Have you heard the one about the mouse that gets separated from her children and, while searching for them, unwittingly releases magic into the air forcing a poor wizard to clean up the mess? If you haven’t, here’s a Macrotis A Mother’s Journey review.
If you said that this latest platform game from Eastasiasoft was first released on the Amiga 1200, I wouldn’t be surprised. The use of colours, the art style and gameplay in Macrotis A Mother’s Journey is straight out of the Golden Age of 16-bit gaming and shares the same challenge.
As Bilby, you’re the mouse mother who needs to find and rescue her kids. She’s a typical mother; she puts them first and will do anything for them, and summons inhuman strength should the need occur. Inhuman is irrelevant here (as a mouse), but she’s pretty tough and can gnaw through the toughest of ropes. I just wished she’d shut up for a sec.
Beginning in the underground, you find your paws by learning the mechanics of pushing and pulling objects, general tomfoolery that is platform jumping, gnawing through stuff and doing a little stealth walk. The latter will be required more times than you think as there are so many platforms that will fall away should you step on them. Sure, they’re indicated by their texture but believe me, you’ll find out too late.
The controls are simple enough and work well. Bilby can manoeuvre about with relative ease, and the game’s general feel is a good one. What you will need to be prepared for is problem-solving through trial and error. Generally speaking, the puzzles are straightforward enough, but you have to experiment first before getting the desired results.
Why so cryptic? Apologies. What that means is you’ll gnaw through a rope then kick away the rocks that are holding up a massive block, only for it to crash on your head. Common sense, and no doubt some will pick up on this, but quite a few times, you’ll only be able to work out a solution through experimenting.
This isn’t as much as a kick in the teeth as it could be, and should you feel you’ve balled up a puzzle in Macrotis A Mother’s Journey, you press up on the d-pad, and she’ll sacrifice herself like her rodent Lemmings cousins. Fear, not animal lovers, there’s no blood and guts; she restarts the area again. Naturally, there’ll be a few times it gets frustrating when you have to repeat a puzzle, but suck it up – dems da mechanics.
So the visuals in Macrotis A Mother’s Journey are good, the gameplay is enjoyable, and while the voice talent for Bilby is good, I just wished she’d shut up now and again. She feels compelled to narrate quite frequently how her children would love this, that or the other, what she thinks of a situation and whether she left the iron on. It’s all very innocent but a bit whiny like Anna gets in Anna’s Quest. She’s a decent character and all, but she needs to tone it down a bit; I’m concentrating on getting past this bit.
The main arc is about rescuing her kids, but as identified early on, she steps on the toes of a wizard, messing with his arcane mojo. The two soon form a telepathic bond, and he teaches the joys of astral projection. From here, Macrotis A Mother’s Journey morphs into a co-op for one as Bilby can let her aura shift out of her body to help with puzzles along the way.
Said puzzles are mostly things blocking your path, but with the spirit Bilby, she’s weightless, and there’s no need to tiptoe on damaged floors as she won’t activate. Additionally, she can push and pull objects and also perform the same deeds as the fleshy Bilby. If she uses too much of her powers – such as teleporting through solids, she’ll eventually run out of energy and return to the original Bilby. The same thing happens if she dies, but it’s not permanent as she can be fired up on the fly.
Macrotis A Mother’s Journey is a decent challenging game. Not challenging as in ridiculously difficult, though I wish there were some leeway on some of the levels. The challenge here is more about committing yourself to forward-thinking a puzzle, thinking about every angle so you can do it in one. Alternatively, you can do that trial and error thing I mentioned and learn the hard way.
I usually play Switch games in docked mode, and while that showcases the sharp and vibrant visuals, I found myself enjoying this all over the house. It was that engaging that I took apart my HoriPad Pro to fix the sticky ZR – there’s no way you can’t play Macrotis A Mother’s Journey without moving a few rocks, smashing some eggs and killing some chatterbox mice.