Video games, as a whole, are fantastic for a number of reasons, and one of those reasons is that they let us express ourselves. Game developers are free to express themselves in their games, and are free to tailor the game to their desire.
Some games are full of beautiful locations, daunting battles, or brimming with important decisions. Then, there are the games that make us feel something. Sometimes games make us feel something, and it might not be just because the gameplay is fantastic, it can also be from the way it presents itself. Path of Motus lacked in some vital areas, but it also had some well done elements that made it a worthwhile play.
Path of Motus, developed by MichaelArts, starts with the story of a young goblin named Motus. Motus has the dream of leaving his small village in search of greater opportunities. His father however, tried to do this long ago, and ultimately decided to return to the village. Motus’s father does not want him to leave the village, so he tells Motus that there’s no reason to leave. His father wants him to stay, and start a complacent, monotonous life as a farmer.
Motus decides he will set off, but that in itself is not a simple task. There are plenty of goblins throughout the world that will stop at nothing to hurt Motus. How do they hurt him? Not physically, but verbally.
The goblins will harass you, and throw words at you to stop you. You will see other goblins who will bully you, and say awful things to try to get you to quit, and go back to your regular life. Sometimes you will find goblins that have already conformed to this complacent lifestyle, and they’ll try to convince you to join them.
The story of Path of Motus is it’s greatest asset. Path of Motus inspires you to strive for the life that you want. You get to witness Motus age, and go from child, to young adult, to adult. It’s a story about standing up, and taking your life in your hands. Path of Motus does not want players to settle for the mundane. It wants players to block out the bullies, and people that tell you, you can’t…and keep on going.
This inspiring story, is something that’s not often found in video games. In fact, It’s the main reason why Path of Motus is worth giving a try.
Path of Motus is a 2D adventure platformer that plays it safe, and uses very common platforming elements. The platforming consists of jumping onto platforms and avoiding giant gaps, like most other games in the genre. It doesn’t do much to distinguish itself on the platforming aspects, and I do wish they could have added a bit more variety to these segments.
Besides platforming, the main element of combat in the game is through launching words at other goblins. Goblins will have a color hovering above them, and that tells you which button you have to press to launch that color word. If you get hit by their word, you will simply restart very close to where you were when you died. It’s a pretty simple gameplay mechanic, but works well with the game’s message.
The final element of Path of Motus are the bridge building puzzles. When you reach various places, you will have to go through a puzzle that involves matching lines together in a specific way. The idea isn’t overly complex, but some of the final ones are pretty challenging.
Path of Motus’s gameplay provides some fun, but it’s quite simplistic, and gets tiresome fairly quickly. Unfortunately, the line puzzles don’t add much more depth to the game and, for some players, they will be a hindrance.
The extras in Path of Motus, unlike many games, are very important. During your journey, you will find 22 different notes that describe the similarities between Motus’, and his father’s adventures.
These notes act as the bridge (get it!) that connects Motus to his father. It makes you realize that Motus’s father isn’t trying to hold him down, he’s just worried about him.
These notes are emotional, and made me really connect with the game on a different level. A lot more then other games are able to.
The other collectibles are the game’s high-road medals. On your first playthrough, you will probably defeat a lot of enemies using you words. However, there are over 20 different high-road medals, in the game that encourage you to have a pacifist run. (Editor’s note: shades of Undertale anyone?)
After beating the game once, you will be shamed by one of the goblin’s. They’ll say you’re no better than the other bullies. This acts as an encouragement to go through the whole game without hurting anyone, so you can obtain the high-road medals. While the high-road medals are simply just collectibles in the game, they do act as a self-achievement for us, the players.
It feels good to be able go through the entire game without hurting anyone. It makes you feel different from the bullies that try to hurt your spirit. You put the effort into not hurting anyone, and that feels like a real accomplishment. I didn’t have to not hurt anyone, but I chose to do that.
I think the emotional connection with the collectibles in Path of Motus is what makes them so special. Path of Motus just wouldn’t be the same without these collectibles, that’s how well implemented they are.
Looks Aren’t Everything
Visually, Path of Motus is fairly mediocre. The art design does fit with the games style in a way, but it lacks polish. The design is simply okay,and it does take away a bit from the game’s presentation.
Luckily, I did get used to it after playing for awhile, but what I couldn’t get used to were the boring environments. The environments are bland. They have some color, but that’s about it. They’re not exciting or unique, and they don’t have the presentation that adds to the world’s presence. They look like they were simply placed over the world, without a whole lot of thought put into them.
The character design, could definitely use some more variety. The goblins all look the same, just with a different color palette. There aren’t many other characters, and the ones that are there lack any unique qualities. Motus is really the only one with character, mainly because you get to see him grow through 3 different parts of his life. Without that, the entirety of the game’s cast would have been seriously lacking in design.
For many, Path of Motus’s soundtrack will be a hit or miss. It’s a calm soundtrack for those that like that style. If you were looking for something more like a traditional 2D platformer, something that’s filled with infectious energy, you won’t find that here. The soundtrack felt very average to me, overall.
Path of Motus plays very well, from a technical standpoint. Resolution is good in both handheld, and docked mode. I experienced almost no framerate issues, the one exception being a very small one, in handheld mode when there were a few enemies on screen.
The only technical problem Path of Motus suffers from, are it’s controls. The controls are a bit loose, and they caused me to overshoot my jumps multiple times. I felt like I didn’t always have complete control during the platforming segments. Although, I did have a few problems with the controls, I still had no trouble finishing Path of Motus.
It’s not everyday you find something that is able to connect with you in a way you never thought it could. Path of Motus does a great job at accomplishing this. I felt compelled to see Motus’s adventure to the end. I wanted to collect every little thing along the way, so I felt like I could leave knowing I had finished the journey completely.
That being said, this was not a perfect story book adventure. Visually, Path of Motus left me feeling disappointed that such a beautiful game on the inside, could look so mediocre on the outside.
Simplistic design may also cause problems for some players. If you’re looking for a game with deep, and distinct mechanics, then Path of Motus will not satisfy your urge. Also, if you’re looking for a longer game you won’t find that here either. Path of Motus takes only roughly 2 hours to finish. Personally, I thought it was the perfect length, and it was a good design choice to not try and spread the game out any longer. It probably would have felt forced.
If you’re looking for a short adventure, that touches on some important life lessons, then Path of Motus is definitely worth trying. It may not look the best, and it’s a pretty simple game, but it has some heart. I think that’s what makes it pretty special. Path of Motus is available for $14.99 USD on the NA eShop.
6.5 Average 2D Platforming Adventure.
Has A Lot of Heart Despite It’s Shortcomings.
- Impactful Story That Touches on Some Important Life Lessons
- Collectibles That Feel Important
- Perfect Length For the Adventure
- Game Has A Lot of Heart
- Loose Controls
- Line Puzzles Are A Nuisance
- Shallow Character Design
- Bland Environments
- Mediocre Visual Design