Game Info:

Macrotis: A Mother’s Journey
Developed By: Proud Dinosaurs
Published By: Orsam Information Technologies
Released: February 8, 2019
Available On: macOS, Windows
Genre: Puzzle
ESRB Rating: None
Number of Players: Single player
Price: $9.99
(Humble Store Link)

Thank you Proud Dinosaurs for sending us this game to review!

Macrotis: A Mother’s Journey centers around a bilby mother who gave birth to her youngest during a large storm, which ended up washing her away from her beloved children. She was deposited at the bottom of a cave, and thus has to find her way up and out in order for her to see her children again. The story starts with a cutscene explaining how she got into the cave she’s stuck in, with the storm sweeping her away and leaving the children behind.

The game’s environment is very well constructed, with good music and beautiful 3D rendered graphics. The orchestral tracks are available as downloadable content on Steam for $1.99, and they fit the setting quite well. Occasionally, it seems like the music loops a little, and the transitions are sudden, but it’s not an issue that has particularly bothered me. There is voice acting also scattered throughout the various puzzles, whether it serves to enhance the storytelling or provide puzzle hints for the player. This is also conducted to a high level of quality, as the emotion in the characters’ voice sounds natural and not forced, as well as not sounding robotic. Every time Macrotis is fully restarted, and the player presses the Continue button, the last storybook-style cutscene that the user saw is played, and can be skipped upon pressing and holding a button.

Macrotis: A Mother’s Journey

Strong Points: Well-executed story; plot integrates itself into the puzzles; talented voice acting; stunning graphics; fitting music; autosaves after every puzzle; partial controller support; Steam Cloud
Weak Points: Puzzles are simple, but very tedious; controls tripped me up, despite being simple; puzzles require exact timing to complete, which is very hard to achieve in many situations
Moral Warnings: Fantasy style magic; a character passes their soul to the player character; meditation to achieve an out-of-body state which is required to complete many of the later puzzles

When the player is introduced to the first puzzles, and as they gain new abilities, the game will teach them how to use each function so that they have some semblance on how to proceed through each puzzle. As the character progresses through the cave, each area she runs into is a puzzle that needs to be solved in order to access the next area, which is inevitably another puzzle. A few notable things that increase the challenge level of the puzzles include the character’s inability to swim or double jump, which requires creative solutions to overcome.

Some puzzles are much easier than others, but most of the puzzles are fairly difficult due to the necessary levels of precision required, especially when it comes to matters of timing. Most of them are also very tedious, and as a result very annoying. A lot of the puzzles were so tedious and/or difficult that I was brought into a high-strung state of frustration within around ten to twenty minutes. What makes some of the puzzles even worse is that they may be simple on paper, but the amount of precision necessary makes the challenge nearly impossible to complete, which only raised my frustration more.

The controls did not help my struggle in any way, shape, or form; they only made it worse. No matter whether I used my keyboard or my controller, the puzzles still taunted me with the seemingly easy to master controls and unattainable precision. In concept, they are easy to master, as there aren’t many to learn, but many of them tended to trip me up and slow me down as a result. There were not many keys that had a function, but many of the necessary tasks needed to be achieved with tricky key-binds and button combinations. Said key-binds continually tripped me up, and I ended up accidentally performing the wrong action and completely ruining my progress because of it.

Macrotis: A Mother’s Journey
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 74%
Gameplay - 12/20
Graphics - 10/10
Sound - 8/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 2/5

Morality Score - 94%
Violence - 10/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural – 7/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

One would think that I would have overcome this, being a quick learner, but no. Even a simple thing such as hanging from the edge of a surface has to be corrected with the press of a certain button, and it won’t correct itself unless the player presses that button. If they press any other button, the character will start to climb up, but then immediately return to its original hanging position. If it weren’t for the fact that the game autosaves after every puzzle, and allows as many restarts as are necessary (to the point where they included a restart button in the controls), this game would have driven me insane.

The only saving grace of the gameplay is the storyline, which is extremely well crafted. It takes the player on a journey and brings them to empathize with the likable yet heroic protagonist. Despite the utter frustration that the puzzles themselves brought me, the story was still very enjoyable to watch unfold. The story also serves to add new abilities to take advantage of in the puzzles, and those abilities become vital to passing them.

Morally, however, there are still a few things I noticed. There is a wizard character who dies and has to pass his soul into the protagonist’s body in order to live on. This grants the player character the magical ability to project themselves out of their body via meditation, which is necessary to complete all puzzles afterwards. Other than that, though, there aren’t any notable moral issues that presented themselves, in the storyline or otherwise.

Macrotis: A Mother’s Journey is a beautifully produced story-immersive puzzle game that is definitely not for the faint of heart. Once the player gets past the utter difficulty and precision required for the puzzles, there lies an incredibly told plot for them to follow and enjoy.

- Kittycathead