Mutropolis has been on my radar for a while now, in a very subtle manner. It’s not a game that’s in your face everywhere, but as an Application Systems Heidelberg fan, I was pleased to see the title on their release list for the Switch – more so that it’s now out, and I’ve been playing it.
There wasn’t much persuasion needed to review this: it’s a point and click adventure, so a no-brainer on my part. I believe this is the debut for Pirita Studio – made up of only two developers – and they’ve done a lovely job with it. The immediate aspect to note is the art style, but let’s give a bit of exposition, eh?
You play Henry Dijon (who has a little hang-up about his name), and it’s the year 5000. Henry has been living on Mars but returns to Earth to participate in an excavation, with events leading to the kidnapping of his beloved mentor. Alongside a motley crew of John Huges wannabees, they embark on an adventure on a very alien planet, seeking out the titular Mutropolis – a long-forgotten ‘land’.
What’s This? Oh, A Mutropolis Switch Review
A vital ingredient of any decent point and click is often the level of humour, and though that’s an area of subjectivity, we adventurers know what we’re getting into with our in-jokes and Grog references. While they exist here, it’s the approach the characters have to the history of Earth. In the early part of the game, Henry refers to artefacts from our age, often with some hilarious misinterpretations of history and item usage. The official textbooks reinforce this. Mutropolis is on par with A Monster’s Expedition for these observations.
Naturally, the game has a lot of backtracking – it’s a point and click. Using the almost standard hotspot option, anytime you get stuck; you’ll be able to highlight what you can interact with. If anything, it’s the puzzles that are the challenge here. The first one was creating a 3D print of a colleague using a 2D likeness. It appeared obvious at a glance, but this, like quite a few puzzles can be fiddly and may take you some time if you’re the type that had easily distracted and must try harder written on their school report cards.
It takes a few more beats than expected to ‘get’ our protagonist, though. He’s on the verge of being a little too stiff and is not as comical/relatable as most – it could be that he’s an archaeologist, and other than Indy, they might be considered a little dull [sweeping statement of the week]. But the voice acting for Henry and the rest of the cast was marvellous. There wasn’t one character that overshadowed the rest of the talent – it was a decent ensemble overall.
The Write Stuff
It does help that Mutropolis has such a well-balanced voice cast that makes the game so pleasant to play, but it’s the writing that truly stands out. There are so elements we may look for in the genre – the story being essential, as per the characters – but the timing and nuances in this game are, for me, the highlights. Quite often, I read ahead during a dialogue scene, and though I was hanging onto almost every word, it was nice to break down the choice of words in the game.
Jumping back to the art style, Mutropolis is unique. Quite a few point and clicks are mixing it up with straight-out-of-a-picture-book illustrations, like Growbot, and it’s a nice change from what we’re used to (not that it needs fixing). I wasn’t too keen on Henry’s appearance – not because he’s a ginger, but because he looked a little different to the rest of the characterisations and, dare I say, a little flat in places.
Also, on the point of art, many of the close-ups are beautifully illustrated but too pixelated on the Switch. I gave the PC version a run, and naturally, this was a lot better. Note that this was in the Switch’s handheld mode. There was a slight hiccup with the Switch version of the game in a later chapter, but it has already been fixed, so by the time you read/skim this, it won’t even be worth mentioning. Too late. All non-close-ups look brilliant, and though mildly hesitant about the artwork, thinking it might be all style with no substance, it’s quite the standout.
Once again, lots of positives. Though I didn’t lend a hand making the game, I am a bit of a slave to a good point and click. Mutropolis may not be the one game you’ll forever quote or get a tattoo of Henry on one of your cheeks that you’ll regret in a few years. Or hours. However, it’s a decent adventure that’s well worth the admission price for the writing, if not the art, if not the voice acting, if not… yes, you get it: I’m recommending it – especially the Switch version.