Imagine the future 3000 years from now. Do you see Earth as the centre of a galaxy-spanning human race? Tech so advanced that our biggest issues are now a trifle to deal with? Historical records so accurate that our descendants will be able to experience how we live now? Hold those thoughts. Everything the developers of Mutropolis have envisioned is basically the opposite of that. Instead, in this point and click puzzler Earth is abandoned following a cataclysmic event, humans have been living on Mars for 3000 years, and the historical records leave a great deal to be desired.
Henry is our protagonist in Mutropolis’ tale. An archaeologist, he’s a member of Professor Totel’s team which heads to Earth for an excavation. The point of this excavation is to find some proof of the mythological city of Mutropolis, but this party isn’t the only group looking for it. In this world the Egyptian gods are real, and a few of them are interested in finding the location too. So begins a tale of alliances, betrayals, puzzles, and Henry’s trusty trowel.
The story of Mutropolis is told across three acts and through each one you’ll be expected to solve puzzles with the items you pick up, much like other point and click games. The first act sets up the story nicely and lasts for just the right amount of time. None of the solutions are too taxing to work out, with the game’s logic easy to understand. The puzzles themselves have solutions that feel a bit out there at times, but the opening section does at least act as a useful introduction.
Then you get to the second act. There is nothing against the story or the characters in this act, but it does drag on for far longer than it should. In any point and click adventure a good puzzle is one that knows when it should end. In act two there is a single major puzzle that has a host of smaller puzzles linked to it, and it feels like one or two could have been cut. Instead, it serves to slow the narrative down when there is supposed to be some haste due to the situation. The majority of puzzles do follow something akin to logic but then there are some that are absolute headscratchers. You know what the result will be, but the path there seems too obtuse. There are also the red herrings in the environment which you can click on and interact with but have no value as part of a puzzle. There seem to be quite a few of these in act two compared to the other acts.
The final act is the most interesting of the three. It adds more depth to the act of exploration in Mutropolis. Using maps and navigation points to mark areas of interest is quite fun, and the characters introduced in this act are memorable. The puzzles ease off here, though they might require some experimentation with the items you have. The humour is at its best in this act too, with the character arcs having some satisfying conclusions.
Mutropolis is a good-looking game, with hand-drawn scenes popping with colour. One issue however is that you can’t always tell what’s interactable and what is not. For example, in act two a rather important piece of needed equipment blended in with the foreground art and it was only by accident that I found it at all. A highlight system would be a welcome addition if you get stuck, just so you can see what can be interacted with. It has been used in other titles and is something that feels like it should be standard across the genre. The voice acting in Mutropolis is very good too with characters given life as they react to situations appropriately depending on their personalities. The music felt quite muted throughout though, and it was a shame it wasn’t more memorable.