Motte Island is a low-fi horror game, with a top-down perspective. Your objective is to go into Motte Island to save your sister from the townsfolk, and uncover whatever secrets they were hiding.
You'll probably be able to finish the game in 3 or 4 hours, and while there are different endings, it does not warrant a replay, since the endings are merely decided by the final section of the game. There are collectible photos spread around, though, each providing a cutscene for you to learn more about the island. Presentation
As I said, this is a very low fidelity
game, especially regarding its artstyle. The goodside is that low-fi actually works great with horror games! While everything is low-res, dark and full of blurry fog, it sets a nice atmosphere, and lets your mind piece in what's missing.
However, it's not a pretty game at all, on the contrary, it's quite ugly. Lone Survivor or even Home, were low-fi, but still weren't as ugly and Motte Island is. But overall, I think it sets the tone, and achieves its purpose!
Animation is very limited as well, which is more noticeable in the cutscenes, but it's not a big deal in the whole scheme of things.
The sound design
in general was pretty good, actually! Everything worked towards the same atmosphere, and there was also a more oppressive track whenever you were engaged in battle. Unfortunately, the track was always the same, which got tiresome at times.
There were also a couple of jump-scares thrown in, but were quite repetitive, losing its effect.
The enemies didn't sound very scary, but all of the other ambience sounds were good.
It's not perfect, but taking its scope into account, I think it comes out as a positive, and helps the game!
So far so good! Now comes my reasoning for not recommending this game.
I see what it's trying to do, but similarly to Eleusis, the game itself is not interesting
at all. It has a great atmosphere
, but lacks purpose and place to use that atmosphere in.
Most of the time, you'll be traveling around the island (which is essentially just a small village), collecting random items. And, very much like Eleusis, they force you to go back and forth several times while you could easily collect several items at once. (These also blend in with the ground, at times, making them very hard to see... this, of course, increases frustration when you're just constantly walking around, not sure what you're looking for)
While you have (supposedly) 3 guns in the game, I only found one, and even that was necessary to the story and not through exploration. What I did find, was a bunch of ammo that I didn't get to use... And some enemies also carried guns that you couldn't pick up, for some unknown reason. Missed chance.
This means that I've only used melee weapons for the whole game. Think of it as Hotline Miami. But instead of the very fast in-and-out, twitch gameplay, each enemy requires several hits to die (you have light/heavy
attacks, but the heavy are mostly for stealth), so you'll just hit them and backing off repeatedly. A more reliable way of doing it, is using stealth. You can approach enemies from behind, and kill them in 1 hit.
... or you can just run away from them. Why would you do it? Because they respawn. Yes, every time you enter/exit an area, the enemies respawn. This really does defeat the tension. There's a lot of pointless fighting, and not much fear. While I did kill them at first, I eventually just started running away since fighting was pointless and laborious. While there is a decent number of weapons, they all play similarly, so it's not exactly a positive.
So yeah. The atmosphere is completely wasted on shores and backtracking, as well as too much "safe" combat.
Aside from this main gameplay, there also 2 other sections: a side-scroller, and a cover-based fps.
In the first, you "drive" a car, while obstacles come down from the top of the screen. This was the most disorienting experience I've had with gaming in a loooong time. Everything happened too fast, with the obstacles sending you flying to the sides... Jesus... I'm not even sure it was possible to fail. I was hitting almost everything (it was unpleasant) but eventually go through with it.
Then, there's the fps sections. One functions as a mini horde mode, and the other as a Boss fight. You can shoot, and you can be in cover, reloading. It wasn't very good either. The hit detections, specially, was not very tight. And there were always enemies spawning in the limits of the screen. In the last boss fight it was especially bad...
These two sections are extremely forced and have no place in the game, to be honest. I understand "variety", but come one!...
One last aspect I want to mention, is the story/writing. It's... bad. And I'm not talking about the number of grammatical errors (quite a lot), but the actual story and characters. The plot is completely senseless. For example, the villagers act like a bunch of maniacs, but suddenly, they're not the bad guys because everything goes to s***. It makes no sense how they're portrayed. It's a very artificial way of making you dislike them. And that would be fine, if they didn't change their minds halfway through. By then, how could I side with the villagers?
My actions from that point onwards made no sense, which threw the story out the window. The dialogue is also pretty cheesy, but hey...
I'm sounding really negative here. To be completely honest, I did enjoy the game during the first 2 hours. It was cool, the atmosphere immersed me more than I was expecting, and everything was well, while I was exploring the village. Unfortunately, it then started just going in circles, and then introduced very rushed mechanics, ruining the overall experience.
I can see what it was trying to do, and it's unfortunate that it simply didn't get there quite yet. But it has a couple of good aspects about it, so I'll look forward to their next game. Hopefuly, they'll learn from mistakes and make much more competent experiences!