Metamorphosis: A surreal adventure inspired by the curious imagination of Franz Kafka

Genre:   Adventure

Developer:   Ovid Works

Publisher:    IAll in! Games

Released:  August 12, 2020

PC Requirements:   Windows 7a, 2.4 GHz Intel Core i5 (2nd gen) or AMD FX 6350, 8GB RAM, 12 GB Free hard disk space, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 or AMD R9 270X  




by Flotsam

Inspired by Franz Kafka, after a little bit of settling in I had a scuttlingly good time with this.

You are Gregor, a bug who was a person until he woke up this morning. Your friend Joseph has been arrested for reasons unknown, a not insignificant aspect of the journey to follow. Not as significant of course as why on earth you are a bug, and whether you can do anything about it.

A tower is mentioned. Not just a tower, but The Tower. It's clearly important so best get going.

Being a bug gives you a unique perspective and it took me a little while to get used to it. You are close to the ground, which helps in some things but makes other things more difficult, and it also means you have to get very close to an edge in order to see that it is indeed an edge, as well as what lies below (a short drop to another surface or a splattering on a distant surface). It can be vertiginous at times - I crept down some surfaces inch by literal inch throughout the game - and falling too far is fatal. Helpfully your bug legs seem particularly good at hanging on, and once you get into the hang of things (about 15 minutes I found) you are off and running.

Helpfully too the Tab key (the default setting) will give you an overhead or wide angle view of your immediate surroundings, indicating both where you are and either the direction of your objective or the location of the objective itself. It can help in orienting oneself, and in plotting a path towards wherever it is you need to go.

You do have to do some jumping, as well as a bit of dodging, and you can meet an icky end. It isn't too hard, but I did fall more than once, at which stage the game returns you to an earlier point, usually just before the relevant sequence but sometimes part way through it if it is a bit lengthy. You do seem to be able to "steer" a bit while in mid-air, enabling you to re-orient an overly vigorous leap.

You also need to accomplish all sorts of tasks; stamp that document, start that projector, find a workforce. Red tape seems to be the bane of a bug's life every bit as our own.

All the relevant aspects considered, it could have been diabolical. The end result is anything but. I thought the balance was excellent; a platforming type of challenge here and there, the biggest challenge though the result of simply being a bug.

Speaking of which, your forelegs in the foreground are an excellent touch.

You can scrabble up all sorts of things, and will come to realise how ambitious you can be in where you might be able to go. Further, when stepping in the sticky substances you find now and then you can literally walk up walls, indeed on any surface where you aren't completely upside down. Little drops in the lower left will indicate how much "sticky" you have left. The perspective will change while you have your sticky feet engaged, and it will look like you are walking horizontally, which is rather nifty, but if you disengage too soon you will fall, so you still need to be mindful of where you are and what you are doing, and ensure you reach a normal

You can't do a lot as a bug, but you can rotate certain surfaces, and the game will indicate when and how you can do so. In that regard, it is good at giving feedback as you settle into things.

Metamorphosis is visually marvellous, a colourful, detailed, and at times surreal world. The other bugs you encounter, more so in the second half of the game, are full of character and richly varied. This is not the icky reality of Bad Mojo but a vibrant cacophony of things and places and beings.

You can overhear humans talking to each other, read things you might scrabble across, and converse with other bugs in a chittering guttural language helpfully translated through subtitles. Ambient sounds and a soundtrack of high quality sit underneath, coming to the fore when events or circumstances warrant.

While the Joseph thread is significant in the bigger tale, I did think that tale sat off to the side. I was curious but not invested, it being an adjunct to the treat of making my way through the world. That is not to say it isn't relevant, just that it wasn't the main aspect for me.

The game is played with the keyboard and mouse, and you can map the keys to suit your preferences. You can fiddle with a variety of settings, and the game saves at certain points. I thought these were generous, and didn't ever stress that I had done too much without having had a save.

It took me just under 4 hours, and it really was very good.

I played on:

OS: Windows 10, 64 Bit
Processor: Intel i7-9700K 3.7GHz
RAM: Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB DDR4 32GB
Video card: AMD Radeon RX 580 8192MB

October, 2020

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