Over the years we've come to equate Amanita Design with delightfully whimsical feel-good adventures. It's ironic, then, that their cheeriest sounding title yet is poised to be one of the indie Czech developer's darkest in the upcoming Happy Game.
The only happiness to be found here will be your own, as the game's young protagonist is feeling anything but. Players control a little boy who experiences three terrifying nightmares from which you'll need to help him "endure and escape." That will be no easy task, however, as in exploring these three unique worlds of his tortured imagination, he'll need to deal with the likes of "suspicious smiley faces and pink bunnies" that aren't nearly as cute and friendly as they sound.
Despite the darker tone of this self-described "psychedelic horror adventure," in every other way it is still very much classic Amanita. Directed by Jaromír Plachý, whose teams were previously responsible for Botanicula and CHUCHEL, Happy Game is once again filled with bizarre scenery, unusual characters and trippy art, along with "playful tasks and puzzles" to solve along the way. The difference is, here the obstacles promise to be "deeply disturbing" and the environments "(not so) charming" as we've come to expect. Of course, no Amanita game is complete without an immersive soundscape, provided here in the form of "creepy songs and screeches from the Czech freak-folk band DVA."
We don't have that long to wait for this little dose of surreal horror, as Happy Game is due to launch on Steam for Windows and Mac and the Nintendo eShop for Switch sometime next spring.