Indie games have a wonderful opportunity to address major issues and topics in our everyday lives in unique and different ways, outside of the standard AAA tropes. The Path of Motus is a fantastic example of this, tackling the entire concept of hurtful words in a unique, and colorful, game about a little goblin boy.
You play as a young goblin named Motus, who heads out on a n adventure with a plan to build a series of bridges through the forest. You see, for generations his village has been trapped inside this mysterious forest, and anyone who even attempted to leave soon returned hopeless and defeated. On his quest, Motus will meet many bullies standing in his way, and using their own words to stop him.
There’s obviously a TON of symbolism and metaphor at play in The Path of Motus: The use of words as weapons, the act of building bridges, the concept of being trapped in a forest and being unable to escape, but it doesn’t come of as heavy handed or cheesy, just heart felt.
One of The Path of Motus’ most interesting mechanics, and the element that first really grabbed my attention is the Verbal Combat system. Motus will meet bullies that will yell a variety of deadly words, each there own color. You have to then counter their words, with your own words of the right type, and then deal with them. It’s a bit like a 2D shooter met Simon, where you’re having to match the colors of the enemy attacks and then decide which of your own colors to send out.
While the verbal combat makes up much of the level’s combat, the real meat of the puzzles in The Path of Motus are the Bridge Building sections. Each Bridge is made up of a series of nodes, some with a number indicating how many lines must be attached to it. While the first bridges I ran into were very simple puzzles to solve, I can see this getting complex quite quickly.
Additionally, this same formula is turned on it’s head with the Thought Doors you’ll also run into, puzzles that are meant to convey what Motus is feeling throughout the story. The Path of Motus makes signifcant efforts to tell this story nonverbally as you play, which so far not only seems successfully executed, but a nice change from the often unsubtle ways that stories are told.
I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw with The Path of Motus, not only offering up some challenging puzzles and unique game mechanics, but also making an effort to do something a bit more with the medium, and trying to impart an important lesson to those playing the game.
The Path of Motus will launch on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Steam this summer.