Reviews

Mutropolis

I have often wondered what would become of our modern civilization in thousands of years when nothing, but our biggest monuments are left standing. Will we be relegated to the realms of legend? Will we suffer a similar fate as all the other ancient civilizations who lived so long ago and have been all but forgotten? An ancient mystery to be solved? Who knows what the future holds, but it is certainly an interesting conundrum and the newest game published by Application Systems Heidelberg gives us a sample of what could be in wait for us. Mutropolis offers a refreshing take on a post apocalyptic world that does not involve zombies or any ferocious beasts for that matter. Madrid based Pirita Studio’s Mutropolis is a beautiful homage to the golden era of point & click games. This charming sci-fi adventure game with a brilliant story is the first game for these young developers and what a debut!

Earth has been hit by a life-ending natural disaster in the year 2000, humans have had to relocate to Mars to survive. Three thousands years later in the year 5000, an unlikely hero arises. Henry Dijon is an unassuming archaeologist who loves playing detective. Henry is part of Totel’s team. Their team has been granted permission to travel to Earth for an archaeological dig. However, this expedition is everything but normal. Totel’s dreams of finding Mutropolis, the mythical city. Just as they finally find a clue as to its location, something unexpected happened. They were about to examine the mysterious mural that could point them to Mutropolis’ whereabouts, but a group of unknown assailants suddenly appear. The archaeologists wake up bruised and confused after the confrontation with the mysterious kidnappers only to find the Mutropolis’ mural and Totel gone. Henry is now thrust in a leadership role. Fate has chosen this modest man to rescue Totel and unearth the famed city of Mutropolis. Unfortunately not everything is as it seems and many surprise are in store for Henry and his team.

Mutropolis is a real feast for the eyes. The artwork’s style is charming and unique. The game contains about fifty lovely hand-drawn scenes. The 2D graphics are drawn using soft lines and soothing colors, but still look quite lively. The subject matter being a post-apocalyptic world, you would expect the color to be muted and the scene to look like something more akin to a wasteland. Nonetheless, the world of Mutropolis is vibrant and colorful with some gorgeous environments. If you have played Broken Age, you will find the artwork similar in style. I especially love the outdoor scene in front of the university. The scene has a monolith that lets you change the seasons. Central to this scene is a big beautiful tree. It is a clever way to visually portray the changing of seasons and a great approach to display the artist’s talent. The characters are especially interesting. They are exquisitely rendered and the developers have managed to give them adorable looks while still perfectly depicting each of their unique personalities. The artwork is unquestionably one of the highlights of this game.

The game is fully voiced in several languages which adds to the quality of Mutropolis. The soundtrack is good. There is nothing inherently wrong with it and some parts are down right awesome, but if there is one critic I can give Mutropolis is that the soundtrack does not do justice to this wonderful game.

When I read the synopsis for Mutropolis, I half expected another one of those typical post-apocalyptic stories where the Earth is a wasteland and the heroes have to scavenge to survive and fight some sort of post-human creatures. Nevertheless I was agreeably surprised when I first started the game. Aside from the artworks, the story is also a focal point of Mutropolis, it is original and exceptional. It is full of surprising turn and unexpected events. The dialogues are incredibly well-written. The narrative is amusing and enjoyable. While it is not the type of game that will have you laughing out loud at every turn, there are still several humorous moment that will make you smile and even give you a few laughs. The developers have adeptly added suspense and engaged the player emotionally. I enjoyed the many clever puns inserted into the dialogues. Many of them are seemingly directed at a somewhat older audience. Mutropolis is clearly meant to be a traditional point & click and the dialogues reflect that choice well.

The main protagonist is just an ordinary and humble guy. He can be shy and always try to be nice to his coworkers, but he can sometimes be clueless. The developers have succeeded at creating a likable character that is easy to connect with. They constructed a whole cast of characters that players will find personable and very human… well some more than others. As I played the game, I found myself wanting them to succeed in their mission and that is no easy feat especially for inexperienced developers.

The game is a real love letter to the 90s era point & click games and the puzzles are no exception. The puzzle’s designs are clever and can be fairly challenging. Like the traditional adventure games, you will have to visit the same locations many times over and attempt several combinations before finding the solutions. Those new to the genre might find some of the puzzles a bit convoluted at times, but there are always related to the narrative. In spite of that veterans of the genre will recognize the style of puzzles as a throwback to the classics.

The latest expansion in popularity of point & click and story rich adventure games has seen lots of new games in this category being released. It has gotten that much harder to be noticed, but Mutropolis does not suffer from this. In fact it manages to stick out of the pack. It is outstanding and the developers have created a game that can rival the best classics of the genre. Mutropolis does not take itself seriously and it is part of its appeal. If you are an adventure lover, this is one game you will want to add to your collection. Mutropolis boasts some stunning artworks, a captivating story and a lovable cast of characters. An all out impressive debut from the developers at Pirita Studios. I will be sure to keep my eye for any future project from this talented duo.

Written by Vee