If there's anyone in the land of Casual Gaming that has experienced the work of Amanita Design, and hasn't, in some small way been charmed, I don't think I've met them. Tempting fate as that sentence may be, the worlds of Samorost, Machinarium, and Questionaut were instant-classics of both gamecraft and art and more than worthy of the awards they won, both from us, and others. That said, while I can appreciate that the success of the company means that they can take their time in formulating each new project, I do start going through withdrawal symptoms round about the eighteen month mark. Fortunately, the sleepless nights are over with the release of the distinctly desert-themed Osada. It may be more of an interactive music video webtoy than a game proper, but frankly, I'd be fine watching Amanita Design animate a phone-book.
Taking place in a dreamlike vision of the landscapes of a Central-America that never was, Osada has a distinctively Latin flavor to it. Using the mouse, there is no more goal than clicking the various hot-spots to trigger delightful animations and play captivating music. Some of the scenes might be said to have point-and-click puzzles in a loose sense, but it's obvious that the point is not to challenge. Whether it's the cigarettes of a fireside mariachi band, shadowy wolves howling at the moon, flies swimming around bottles of hooch, desperadoes in a diabolical drinking contest, or gunslingers in a televised ping-pong show-down, Osada makes beautiful music.
As much as I enjoy Osada, I will say that it's more intensely surreal than the fancy of Amanita Design's other works, having a touch more violence and sexuality than what is usually seen from the developer (though the latter is limited to a quick look at a mermaid tattoo). Plus, while I wouldn't personally say its surreality reaches the level of "disturbing", this game has a collection of faces that takes the sunshine deep into the Red Uncanny Valley. However, while kids might want to skip this one, the sound and animation are top-notch, the various fugues you can make are delightful in their polyphony (naturally, the whole game ends up being a round), and altogether it is a worthy addition to the Anamarita canon. Light up the old calumet and give it a try.