MACROTIS: A MOTHER'S JOURNEY
By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on February 20, 2019
Damn, it's hard being a single mom! Okay, okay, you can stop sniggering now. Of course I can't possibly be a single mom. This is mainly due to the fact that I'm a 6' 6" guy without even the vaguest hint of desire to become a parent. But, as it so happens, I did play a game called Macrotis: A Mother's Journey, in which I took the role of a single mom. And not just any kind of mom, no sir! This is the story of a brave little mother Bilby.
Picture this; you're a small furry rodent (a Bilby) and you live, together with your children, in a beautiful forest. For a while, everything is just peachy, but then it starts raining... and raining... and raining. The never-ending downpour causes a flood which threatens to wipe away the entire forest. While the larger animals managed to flee the oncoming flood, mother Bilby and her children are trapped and eventually get washed away. Through a unfortunate coincidence, the mother is separated from her children and is carried underground by the raging waters.
Once she washes up on an underground shore, she's intent on finding her way back to her offspring and keeping them safe. That's a tall order for a small Bilby, wouldn't you agree? Luckily, she has some tricks up her sleeve which help her on her way to the surface. Mother Bilby can jump on or over obstacles, push and pull small rocks, burrow through thin walls of dirt and gnaw through vines that block her way. And if this weren't enough, she also gets a very special power from a friendly wizard: the ability to step out of her body and explore the world as a Bilby spirit.
The fun thing about this spirit form is the fact that it can do exactly the same things your normal body can do... and then some! For instance; while making your way to the surface, you'll come across brittle earth platforms that disintegrate as soon as you jump on them. You can actually walk across them when you're sneaking but, other than that, they'll turn to dust as soon as you look at them too hard. Your spirit form does not have this problem because it has no weight, so you can freely run and jump across brittle platforms.
Naturally, that is not all; while in your spirit form, you can walk through thins walls and doors. And while this is fun as well as really, really useful, there is a catch! You see, when you activate your spirit form, a blue glowing sphere of energy emanates from your body and expands rapidly. Like most spherical things, this energy orb has a boundary. This is as far as you can travel from your body when playing as a spirit. Cross the boundary and your spirit form dissolves, transporting you back to your body. Now usually, this orb is big enough to do whatever it is you need to do but, every time you walk through walls or doors, the orb shrinks, leaving you less and less space to maneuver. So think about where you need to go in correlation to where your body is at that moment.
As you progress through the game, you will receive your abilities one by one (except for running, jumping, pushing and pulling and gnawing. You possess these abilities right from the start). At one point, you even learn how to "conjure up " walls out of dirt and dust. Every new ability that you gain gives you a range of new options, as far as puzzle solving is concerned. Where you first needed a small rock to reach higher areas in the environment, you can now build a wall and use this as a stepping stone. It is really fun to combine all your abilities in order to overcome the challenges you will face in this underground adventure.
Macrotis: A Mother's Journey is a puzzle platformer, developed by Turkish independent developer Proud Dinosaurs. Being a game of the puzzle platform persuasion, you'll be doing a lot of jumping, running and climbing, as well as a lot of old-fashioned brainwork. And don't be fooled by the adorable look of mother Bilby; this is no kids game. You will be thoroughly challenged by some of the more elaborate puzzles you'll come across. So, what kind of puzzles are we talking about here? Well, environmental puzzles, of course. Each "puzzle area" consists of an entrance and an exit, and it your job to guide mother Bilby to said exit in one piece. Among other things, you will be dropping hanging stones to create stepping stones across pools of water that are to wide to jump, or pushing a rock into the right position, so you can reach higher areas.
As far as artwork is concerned, I can only honestly say that Macrotis: A Mother's Journey looks truly beautiful! The level of detail in the environments, as well as the overall design of mother Bilby makes for one hell of a fairytale-looking game, without losing the grim realization that we're dealing with a mother who is lost and desperately wants to get back to her children, who might be in mortal peril for all she knows. The soft lighting of most scenes gives the game a dreamy quality that fits the setting perfectly. The entire experience is also enhanced by a cool soundtrack that, while not being too elaborate, has a huge impact on the game's overall feel. Whenever key points in the story occur, they are illustrated by a series of beautiful drawings (which are also perfectly in sync with the feel of the game), dividing the game into chapters.
All in all, Macrotis: A Mother's Journey is not an overly long game. How long it takes you to finish, mainly depends on your level of skill in the puzzle platform gaming department. It consists of four chapters, each containing its own set of challenging puzzles and cool environments. Notwithstanding its length, it is a game that the developers at Proud Dinosaurs can be truly proud of. Everything about the game just looks, sound and feels right, making it a definite must-play for everyone who loves expertly crafted puzzle-platform games!
MACROTIS: A MOTHER'S JOURNEY
February 8, 2019