This island begs to be explored, and the game wants you to do that, thankfully. As you do, you’ll meet the fantastical creatures that inhabit the island, which include Ara the forgetful owl and the sneaky Satyr. You can also obtain a butterfly net and chase butterflies and fireflies around in attempts to catch them.
Not all of the creatures are friendly, and some must be avoided. It’s one of the few dangers present in the game, along with bad weather, which will spoil your gardening efforts if you don’t take the right precautions.
That leads us on to the nature of Daina, who is a Herbarium, as the title reveals. She’s at one with nature and growing plants, nurturing them. This is the core of the game, and it’s a decidedly relaxing action. So when you’re exploring the island, you’ll also want to be looking out for things that will help towards your own garden. However, you might become sidetracked by the game’s ultimate pursuit, and that is uncovering the mystery of the island.
Apparently, it seems that someone existed on the island before your grandfather, who discovered it deserted, and so it’s traces of them that you seek. The developers offer a question that hints towards the direction the game’s narrative may go: “How far will you go to save Daina and her people?”
I’m already dreaming of existing in this game world, if only virtually, due to the beauty that’s on display. It feels very natural in how gorgeous it all looks, as opposed to the bright and exaggerated forms of exotic environments often present in games; it blends in with itself well so that nothing in particular stands out in order for it all to be enjoyed at once.
What makes you appreciate the artwork even more is knowing that every texture in the game was hand-painted with watercolors before being implemented into the game itself, hence why it’s so compelling to look at.
I haven’t just come across Daina: The Herbarium; in fact, I’ve been keeping an eye on it for over a year, and recently, there has been no new activity surrounding it, which had me fearing for its final release.
However, just the other day, it was put on Steam Greenlight, which makes it clear that it’s still on the way. So go up-vote it and watch the gameplay below, but bear in mind this is from the beginning of 2012.