Back in the 90's, games featuring animals were the rage. Ty, Gex, Banjo and that bird he kidnapped, Spyro – they were all fighting for, and winning, the hearts of gamers. Two decades later, Macrotis: A Mother's Journey tries to get some of that magic back in 2.5D form.
You are a Bilby (it's a sort of rat-like thing) and a mother to a bunch of kids. They're swept away during a storm, and it's up to you to go and find them. Honestly, the story should have stopped there and ran with it, but then they added in dead wizards, spirit projections and all sorts of modern-y things which really complicated a story that should have been so simple – a mom getting her kids back. It should have been better, but they just kept adding.
Being a PC game, your controls are your keyboard. Also, being 2.5D, it's largely platforming, so unless you're ghosting or doing something rare, it's basically just jumping. And on Steam, it largely works.
I have to say – the graphics here are gorgeous. The natural world opens up like a non-glowing Pandora. Water looks very realistic. Things like spider-webs look majestic. Rocks look like they were each individually rendered in a different way. Even the mouse-thing doesn't look too bad. However a few things, like spiders, look like they're from another game with their oddly lower resolution. A lot of work went into this, and there were only a few rough patches left to smooth out.
As far as gameplay goes, it's pretty much a platformer with gimmicks. There's basically one dynamic where you have a spirit/ghost come out of you to do things. It's supposed to be that sort of thing where you're allowed to break physics, but it comes off as too much of a gimmick and doesn't mesh well with everything going on. Other than that, it's exploring, platforming, and puzzle solving, which is all pretty fun.
The music in Macrotis is either ambience or this cool, earthy music that, unlike other elements, totally fits the game and adds a lot to it. Sounds are... less cool. The mouse talks, and it's not great. The voice actress doesn't fit at all, and the voice acting comes out of nowhere; it just clips past all other sounds like it's on a whole other plane of existence. Other than that the sounds work fine, but if it didn't have voice acting and instead went with noises like real animals, the experience would have been much better.
The game performed well. For all that was going on, the frame rates never lapsed at all (except for a few seconds in one very busy level), and there were no real glitches to speak of. It was smooth. Not much more to say on this.
Macrotis: A Mother's Journey had a lot of positive points but ended up doing a lot of extra things that made it a bit of a mess. The story was good, but then they added a bunch to it and messed it up. The music was good, but then they made the main character talk. Graphics were great, but then they tacked on a few and made it too much. Macrotis is fun to play, but it could have been better. Like Duke each year in basketball, they added too much and tried too hard. It's still entertaining, though.
Final Score: 7 out of 10
A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of review.