Bullying: A nice safe topic to discuss online.
It is a probable likelihood that the person reading this article has been bullied. It is probably something we all share together. I’ll admit I was bullied for anything different: My height, if I said anything wrong and many times just for being where I was at the time. I gave the abuse back; I fought back, I even at one point took out a lamp post during a fight (odd point to make I know.) It is unlikely that being bullied didn’t change me at all but I try not to focus too heavily on it.
The Path of Motus brought this up in my mind because the game is about bullying. It takes a topic quite a few dare step on and makes it the major focus of a pretty solid game. It deals with the topic carefully and underneath this simple platform game is a lot of thinking about bullying and how we as a society deal with it overall and personally.
You play as the titular Motus, a goblin living in the forest with your father and grandfather. Motus is a creative type, and early on you are taught that the main puzzle feature of the game is to paint connecting lines to make bridges across obstacles. You finish the first one with glee and then along comes your father, telling you it’s good but probably not good enough to climb across.
Ignoring him and carrying on you travel through the main body of the game: platforming. While this alone is not difficult the addition of bullying enemies is enough to make you think. Bullies yell words at you, and you have to use the correct word back to mitigate their word and defeat them. There are only three words to choose, and the letter they will use is highlighted above their heads so it is not a huge challenge. Not until late in the game did I learn about the ‘high road’ option, which is a challenge to pass through the area without hurting anyone.
Over time you learn about Motus and his father. It hits home pretty hard with the story of his dream about being a rock star falling by the wayside and how Motus is constantly harassed, only helped at one point by his friend. Other characters lament that it doesn’t matter what they do they get bullied as well. The real striking story was a kid who was bullied for his big nose but was beaten up for pointing out the bully’s equally big nose.
Graphically and musically the game is stunning. While the graphics are nothing spectacular they are full of colour and the changing environments give you plenty of different beautiful scenes to enjoy. But the music is by far better. Starting happy and jovial as the problems ramp up it begin interpolating bullying right into the soundtrack, telling you to just turn off the game and give up. The bullying focus is pushed hard and I really enjoy how the music is wormed in.
There are a few little niggles. Mostly just with controls. The interaction button is U, which alongside H and K are your fighting controls. It seems a little cramped and I’m unsure why mouse buttons could not have been used instead. The game also crashed unexpectedly once but that seemed to be an isolated incident.
But other than some iffy controls The Path of Motus is a game I didn’t think I would like but really ended up empathising with. If you have been bullied even a little you will understand where this game comes from and it might be taking you down a darker memory lane than other platformers. It deals with bullying well, and with a portion of profits going to anti-bullying charities I would recommend getting this game wholeheartedly.