Metamorphosis Review – “Painfully Thin”
Links for Metamorphosis
Inspiration can be found anywhere. Life, politics, art, even in just the tiniest of things like bugs or routines. As a creative writer myself, it can be almost amazing what you’ll find that inspires you. So when I happened upon a game that claimed to be inspired by the works of one Franz Kafka, as a reader of his most famous work, I had to give it a try. What I found was a game called Metamorphosis.
Metamorphosis is a first person story-driven puzzle adventure game developed by Ovid Works and published by All In! Games. In this, they attempt to use the famous short story to create a story of their own.
“Woke From Troubled Dreams”
Of course, everyone knows the story of Metamorphosis. Everyday salesman Gregor Samsa finds himself turned into a bug. This game takes that story and does more with it. Instead of living his life as a bug until he eventually passes, he is told of an organization known as Tower, which will give him (along with other people who have also turned into bugs) a job and a way to turn back into a human.
To do this, he has to get there. Metamorphosis is a game that focuses more on the moving from place to place than the puzzles themselves. As a bug, you’ll be moving through some strange environments: the large interiors of the apartment building and the dark, dusty caves inside the walls. As you move between the mundane and average, you’ll encounter these otherworldly areas with large mushrooms and colorful effigies. And that’s not all; you’ll see plenty of interesting sights along the way. The environment design is to be praised for its wonderful work, especially when in conjunction with this unique artstyle.
“‘Open The Door, I Beg Of You'”
But to get to these strange environments, you’ll have to solve your way through the puzzles Metamorphosis throws at you. The puzzles are rather simple in nature, not requiring a whole lot of thought. Most of it will be pressing buttons and rolling things, or using the one actually interesting mechanic of stepping in a sticky liquid so you can walk up walls. And that’s the gist of it. Simple.
At some points, the game will forgo puzzles just to have you explore around a place to find things out. In these segments, which aren’t too often, you’ll discover more about the world, do tiny errands, and meet the somewhat interesting characters that, altogether, I didn’t care much about. I can’t say there’s a single character I found interest in, even Samsa himself. Which could be due to the fact that most of the characters with personality had the same voice lines of barely comprehensible bug gibberish.
But it’s good sounding bug gibberish, as well as the variety of sounds you’ll hear throughout Metamorphosis. Each place will have its own unique sounds along with its unique environment. Not only that, but the music carried the game well, giving each place an intriguing sound that gave a voice to the sources of wonder around you.
However, that all ends once you get far enough into it that things start to feel a bit… stale. The lack of interesting mechanics, besides the sticky legs, just makes every puzzle feel like you know what to do immediately. Sticky legs, rolling things, or press a button, that’s it. They could’ve pushed the bug factor more, had a mechanic where you borrow traits from other bugs, or even cocoon yourself to gain wings. But they didn’t, so the biggest thing they had going for them is the story and characters.
“Completely Dried Up and Flat”
And as I’ve said before, the characters aren’t much. They have a few differing bug models, so the most they could do to differentiate them is color them separately. Then there’s the story, and I’m afraid to say, regardless of how many references to Kafka’s works there are, there isn’t much. As things reach the climax, you don’t feel the build up, there’s no tension, just wonder. All it is is showing you new interesting things with nothing more to add to the plot.
So, by the time the credits roll, no matter which of the two endings I got, I felt nothing. I was expecting an interesting take on one of the most well-known short stories in literature and I got a story with a weak theme, weak plot, and weak ending. This game had potential and did nothing with it. I felt like I got more of an experience out of a thirty minute VR visual novel.
Yes, this is a pretty game, and it takes you to some wild places, but it was not worth the asking price at all. If you have any interest in this game at all, I’d recommend waiting on a good sale. And I mean a good sale.
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Reviewed by Freelance 7 on PC. Game provided by All in! Games.