Review: Morphopolis

Morphopolis isn’t quite the “point ‘n’ click adventure” it’s billed as. It’s nothing more than a hidden object game, disguised in an admittedly pretty visual style, that happens to feature a few extra puzzles on top.

Starting out with a caterpillar on its journey into the cocoon, you’re given only the clue to click on said caterpillar and drag the mouse in order to move it to its destination a short distance up the branch on which it currently resides. Once there, click on the caterpillar one more time to reveal how many (seemingly random) objects you need to click on in order for it to complete its hibernation.

Once another insect shows up, you’ll have to find another series of objects/creatures before you’re treated to a puzzle. With absolutely no guidance or hints, you’ll need to study the screen for a moment before noticing a pattern and attempting to solve the puzzle.

 

This is essentially Morphopolis’ entire gameplay for the full two hours of its duration.

 

Dragging your mouse this way and that to control the insect you’re given for each of the five levels, they’ll move on paths that aren’t always clear, leading to some frustration when trying to reach the next area.

Most levels are comprised of a few screens, creating multi-tiered arenas in which you must find new creatures/plants with which to interact (thus learning how many of a particular object you’ll need to find to exhaust their objective) and unlock new puzzles. It’s a nice idea but can become tiresome when you’re forced to backtrack several times with a control scheme that really is a chore to use.

Should you get stuck, there is a “?” button in the top right that, when pressed, points to something you may have missed. It takes a while to recharge between uses though, so don’t expect to just breeze through the game with a built-in walkthrough.

Puzzles range from a simple “match the pairs” card game, through to a rhythm-matching sequence, all the way up to the game’s final puzzle – a taxing one that really is at odds with the difficulty of the rest of the game. Unfortunately the “?” is nowhere to be seen on puzzle screens – you’re on your own there.

Visually, there’s a lot to like about Morphopolis. It feels like a hand-drawn children’s book, showing the lives of insects and how they might interact, even if the gameplay doesn’t lend well to children’s gaming. There are some nice depth of field effects on display too, as displayed exceptionally well even on the title screen.

The music is also very nice, relaxing the player with soothing tones that wouldn’t be out of place in a David Attenborough documentary. Which may well have been the point given the game’s setting.

The work of just two people, Morphopolis is a decent example of a simple hidden object game if you can look past the awkward controls. Best enjoyed at a relaxed pace, especially as there is no “game over” screen (you can’t die here, only grow older as you trudge about each screen with excruciating slowness), the average player will finish this in around two hours, as mentioned at the beginning of this review. Considering the £6.99 price tag on Steam, that’s not a lot of game for something with no replay value whatsoever – especially when you consider the same game is just £2.49 on iOS devices.

For that same £6.99 Steam price tag or under, you can get games like Proteus, Dear Esther, the acclaimed Fez or even The Room, all of which are relaxing puzzle adventures.


All of which offer far more game for your money.

Jim Smale

Gaming since the Atari 2600, I enjoy the weirdness in games counting Densha De Go and RC De Go as my favourite titles of all time. I prefer gaming of old where buying games from a shop was a thing, Being social in person was a thing. Join me as I attempt to adapt to this new digital age!