I’ve been to the year 5000; not much has changed but we live on Mars
It’s the year 5000, and it’s time for another full day of excavation work on Earth. You’re lucky — only a select few have been fortunate enough to travel to the Blue Planet after the Cataclysm 3,000 years ago. Everyone you love is back on your home planet of Mars (your mothers are both very proud of you!); it’s just you and your fellow archaeologists digging around for signs of civilizations past. You were pretty sure it was going to be another normal day when *gasp* you and the entire crew happen to stumble upon a lead for the legendary ancient city of Mutropolis! Before you can truly delve deeper into the miraculous find, *gasp again* your professor was suddenly kidnapped by a mysterious force! It seems the professor and Mutropolis are connected somehow, and by finding both, you and the team can save the professor, the fabled city, and something far deeper…
So begins Mutropolis, a brightly illustrated, fully voiced point and click adventure set in humanity’s far future. Developed by two-person Spanish indie team Pirita Studio and published by Application Systems Heidelberg, Mutropolis is available on Steam for a launch price of $19.99 USD. With dozens of delightful achievements to unlock after traipsing through many different environments with a colorful cast of characters, Mutropolis is sure to please any fan of traditional point and click adventures looking for something new to sink their teeth into.
Players take on the role of Dr. Henry Dijon, and archaeologist who gets very excited about discovering any remnants from pre-Cataclysmic times. With his colleagues Carlata, Luc, Micro, Cobra, Totel, and Max the Robot, Dijon helps humanity back on Mars learn more about their beginnings on Earth. Everything was going swimmingly until Dijon, Totel, and the rest stumbled upon a lead to the fabled city of Mutropolis, resulting in Totel’s kidnapping. The rest of the crew heads back to their lab to see if they can find any info that would help them find their professor. While poking around the campus for clues, Dijon stumbles upon a beautiful stranger, some shocking info, and a ton of different items that will ultimately help the crew find Totel and Mutropolis. Can they find the mysterious city, their friend, and solve a riddle as old as time itself in the process?
Controls in Mutropolis are extremely simple, as they’re all mouse-based (point and click). The art style is utterly charming, and the animation surprised me with its fluidity and grace — something about the movements reminded me a bit of old Flash games. The music was really chill and predominantly atmospheric, which I always appreciate when it comes to puzzle games. The writing is full of personality, cheeky at times (as is tradition with many point and clicks) yet always entertaining. The cherry on top was the full voice-acting; while not a required component of a great game, it can certainly take one up a notch when done well, which is exactly what happened here. And with complete subtitles on top of that? *chef’s kiss*
Mutropolis’ puzzles are very involved, but due to the large amount of items you can just stumble upon, chances are you won’t struggle for too long — at least, not in comparison to other games in the genre. Speaking of, what I liked most about Mutropolis’ puzzles is that the items you collected and assembled together made some semblance of sense. Far too many point and clicks have players piecing together the wackiest contraptions just by guessing; in Mutropolis, the items just felt far more intuitive. Like you knew that a paperclip would turn into a lockpick once you saw the gigantic lock and a textbook explaining how to make one, and it was easy enough to figure out you’d need to collect fingerprints upon discovery of a fingerprinting kit and a device that required prints that belonged to another person. How you get from start to finish on those puzzles may have plenty of steps in between, but in the very least there’s some logic rooted in those steps.
By far, my most favorite part of Mutropolis had to be the world-building component. As the game takes place 3,000 years in the future, there’s a lot to learn about the new environment; conversely, Dijon is learning about what happened to Earth before the Cataclysm, which happened roughly around the real world’s modern day (uh-oh). So while players are clicking around on all possible items to try to progress, Dijon elaborates on what he knows about those items and their historical context. It’s interesting to see what survived the Cataclysm, such as a credit card or actual mummies, but it’s exasperating in a funny way to hear Dijon explain what they know, which is often jarring or incorrect; for example, Jane Austen is noted as being one of the few authors whose works survived the Cloud Storage Wars in the 2300s and dinosaurs are referred to as “dinotaurs” with total sincerity. Not only was it fun to learn about Dijon’s world, it was fun to learn about what he “knew” of ours.
Mutropolis is definitely one of the better point and clicks I’ve played in recent memory, and was a pleasant surprise on every front presented. I genuinely enjoyed every moment I spent with it — even when stuck — because it was such a joy to look at and explore. There were a few times I got stuck, certainly, but nothing that kept me from progressing for too long. If you like point and click games with good puzzles, great depth, and an incredibly unique story with fun characters, your quest for Mutropolis ends here.
Final Verdict: 4.5/5
Available on: PC (reviewed); Publisher: Application Systems Heidelberg; Developer: Pirita Studio; Players: 1; Released: February 18, 2021; MSRP: $19.99
Editor’s note: This review is based on a retail copy of Mutropolis provided by the publisher.