Developed by two-man Spanish team, Pirita Studio, Mutropolis is a classic point-and-click, sci-fi adventure set on the ruins of Earth. As the genre is by no means uncommon in the indie space, Pirita Studio is relying on their own visual style and a quirky narrative that puts you in the boots of Henry Dijon, a Martian archaeologist from the year 5,000. Both he, and his team, is on the hunt for the pre-cataclysm Earth city of Mutropolis, alongside their aging (and untrustworthy) professor. It doesn’t take long for things to go awry, the professor is kidnapped, and Henry finds himself delving deeper and deeper into the ancient – yet still occupied – city of Mutropolis.
It’s hard not to appreciate a modern game that manages to stick to a simple and intuitive control scheme. You left-click to move round, inspect items, and engage in conversations with other character. You scroll the mouse-wheel to pop open the inventory and inspect the key items you’ve collected and use them in the environment. It took only a minute or two to get to grips with interactions and inspecting items (which’ll give you a clue to their use), and I could focus on the entertaining writing and puzzles.
The hand-drawn environments and characters look great but they’re never so cluttered with detail that you can’t quickly pick out objects of importance.
As a long-established genre, it’s difficult to create novel gameplay experiences when it comes to the mechanics. Instead,Mutropolis presents Henry as a romantic, fond of classic archaeological tools like his trusty trowel, rather than the myriad of futuristic gadgets he could be using. This forces you to consider modern approaches to sci-fi problems; however, the game is never too cryptic – and your inventory never so packed with key objects – that you’ll find yourself brute-forcing a solution. To further aid your investigations and puzzle-solving, dialogue with other characters not only offers background flavour but also clues as to where you need to search or what you need to interact with. It goes a long way to offsetting the pixel-hunting nature of the genre.
Visually, Mutropolis looks distinctive, but hardly unique in such a packed genre. What most impresses is the stylised animation on characters and short cutscenes that play out during certain actions. This injects an otherwise static world with plenty of life. In addition, reading the expressions or actions of supporting characters can help you pick the right dialogue approach to get your way. This is backed up by a clean user interface that never clutters the screen, and ambient audio and music that helps generate atmosphere or set the mood.
The controls and user-interface are simple, intuitive, and don’t intrude on the environments.
Overall, Mutropolis doesn’t aim to break the mould, but rather tell a unique tale of exploring the ruins of Earth, packed with archaeology-themed puzzles, a bit of sleuthing, and the joy of watching confused Martian archaeologists try deciphering modern earth devices. The final release will offer up 50+ hand-drawn scenes, plenty more weird characters, and full voice overs (in English), which can only improve the experience further.
Written by Andrew Logue one of our freelance team.
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It is the year 5000, and the greatest achievements in human history are forgotten. The pyramids, the Mona Lisa, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air – forgotten. Forgotten by everyone except Henry Dijon and his ragtag team of archaeologists. They left Mars to dig up lost treasures on the wild and inhospitable Planet Earth. Life is sweet, until Henry’s professor is kidnapped, and thing start to get... weird.
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