Macrotis is a neat puzzle platformer that does a wonderful job of blending 3D graphics with 2D puzzles. A short but sweet title that may have a few bugs to iron out, but hits the key points with surprising accuracy.
Macrotis is the story of a mother Bilby, some fantasy creature reminiscent of a rat/mouse combination, that gets swept away in a great flood, separating her from her children. Her goal is to get back to her children, using all the tools at her disposal to do so.
You start out with some standard fare for the puzzle platform genre, being able to push and pull blocks, jump, and climb walls. As you progress through the story you uncover plotholes, er, more about the world. And magic, you also get magic. The ability to send a spiritual self off to interact with objects, and the ability to make a wall. All your abilities come together in puzzle challenges that range between “oh that’s simple” to “for the love of Cthullu, why?!?”.
For a puzzle platformer this is actually a really good thing to notice, as the earlier puzzles in a stage get you used to a mechanic before slapping you upside the face with a rotten card while screaming “get it done, wimp”. Unfortunately for those playing, not all the mechanics are explained particularly well, or at all. While the spectral body ability is taught quite well, what you can do with the wall is…spotty, at best. It took me some time to figure out you’re able to put a wall on pressure plate switches. Well, sometimes.
The game is super finicky about what you are and aren’t allowed to do, and doesn’t necessarily indicate whether you can or cannot do something that you just did for a previous puzzle. I’m fairly certain a couple of the puzzles I solved by performing some convoluted monstrosity of a plan, when simply placing a brick, or later a wall, in the right place would have sufficed. To add to this, the blocks are a little wonky as well. If you get “crushed” by one (read as nudged slightly in the wrong direction) you get killed, or knocked out or something, and must restart the puzzle. Thankfully this isn’t the most punishing I’ve seen, as it’s only the puzzle that you’re currently in the middle of that gets restarted.
Macrotis can be rather frustrating at times, as block physics sometimes has you stuck in a perpetual slide, or sends a block flying into space, or into your face, causing you die. Additionally, there was a comment near the beginning of the game how the storm that caused the flooding was magical in nature, or something to that effect, but is never touched upon or explained other than just “yeah, it’s a thing”. Also, somehow I managed to get all the collectibles and clear the game without unlocking the achievement for clearing act 2 hardest puzzle, so that’s also a thing for you fellow completionists out there. While levers and switches are USUALLY clearly indicated, sometimes they can really blend into the background, or foreground more often. I’m pretty sure on one or two occasions I spent five to ten minutes utterly baffled just because I couldn’t see the switch.
That being said, the graphics are colorful and really do add that extra oomph to the areas you traverse. Also good news, there’s no underwater levels, so bonus points for that. The soundtrack is rather forgettable, but not bad enough to be frustrating or require extra personal background music.
While the plot is rather cliché, I do have to admit that the puzzles are well thought out, if not a little sketchy at times, and the platforming and puzzle solving are more often than not distinctly reasonable, if not apparent at first glance. While I would like to see more in this style of game from Proud Dinosaur in the future, there does need to be a little bit of cleanup before I can really sink into it.
Some of the puzzles devolve into template motions after a while, and while there are quite a few well crafted puzzles, some of the worse ones are, well, pretty annoying to be honest. The fact that the voice lines that are given mid puzzle get repeated every time you have to retry is also up there in the “infuriating “ category. I’m not a fan of children in general, much less hearing about what a good cook some rat’s third son is over and over again, just because the block I need to push keeps getting caught in a hole, or shakes just enough to kill me and force me to restart the puzzle