diana;;path;;motus;;michael;;hicks;;indie;;platform;;bully Diana "DumeeGamer" Dumee


By Diana "DumeeGamer" Dumee on July 17, 2018

We all love playing games, right? But how cool is it when a game could really make a difference? When, for example, developers create a game that supports a good cause? Michael Hicks wants to spread awareness about, as well as teach both resilience and empathy for and to, people that are being bullied. The Path of Motus is his tool in this noble quest.

Hicks' own experiences inspired his vision for Path of Motus:
"When I was younger, I was interested in what made bullies act so aggressive. As time went on I began to befriend some of them, and learned they had either been bullied themselves earlier in life, had really bad family lives, or were just simply jealous of other people; I kept all of this in mind as I designed the game. As Motus gradually grows from a child to an adult, you'll get to explore the motivations of the characters you meet, and I expect you'll have some surprising moments in the process! I feel the discussion around this topic often ignores the root causes of bullying, so hopefully this game lets us see how our own actions potentially contribute to this issue."

In this side scrolling platform game, you take the role of a young goblin boy named Motus. He's 6 years old and, like most children of that age, has a thousand ideas and big dreams. His dad gave him art supplies, which he uses to bring his ideas to life. Motus lives in a small village near the forest. The forest is a mysterious one, because lots of people have tried to make it through the forest and not one of them found a way out. During the intro, your grandpa will explain this mystery to you and he encourage you to try being the first to actually manage to find a way through the forest. Your grandpa supports you with his words of wisdom: "Lots of things will try to stop you in there, but how you deal with them is totally up to you. If you stay strong, I know you'll go far."

After that it seems that the forest is not the only mystery over here. The brush your dad gave to you is a magical one and you are able to paint objects. This doesn't mean that you simply slap some paint on objects, no sir! This brush uses paint to create objects, how cool is that? By playing connect-the-dots mini game, you can make objects appear, but only if you are successful. The circles that represent the dots each have a number in their center, so the number of lines that lead to that dot, must be equal the number shown in the center of it. So if a dot has the number 5 shown in it, you need to draw five lines which will connect that dot to other dots. And believe me, although you might think that connect the dots is a simple game, this is not the case in Path of Motus. Connecting the dots successfully becomes quite challenging really quick and keeps becoming increasingly more difficult as you progress through the game.

The Path of Motus features controller support, so I'm happily playing with my Xbox controller. The game is about bullying and how words can actually hurt, so during the game, words are used by opponents to literally hurt you. Luckily, you can use words to defend yourself. And these words are pretty powerful; when a character gets hit by a word they will immediately disappear.

Another way to bring bullying to the attention of the player, is by using the journals of different characters in this game. In these passages, the fact that bullying can really hurt someone is clearly shown. But it also shows that a joke can be fun for one person, while at the same time, it can be really hurtful and feel like bullying to another person. There's a thin line between having fun with someone and making fun of someone.

During your adventures you will meet several types of goblins. The different types are recognizable by their color. The purple goblins will not attack you and most of the time they are a victims of the bullies themselves. The pink ones use words to attack you. The orange ones are really popular, so if you successfully defend yourself against them, a never ending stream of allies will try to avenge their friend. So it's best to avoid them. You will also meet characters who become your friend, turning them into playable characters. These characters also let you discover more than one way to defend yourself.

The Path of Motus is a lovely game about a much-discussed sore subject. In creative ways the developer demonstrates how bullying van have a far-reaching impact on people. But above all, the main message is to never let anyone stop you from pursuing your dreams! So find your courage, take your magic brush, connect all the dots, build bridges and make your way out of that mysterious forest!

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Michael Hicks
July 17, 2018