Morphopolis Review | MOUSE n JOYPAD

Morphopolis Review





Who’s afraid of the big bad bug? Not I!

Initially made available on the iTunes store in November last year, Morphopolis is an adventure style puzzle game where you take control of an insect overcoming various challenges to advance the visual narrative. The end goal in each of the five stages usually involves encountering a dead bug which you have to bring back to life and eventually “incarnate” as in the following stage.

Morphopolis is primarily a hidden-object game in which you are required to find a certain number of pieces of various objects, and occasionally some mind puzzles to overcome obstacles and challenges.

For instance in one of the levels where you play as a bee, the game has you finding bits of material to build an insect mask which allows you to scare a bigger bug into letting you access an underground tunnel. Another challenge has you complete a match-the-pair memory game in which you flip over leaves to find beetles with a specific number of spots on their backs and you have to recall and match the pairs with the same number of spots, upon the completion of which your prize is a piece of a puzzle required to progress on to the next stage.

Some objects or creatures can be interacted with by clicking on them, and indeed, this is the primary means required to reveal puzzles or objects: For instance, clicking on a sloped outcropping of rock with a sparse covering of mushrooms revealed that I needed to find more purple mushrooms with which to cover the slope with so that I could traverse on to the next area. Or, clicking on a closed pod of seeds causes the pod to peel aside, revealing a case of colourful seeds which I needed for overcoming another obstacle on the same level.

However, it is sometimes not immediately obvious which objects can be interacted with or that a new area could be reached by climbing up the stem of a plant. The same applies to some of the puzzles as well, where I found myself feeling at a loss as to what I needed to do to solve the puzzle. In one memory mini-game, I was required to recall the sequence order in which a group of glow worms lit up; it was not immediately obvious that I had to press the space bar to get the first sequence started o, and I spent a few moments clicking around the screen trying to get something to happen before I realised that. On another puzzle similar to a game of Chinese Checkers, where the goal was to get all the playing pieces to disappear only by moving pieces over another by “leaping” over them, I again found myself clicking around the screen a few times trying to figure out what to do next, until I figured out that I had to click and drag pieces over another one in order to clear them from the playing board. In addition, there also appears to be no obvious way for the player to exit from a puzzle short of Alt-Tabbing and manually closing the game.


A delicious sack of M & M’s

If you get stuck at anytime, there is a question mark icon you can click at the top right of the screen, which will reveal an object on the present screen that has not been found yet, or an object you need to click on next to progress in the game further. Whilst you can use the hint button an unlimited number of times, it takes some time to recharge in between uses.

As you make your way through the five stages in Morphopolis, you are treated to the lush and vibrant visuals of the game world. An assortment of orange, yellow, or purple flowers are set against a backdrop of earthly brown, greyish tones and green canopy of leaves and other flora and fauna; a cluster of moths fluttering their wings in a niche in a rock, or a light drizzle of yellow pollen-like objects glide gently across the screen; the sounds of birds and crickets chirping in the background – all these help to make the world of Morphopolis come and feel alive, and you feel as though you are almost there breathing and taking in the sights and sounds of mother nature.

The music also works well here – a harp or xylophone against an undertone of soft percussive sounds, with a catchy rhythm that evokes the feeling of being out in the woods or jungle – and is soothing to listen to, while not being a distraction, as you immerse yourself in the visual experience and solving the puzzles.

The overall atmosphere in the game is relaxing and easygoing; there are no time constraints or limits, and I found myself just biding my time, enjoying the sights, sounds and music. However the whole game could easily be finished in a matter of hours and there is not much reason to replay the game once you have completed Morphopolis, other than to enjoy the sights and music.

At present, the game currently retails on Steam for the PC at just under USD$10. However, if you have an android or iOS device, such as an iPad or iPhone, it is cheaper just to get it on Google Play or the iTunes Store.

Nonetheless, despite its short length, Morphopolis is a game I would recommend giving a go just for the excellent art and music.