Occult games are pretty common, but ones with puzzle-based gameplay are a bit more rare. Strange Horticulture is just that: a dark and cozy adventure presented as a hypnotizing occult puzzle game. It first launched for PC and Nintendo Switch in 2022, and is now just about ready to launch on Xbox consoles.
This unusual game is about collecting and cataloguing powerful plants; that side of it reminds me a bit of Botany Manor. Players can explore the land, pet the cat (dogs are overrated), speak to a coven, and even join a cult. This helps unravel Undermere’s dark mysterious, all through an ever-growing collection of peculiar plants.
Undermere is a quaint town surrounded by hag-infested forest and rugged mountains. The player takes on the role of the Horticulturalist, the owner of a local plants stored called Strange Horticulture. A cast of colourful character will enter the shop, throwing you into an occult mystery that goes back hundreds of years.
Here’s an older story trailer to get you more acquainted with the game:
You’ll have to explore the lands around the town to find new plants, but be cautious: the dark woods and lakes are not always friendly. You could discover powers beyond your wildest dreams, or lose your mind completely. Use context clues to figure out where to visit and where to avoid. There is an in-game encyclopedia to keep track of the strange plants. Identifying each plant means being able to use their effects to influence the story; there’s everything from hypnotic hallucinogens to powerful poisons.
Developed by Bad Viking and published by Iceberg Interactive, Strange Horticulture will be released for Xbox Series and Xbox One on August 4. As I mentioned, it is also available on PC via Steam and Nintendo Switch.