The Bug And The Beautiful: Morphopolis

By Nathan Grayson on August 12th, 2013 at 9:00 am.

O_O

Goodness, Morphopolis sure is a sight to behold. I do not usually like bugs because I’m afraid they’ll crawl into my eyelids while I’m sleeping and lay eggs, but just look at that. So much insistently strange color. So many rich veins of detail popping and pulsating with life. The point-and-click adventure treats nature not as a playground, but as a canvas for the grotesquely gorgeous. I just want to go inhabit that place. Problem is – based on a bit of the game I played at Rezzed – I’m not sure if it’ll let me. Trailer and thoughts below.

Morphopolis’ art is on another level, but its mechanics are extremely simple. The game bills itself as a “hidden object” adventure and that description just about hits the nail on the head. The few sections I tried were basically pixel hunts, with me searching for various parts and objects that’d remove an obstacle – usually some gigantic jerk bug – from my path. Then I’d proceed to the next visually glorious mini-vista, and so on. It never amounted to anything particularly challenging or interesting, though. Just clicking around until something happened.

That said, developer Mico Macro’s description of Morphopolis hints at something far greater for the teensy tiny underbrush world:

“The game is about a journey; taking narrative from the environment, creating places through the division space, and evolving this world as your awareness of scale, mechanics and inhabitants change. These are concepts we discovered in architecture school, but they can be handled so much more playfully in an illustrated world.”

Here’s hoping the mechanics can keep up with the art’s soaring splendor and variety. You can even have a hand (or twitchy, chitinous leg stalk) in the process if you want. The game’s second preorder tier offers alpha access for $19.99, so that might be worth diving into. The full game, meanwhile, will be out at the end of the year – maybe on Steam, if it can clear Greenlight‘s mighty hurdle. Are you considering giving it a try?

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9 Comments »

  1. RLacey says:

    (It’s a rather dated joke to misspell the name of The Guardian, isn’t it?)

    This looks nice. But if it really does play as you describe, I wonder if $19.99 isn’t pushing it a bit…

    • Bugamn says:

      Unless they have adopt a similar scheme to Prison Architect, I assume the full version will cost more than $19.99.

      • lhzr says:

        I don’t know how the Prison Architect pricing works, but he full version of this will be 9.99, iirc. It’s just the alpha-access that’s kinda expensive.

  2. ukpanik says:

    Tip for their next video. Drop the annoying quotations or put them all at the end.

  3. Caiman says:

    But isn’t the gameplay like Samarost, which we all love? Right? Or is it just me?

    • Oozo says:

      I just logged in to say the same thing. It sounds like early Amanita, which is not a bad per se.

      What’s important is that enough interesting things do happen when you click all around the scene, hunting for the one pixel (or the sequence of pixels) that do advance the game. Sightseeing by clicking, if you will.

      • TheBlackBandit says:

        Yeah, that’s the crucial bit. It’s all about how charming/funny/beautiful the clicky discoveries you make are. Getting that sense of wonder is something that Amanita do really well, but it could so easily be a case of “BOP – you found the mushroom! Now you can go over here”.

        • Ceri says:

          Hi, I’m one of the creators of Morphopolis. Really appreciating the feedback being given and we’re looking forwards to showing more of the gameplay soon. Amanita games have been a great inspiration and the standards of gameplay and interaction they have set for this genre is very high – we’d be delighted if we can get close to the charm of a game like Samarost. We’ll be taking on board all comments as we complete the puzzles, interaction and animation sequences so thanks for everyones thoughts.

  4. Ingix says:

    It looks like the part from 0:51 – 1:01 is a color-swapping minigame/puzzle. That would put it in line with current hidden object games that do contain such things from time to time.

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