While searching for her kids, can Bilby's puzzles make this game as fun as it is beautiful?
The Environment is fairly static, conveying a semi-lifeless and disengaging feel. The game's Sound design also leaves a lot to be desired. While the music is nice, the voice acting is inconsistent and narrative repeats if you have to replay one of the Puzzles.
While the game does have a few drawbacks, they are easily overcome. The poor voice acting does not negatively impact the enjoyment of the game and can be turned off if it becomes too much.
Where To Get It
The most important consideration for the Value of a videogame is whether or not it is fun, and Macrotis: A Mother's Journey is definitely fun. The second most important consideration is price. At only $9.99 for the game, it is a decent price. However, the game is a little short for the $9.99 price point, and the voice acting does occasionally make you want to walk away. This does not mean that the game is not worth purchasing, especially if you can get it on sale (which we have seen during the timeframe of this review).
The Puzzles in Macrotis: A Mother's Journey are both challenging and fun. The puzzles work similar to most platform puzzle games, in that they get progressively more difficult as the game advances. The early challenges are intended to teach the player about the mechanics of the game, including jumping, climbing, floating, etc. Later in the game, the puzzles begin to combine these factors into a more complex solution. Some of the early puzzles can be repetitious, while some of the later puzzles can be tedious. Overall, however, the puzzles themselves are a lot of fun.
The Story of Macrotis: A Mother's Journey is both heartbreaking and beautiful. The game revolves around a mother bilby, appropriately named Bilby, who has lost her children due to a flood. Your goal, as the mother, is to search for your children and rescue them from the flood. While not an in-depth story concept, the story itself drives the Gameplay forward. It also keeps the game engaging. When you're thinking about giving up because the Puzzles get more difficult, the story and the goal help to provide inspiration to continue on your journey.
The game is a pretty straightforward puzzle platformer. Think along the lines of Super Mario Bros. 3, where you can go forward and backward, but only to a certain point. Once you complete a particular area, you move on to a new area. Unlike other games in the genre, such as the one mentioned, you never leave the environment to move between areas or levels. Instead, the game is more of an ever scrolling design, meaning the next area is directly connected to your current location.
To move throughout the game, Bilby must complete ever increasingly difficult Puzzles. As Bilby gets farther from her home, she encounters new items that make the individual Puzzles more complicated and complex. While the Gameplay is not original, it is implemented very well, making the game a lot of fun. When combined with the Story, the more complex puzzles, and even the occasional mundane ones are enjoyable.
As the game is a platformer, there is very little actual User Interface with which to interact. When you first start the game, you get a fairly standard menu, with Continue, New Game, Select Chapter, Options, and Quit Game. Once you get into the game itself, however, there is no non-game interface to speak of. There are no resources. There is no inventory, no skill points. In other words, there is nothing in the game to manage, so there is nothing outside of the game Environment.
While the Graphics of the game are beautiful, the environment itself feels a little lifeless. There's movement, but usually only of the things that you are meant to interact with. The game is meant to take place in a lush and living Environment, but the game does not fully deliver on that premise. It's possible that the game engine might produce the limitation, or it could be an attempt by the game developers to put a greater focus on the active items. Either way, it reduces the authenticity of the world, but not enough that it harms the enjoyability of the overall game.
Macrotis: A Mother's Journey is a 2.5D platformer, meaning that it is played as a standard side-scroller with 3D sprites and Environment. The Graphics of the game are absolutely stunning, as is the art styling. In fact, this is one of the most beautiful indie games I have ever played. Importantly, there is a lot of diversity between the background elements and the interactable elements. This means that it is usually easy to figure out what parts of the game can be used, and what is simply decorative.
The Sound design for Macrotis: A Mother's Journey is unfortunately where the game fails to deliver. The music throughout is fairly average - nothing to get excited about, but nothing that will distract from the Gameplay. The real problem, however, is the voice acting. To move the Story along, you hear Bilby's inner monologue often. However, the voice acting fluctuates from flat to melodramatic, never seeming to land anywhere near natural. It is often so bad that it distracts from the game and its goal. To ensure that the voice acting will eventually enrage you, every time you fail at one of the Puzzles, the inner monologue plays again. The repetition was occasionally annoying enough that I had to walk away from the game for a while.