing first person games, there’s no easy way to say this. Either only play in small increments, or sit this one out.

Lastly, and probably the biggest issue I have with Botany Manor, is that it can be downright confusing most of the time due to the lack of quality of life features. The main menu for navigating the game is your book of ‘Forgotten Flora’. There is a shortcut button to get to the index, which is where you can skip to the different chapters or the  maps of the different floors of your estate.

I was constantly wishing that there was either a minimap in the actual gameplay, like most exploration based games, or even a shortcut that opened the map page in the book, like other adventure games. Countless times I caught myself getting upset that I had no idea where I was, opening the book, and frantically flipping through the pages to figure out my location. And even when you manage to get to the map, you have to use context clues to understand where you are, because there is no ‘you are here’ indicator. The reason why this is such a big issue is that if you need to revisit a clue because you forgot what it said exactly, you have to go back to its location in the manor and read it again. There is no page in the journal menu where you can reread clues (that I could find), only a location next to the clue name. It's frustrating, to say the least, to have to not only go find the clues again, but also find where you are on the map as well.


  • Caused horrible motion sickness 
  • Lack of quality of life features
  • Can be too challenging at times

Final Score: 6/10

Since I had a hard time battling motion sickness while playing this game, I could only really play in short intervals. And even though I really enjoyed the atmosphere, the gameplay, and the game in general, not being able to play it for longer than 25 minutes at a time really put a damper on my enjoyment as a player. I really hope that there can be changes made to be less nauseating, and more intuitive (e.g. shortcuts to map with a player marker). Overall, I would say that Botany Manor is a good game… taken in small bites.

Thank you for checking out our Botany Manor Switch review, thank you to Whitethorn Games for providing the review code and thank you to our Patreon Backers for their ongoing support: