On a journey to discover a world beyond the part of the forest they’re trapped in, Motus, a young goblin, decides to take his chances and venture out. Sounding simple enough, but very much isn’t, Motus discovers why goblins before him failed in this task and works to persevere in their wake.
Developed lovingly for three years by Michael Hicks and Goncalo Antunes, this interesting title takes a look at how negative and bullying words can affect others. Surely most can withstand a few jabs, but what happens when sharpened tongues are relentless? Do you give up with tail between legs, or push on?
The Path of Motus gives us a very polished art style to enjoy. It’s all set on a more cartoony scale–with characters resembling the late Tomba. The backgrounds are well done, with plenty of depth and the colour palette is wonderfully bright and engaging. The screens are lovely to observe and feel very personal instead of manufactured. The soundtrack matches with whimsical melodies, keeping in the forest theme and reminding me of the happier parts of every Disney film to fit the bill. It’s not all ambient either–you get the pleasure of having actual musical tracks on there with light and airy vocals and a lovely acoustic accompaniment or sometimes a clever variation to match tenser parts of a level. The sound overall is well done–clear and concise, with the voice acting of the grunts, noises and words being very on point. The immersion with all of these factors in is one I can easily see many falling into.
Watch the launch trailer for The Path of Motus below:
The mechanic with the ‘insults’ is a simple colour coated battle: the foes will shoot their words at you in a designated colour and in order to defeat them, you will have to match said colour. Sometimes the exchanges will get a bit more heated and the colours will swap between a few, urging you to keep up. It’s an interesting way to depict the power of words, matched with a really lovely animation of them flying across the screen and through the air. In spirit with the simplicity of these encounters–if you perish from too many insults, you will just restart without penalty. I tend to find that puzzle games that don’t over punish, squeeze the most fun out. There’s also a healthy mix of the number solving puzzles, the word ‘combat’, mixed with the collecting and some classic side scrolling platforming.
The Path of Motus encourages a fine bit of exploration–there’s often places that you can run right past if you’re not careful, and in doing this you might miss a note or two. As there are twenty-two notes to find, there’s a bit of collecting to be done overall.
The puzzles involve connecting lines with certain numbers. I found it to be a delightful way of making progress–with a good bit of challenge, but not so much to get discouraged. There’s a nice sense of balance in every puzzle, making it suitable for older kids, and beyond.
View some screenshots from The Path of Motus in our gallery:
In order to fully complete The Path of Motus, you will have to do a minimum of two playthroughs. As the game is quite short, this extends the life a bit further. Upon beating it the first time, you’ll unlock more puzzles to complete the second run through.
One of the cooler features of The Path of Motus is how Motus himself grows from child into an adult. This happens automatically as you progress on your way out of the forest, with three stages to observe: child, adolescent and finally, adult. It gives a sense of how people can progress through life facing the same hurtful words at any age. You also get interesting asides with the gameplay. For example, when Motus reaches his teenage years, he acquires a partner to whom you can switch for some nice split puzzles. Another small, but fun and interesting tidbit to keep you entertained.
Aside from playing The Path of Motus itself, when a copy is bought, 10% of the purchase is donated to The Cybersmile Foundation. This is a long term agreement between the two partners and I couldn’t think of a better way to really drive the point of the game home and make for a great cause in the process. In lieu of The Path of Motus being as short as it is with a £11.39 price tag, you tend to feel like the money is truly going toward an amazing cause. I’m a big fan of this and think Michael Hicks did a wonderful thing with his digital voice–and will be happy to purchase this game full price for others in the future.
The controls are responsive, the art direction engaging and the message benevolent. I recommend taking a look into The Path of Motus for the fun of the gameplay, or simply to reflect on human behaviour and how an individual’s actions can have an affect on others.
The Path of Motus was reviewed using a digital code supplied by the developer.
Publisher: MichaelArts Developer: MichaelArts Release Date: July 17th, 2018 Reviewed On: PC/Steam Also Available On: PS4, Xbox One