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Kafka-inspired bug platformer Metamorphosis is out now

We look up at a ship in port. Only its mast and sail are visible. The sail is a document with Gregor Samsa'a name clearly written on. In the foreground, another bug stands guard.

Franz Kafka novels aren’t sitting anywhere near the top five on the list of things I’d expect or want game adaptations of, and yet here’s Metamorphosis. It’s a game spun off from the story of Kafka’s novel by the same title with a bit of his other story The Trial thrown in for good measure. It’s a surreal adventure told through the eyes and legs of a bug, which you can try on for size now that it’s out.

“What once seemed like mundane dwellings have become an expansive obstacle course, and now you’ll have to chart your path through the dingy nooks and crannies that exist within the cracks of civilization,” say Ovid Works of the transformative adventure. You’ll have to parkour and wall-climb your way through underground bug civilisation to save your pal Joseph from his mysterious arrest.

I’ve not read any Kafka myself so you’ll have to take Sin’s word for it when she says that it’s a surprisingly good spinoff in her Metamorphosis preview. “I am honestly amazed at how well it holds all this together,” she says. “Literary adaptations of games are prone to extremes, either being barely interactive, literal retellings, or pretty much just regular games only tangentially related to the source. Metamorphosis instead takes Kafka’s own blending of the impossible and the depressingly real, and creates its own world with it. It also takes us through a story about the dehumanising nature of working life and the dual monsters of authoritarianism and maddening, pointless bureaucracy.”

Despite all that seriousness, Sin says it was actually quite nice to play. She calls it cheerful and upbeat. Apparently wall-climbing and crawling around humans as they babble above you is quite enjoyable as well. Even the pitter patter of your little bug legs sound quite jaunty, a noise that I’d have expected to be off-putting.

You can find Metamorphosis on Steam and GoG, where it’s currently 10% discounted to £17.54/€18.89/$22.49.

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Lauren Morton

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