I grew up during what is generally considered the golden age of the point and click genre. Despite this I never really played games from this genre growing up as I honestly thought the genre seemed kind of dull. While it is hard to find a large studio today that will touch a point and click game with a ten foot pole, the indie video game industry has really stepped up to fill in this gap in the marketplace. Over the last couple of years I have actually checked out quite a few point and click games as it has become one of my favorite video game genres. This brings me to Mutropolis which was created as the debut game for the new developer Pirita Studio. I was intrigued by the game as it seemed to have an interesting premise for the point and click genre. Mutropolis may not differ too much from your typical point and click game, but it succeeds due to its creative puzzle design and interesting world.
In Mutropolis you play as Henry Dijon. It is currently the year 5000. After a cataclysmic event many years earlier humans abandoned Earth to live on Mars. In recent years humans have started to return to Earth. With no knowledge of Earth’s history, Henry and his fellow archeologists are searching for artifacts to figure out what happened many years ago. On an expedition Henry’s professor is kidnapped leading the gang into unfamiliar territory. Can they rescue Professor Totel and in the process discover the legendary city of Mutropolis?
For the most part the gameplay of Mutropolis is pretty similar to your typical point and click puzzle game. Those familiar with the genre should already know what to expect from the gameplay. Basically the objective of the game is to solve puzzles in order to progress the story. Most of the gameplay revolves around pointing and clicking as the title of the genre implies. You will interact with the characters you meet in your journey as well as the environment. Certain objects can be picked up and used with other objects or the environment. Basically you need to explore the environment to gather all of the items and information you need to solve the puzzle.
As I just mentioned, Mutropolis is for all intents and purposes your typical point and click puzzle game. The game sticks pretty close to the formula as there really aren’t any new mechanics that haven’t been used in other games from this genre. If you have ever played a game from this genre before, you should be able to jump right in. This is not meant to be an insult. Games in the point and click genre rarely deviate from the main formula. While I wish Mutropolis had the feature where you could see what you can interact with on each screen like some games from this genre, I really had no complaints with the gameplay mechanics. The controls are to the point and work well for the game.
Since the gameplay rarely differs between point and click games, there are two things that I generally pay close attention to when it comes to this genre.
The main driving force behind good point and click games is the puzzle design. As all of the gameplay is built around the puzzles, the game needs to have good puzzles if it wants to stand out. I thought Mutropolis did a good job in this area. While the puzzle design of Mutropolis follows a similar process as a lot of games from this genre, the developers deserve quite a bit of credit for coming up with some unique ideas. Some of the puzzles are kind of obvious, but there are some that require some out of the box thinking. You genuinely feel a sense of accomplishment when you finish most of the puzzles.
This brings me to Mutropolis’ difficulty. The point and click genre can differ wildly when it comes to difficulty. Some games are way too easy where you can solve all of the puzzles really quickly. Others are so difficult where it basically becomes an exercise of trial and error until you find the right combination of items/information and the area where you are supposed to use them. I would say that Mutropolis is somewhere inbetween. The game has some pretty easy puzzles where it is obvious right away what you should do. There are a couple of puzzles that can be somewhat challenging though especially if you don’t pick up on the clues that the game is giving you. In these cases you might need to use some trial and error, but there aren’t any puzzles where the solution feels completely random. When I got stuck it mostly came from not noticing all of the objects that I could interact with, or coming back to characters after I learned new information. This is the main reason why I wish the game had the mechanic where you could highlight the objects that you could interact with on each screen.
Other than the puzzle design, the other thing that is really important to making a compelling point and click puzzle game is an engaging story. As these games are heavily driven by their stories, if the story is lacking the whole game suffers. I thought Mutropolis did a pretty good job in this area as well. I am not going to get into too many details in order to avoid spoilers. If I were to describe Mutropolis’ story I would say that it is pretty much what you would expect from a story about archeologists from the future. A lot of the story and jokes for that matter are based around humans from the year 5000 misunderstanding the present day. The story also has some sci-fi elements mixed in as well.
I generally found the story to be compelling as I wanted to see how it would end. The characters are written pretty well for the most part. All of the characters are voice acted, and I would say that the voice acting is pretty good. In addition to the story being pretty interesting, the game does have some genuinely funny moments. I found some of the jokes to be kind of lame, but there are some funny moments that mostly come from a misunderstanding of history. The game’s visual style is also really good. The world is quite colorful and uses a pretty unique style. Mutropolis creates a world that you want to explore. If you think the story’s premise sounds interesting at all, I think you should enjoy Mutropolis’ story.
As for the Mutropolis’ length I would say that it is pretty good for the point and click genre. The game is spread over three different acts with each being its own little hub which you branch out from. There are quite a few puzzles in each act that you have to solve. Some of these you will solve right away, while others could take some time. Most of the game’s length will come down to how quickly you solve the puzzles. I would guess it would take most players seven to twelve hours to complete. Like all point and click games though, the replay value is kind of limited as the story and puzzles are the same every time you play it. Outside of replaying the story and puzzles once you forget about them, the only replay value will come from trying to get the achievements you missed on your first playthrough. You likely will miss some of the achievements on your first playthrough as most are miss-able as they require you to find Easter eggs and do things that you don’t need to do to advance the story.
On the surface Mutropolis is pretty similar to your typical point and click game. The gameplay doesn’t really bring any innovations to the genre. If you have ever played a game from this genre, you should already have a good idea of what to expect from Mutropolis. This isn’t a huge problem for Mutropolis though, as few games from this genre add any unique gameplay mechanics. Mutropolis succeeds because it focuses on what makes the point and click genre enjoyable. The puzzle design in the game is quite good. Some puzzles can be kind of easy and others can be kind of difficult, but the overall design is quite good forcing you to think outside of the box. This is combined with a story and overall world that is quite engaging.
Honestly my recommendation for Mutropolis is pretty simple. If you have never liked the point and click genre or don’t really care for Mutropolis’ premise, the game probably won’t be for you. If Mutropolis interests you at all though, you likely will enjoy the game quite a bit and should consider picking it up.
Buy Mutropolis online: Steam
We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank Pirita Studio and Application Systems Heidelberg for the review copy of Mutropolis used for this review. Other than receiving a free copy of the game to review, we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation for this review. Receiving the review copy for free had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.