Developed for three years by Michael Hicks (design, music, programming, writing) and Goncalo Antunes (all art and animations), The Path of Motus weaves gameplay and story together to deliver a poetic experience unlike anything before it. Path of Motus is a platformer/puzzle hybrid. It takes the usual jump, attack Metroidvania elements, and adds puzzle building/drawing elements to that. Think Scribblenauts, and you have a vague idea. You have to connect the dots (numbers actually) to build doors, bridges, etc. You use verbal attacks that can be deflected by your enemies.
Motus is a goblin, living in a village deep in a forest. No one has ever left, and anyone who tried returns failed and hopeless. Motus is a dreamer, and he wants to see the world. This is the basis for the story where you confront your emotions, and how they will make you react to others. Violence? Understanding? All are options; but some emotions won’t defeat others, and you have to decide on the fly, which is best for you.
Controls are solid. Basically what you would expect from a platformer. No sliding, over jumping, etc. If you’re watching what you’re doing with the platformer elements, you’ll do fine. The combat is a different story. In the beginning, the learning curve is pretty wide. You learn the ins and outs of movement, attack, and solving puzzles.
Speaking of puzzles, that’s where the drawing element comes in. You will have to connect the numbers and figure out exactly how to make the different lines come together to progress. The first couple of them are side puzzles you don’t HAVE to solve to proceed. Soon, you DO have to solve them to proceed. This was a subject of some aggravation due to the fact that each number point has to have a specific number of lines connected to it. This can get confusing when you think you have it, and you count everything, but the puzzle (In my case, a bridge I had to draw) doesn’t materialize.
The characters you interact with the most are bullies. Guys who are attacking you with words to prevent you from leaving. You can attack them with the same word colors (red, blue or yellow) to cancel (deflect) their attacks. You can try different colored attacks; but they don’t work. You have to use the same color the enemy does. When you combine jumping and attacking; but the type of attack can change quickly, the challenge ramps up and can become a negative pretty quickly.
In closing, I didn’t spend a great deal of time with Path of Motus because it didn’t “grab” me the way a good platformer will. The story is usually enough for that, when done right. Mario has the weakest story possible; but the gameplay makes up for it. It’s challenging, yet attainable. Path of Motus could have just been a simple platformer with the unique combat, and I would have enjoyed it more. When you throw in the drawing/connect the dots element, it’s becomes too much. The look of this game definitely gives a cutesy jump and attack vibe; but it’s deeper than that. The story is serviceable; but the challenge takes it in a completely different direction. It’s a nice enough diversion; but it gets harder a little too quickly, and in a way that takes some of the fun out of it.
This review was based on a free copy provided by the publisher for review purposes. This did not influence the review in any way.