REVIEW: Mutropolis

Mar
04

REVIEW: Mutropolis

An array of interesting characters, some fiendish but entertaining puzzles and a bright and amusing story means Mutropolis should be up the top of your list for fans of the genre.

Released: Steam
Type: Single-player
Genre: Point & Click, Adventure,
Mystery, Futuristic
Developer: Pirita Studio
Publisher: Application Systems
Heidelberg
Release date: 17 Feb,2021

Intro

Application Systems Heidelberg are fast becoming one of my favourite publishers with titles under their belt including Unforeseen Circumstances, LUNA The Shadow Dust and Lamplight.
These are all games I have enjoyed immensely but I would say they have surpassed all previous entries with their new title Mutropolis.

It is crazy to think that this is a debut adventure game from Madrid-based artists Beatriz Gascón and Juan Pablo González, collectively known as Pirita Studio.

They came up with the concept five years ago and at that time they were purely artists without any programming experience. Pablo learnt how to code and Beatriz concentrated on the art work.

Three years into the project they released the Mutropolis ‘Mars Episodes’ on Itch.io, giving fans a taste of what was to come.

It received good feedback and now we are lucky enough to experience the full version, out now on Steam.

Story📕

Ever since the cataclysm, three thousand years ago, Earth has been uninhabitable. The survivors moved to Mars to start a new colony. The year is now 5000 and a small team of archaeologists, geologists and scientists return to Earth to catalogue the mysteries of the lost world.

You play as Henry Dijon, a nerdy ginger archeologist who soon turns detective after his professor is kidnapped by an unknown supernatural assailant.

They soon uncover a conspiracy regarding a lost city called Mutropolis and along with his team of archeologists they search for the professor and the mysterious city.

Gameplay🕹️

There are three acts to Mutropolis. Gameplay will take you anywhere from nine to fifteen hours without guides. It took me eighteen hours to complete to one hundred percent. Act one is short and acts two and three are long.

You control Henry Dijon, a nerdy archaeologist looking for his professor who was kidnapped by an unknown assailant. You are aided by a couple of techno nerds, a hard as nails combat vegetarian and a naïve secretary fresh out of archaeological school. There are plenty of other characters to meet in your adventure. Not so many that they are insignificant, but just enough to feel attached and interested in their plights.

The game follows the usual rules but there isn’t a lot of silly inventory combos like some adventures. You do need to combine items occasionally but it usually feels sensible and logical. The inventory GUI is easy to use. Whenever, I got stuck and thought I had tried everything, the answer was acceptable considering the verbal hints or visual clues around me. It is quite a difficult game however, and some of the solutions are quite intricate and do require you to pay attention to conversations and your surroundings.

Examining and reading everything is quite important even if you don’t think so at the time. The game never swamps you in needless items to examine however. Almost everything has a purpose even if it is only to fill in the back story or provide a subtle clue.

Henry does have a notebook but this is not used regularly and only used to make sketches of archeological finds.

There is fast tracking through doors with a double click. Henry walks very fast anyway and screens are very rarely extended and are easy to traverse.

Unfortunately, there is no option to turn highlighting objects on or off. This did stump me a couple of times with objects that I just didn’t see. An option to highlight meaningful objects would have solved this.

I applaud the developers for introducing a bottomless pit of save slots to use. There is nothing more annoying than a miserly amount. Perfect for achievement hunters to mop up any achievements left over afterwards.

Each location is nicely hand drawn with good use of light and shade.

Graphics 🕹️

There are some beautiful environments with well designed characters and an overall colourful and bold aesthetic. The subtitles were easy to read and can be skipped with the mouse button if required.

The hand drawn artwork is sublime and is easy to appreciate. You can certainly tell that a couple of artists have conceived the ideas.

I particularly liked the characters. Their personalities shine through their appearances from the nerdy and painfully thin ginger nerd to some cameo appearances. They are all excellently drawn and brought to life.

The artwork is often comical but always bold and colourful

Sound🎵

Voice acting was very good and full of emotion and character. A team of professional voice actors were hired and have done a nice job.

Special effects were good and the background tune wasn’t annoying like some games of this genre can be. I think perhaps sound could have been used better to create tension or drama but it doesn’t spoil the experience.

Verdict

I really enjoyed Mutropolis.

It contains some wonderful characters and character development. There are your heroes, your villains, and your classic case of redemption. Each character has a distinctive personality and they’re all nicely animated. It’s easy to like them and care about their predicaments.

The whole experience is very light-hearted and has a rich vein of humour running throughout. I very rarely laugh out loud at point and click adventures (mostly I just tear my hair out) but Mutropolis was genuinely funny and had some original comedy that constantly amused me. The use of comedy surrounding every day objects and scenarios we are familiar with was genius. Comments like “The plastic coating is unmistakable. Nobody knows what they did but they were considered very important.” When looking at a picture of a twenty first century bank note. There are a ton of jokes due to miscomprehensions and they mostly hit the bullseye.

The game is full of silly jokes but the comedy seems mature and never resorts to crudeness.

There aren’t too many items to read or examine particularly but when you do it usually results in a joke or two.

I thought the story was mediocre. It felt over familiar in a lot of places, but the characters, the environments and the puzzles felt original and they alone will drag you through. I was more than happy to spend time in Mutropolis, and spent extra time gaining the achievements.

The puzzles in the main were logical but ever so original. Solving puzzles felt rewarding because they were quite intricate with lots of different parts. I spent a lot of time moving around areas, talking to characters, trying to reveal that extra branch of narrative that would nudge me along. Sometimes, it was because I missed an item, and sometimes it was because I just hadn’t thought it through enough. I had to consult walkthroughs about three times. I was impressed by the puzzles overall. My only criticism is that objects of interest cannot be highlighted using the space bar. Usually that would not bother me but there are a couple of deviously hidden objects that you will need to interact with. The artwork in the game can confuse you and objects that you think are decoration actually play a part in the puzzle.

The game looks gorgeous with a lovely art style. Everything is bold, beautiful and bright. There are quite a few locations to visit and every area feels distinct and varied. The characters are drawn very nicely and ooze personality just from the way they look.

At first, I thought the voice acting sounded a bit odd but I soon warmed to its charms and really enjoyed the different character’s voices. It sounded professional and the ensemble of actors did an excellent job of breathing life into their personalities.

There are some nice achievements to earn which is always welcomed.

Mutropolis is a charming game full of wonderful characters and a healthy dose of laughs.

I would say this is easily one of the best I have played in a long time.

It can be quite difficult in places so I would only recommend to people who have prior experience in this type of game and know what to expect.

Mutropolis exceeds all the requirements needed to shine in this arena and I could happily recommend this at full price.

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