Do you remember the first video game you ever played? When I was young, video games were nothing compared to what they are today, but I remember playing a computer game based on the Madeline and wandering the streets of Paris, as well as the classic Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy on the original Xbox. These games were brightand cheerful, with friendly characters and extremely simple storylines. The Path of Motus by MichaelArts is clearly targeted toward young players, but it adds fresh and new elements to the children’s genre of video games: not only does it test your problem solving skills with surprisingly perplexing puzzles, it also incorporates a strong anti-bullying message that touches upon a serious issue faced by children in real life.
Set in a fantastical forest, the game opens with the main protagonist, a young boy named Motus, setting off on a quest into the heart of the woods. Motus’s father tells him that his quest is a silly idea compared to the practical alternative of pursuing a “career” in farming, which struck me as humorous but also similar to growing up in real life. Additionally, veryone tells him that no one has ever returned from the forest—a rather concerning fact that would be enough to deter me—but he is determined. As you enter the forest, you encounter several rather nasty boys Motus’s age who call him “Grasshead” and shoot lethal magic sparkles at him, and in order to progress through the map you have to shoot back. I honestly did not know exactly what to make of this—if this is a game teaching a message about anti-bullying, why do you just shoot the buillies to make them disappear? Does Motus ever confront his tormentors or, I don’t know, have a heart-to-heart chat with them? Perhaps this happens later on in the game, but as for right now, Motus just deals with his problems with lethal sparkles.
Furthermore, there are other obstacles in the forest; occasionally you willl be faced with a puzzle that requires problem solving skills. Sometimes it is because of the layout and configuration of the bullies: your enemies are placed strategically on different logs, and you often have to time your shots just right in order to jump up to the next level or pass through the area. Another interesting aspect is that you block incoming shots by shooting your own sparkles, so you often have to shoot multiple times to make them disappear. The trick is that there are several different keys on the keyboard that shoot sparkles, but each enemy requires a different key. What’s more, the specific key might change as you fight the enemy, so your reflexes also come into play. Lastly, at times you come across a chasm that requires a bridge to get across, and you build the bridge by solving intricate puzzles that involve connecting multiple dots in a certain configuration. In my opinion, this elevates the game and makes enjoyable, even for older and more experienced players.
All in all, The Path of Motus is a surprise, both in its hidden challenges and its strong (if sometimes confusing) anti-bullying message. Whether you are a kid or a full-grown adult, I recommend you give it a try!
Take a Look at The Path of Motus Trailer:
The Path of Motus is available for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC via Steam for $14.99.
From the moment I first played Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy on the original Xbox, I have always had an avid curiosity and enthusiasm for video games. I admire their ability to immerse us in completely different worlds, and I am always eager to see how they integrate the newest breakthroughs in digital technology to make virtual reality feel real. I am currently a senior at UC Berkeley, but when I'm not studying I always make time to play Xbox One with my younger brother.