Morphopolis isn't quite like anything you've ever played before. It's a game in which you'll add the legs to a dying beetle before crawling into its shattered shell to transform into your next incarnation, or use twigs to dislodge a stick insect and then use it as a bridge.
It's a beguiling, gorgeous mix of exploration, frustration, and hidden objects that blends together to create a game that delights and disturbs in equal measure. And while sometimes it's a little on the esoteric side, it's still engaging enough to recommend.
Change is good
The game tells the story of an insect, scuttling around in a gorgeous 2D world full of other insects, disturbing-looking plants, and seeds. Each of the five levels is broken up into a number of different screens.
Tapping on other insects, and some plants, shows you what you need to find to move them out of the way. Sometimes there's a puzzle once you've found what you're looking for. Other times there's a brief cutscene and a clearing of space.
Some of the hidden objects are a little too hidden, and you'll need to tap on the question mark in the corner of the screen to get a hint to root them out. There are no tutorials or guides for the puzzles, either, so you'll need to work things out on your own.
The lack of hand-holding is refreshing, but it can also sometimes lead to frustration, as you stare at a puzzle without the foggiest idea what it is you're supposed to be doing. And that frustration can quickly lead to boredom.
Change is bad
Morphopolis's greatest strength is also its greatest weakness, and that's a shame. Things do get a little repetitive as well - especially when you know you're going to need to collect the orange seeds on every level, but the game won't let you grab them until you've completed all the other tasks it sets.
But there's enough here, from the gorgeous backdrops to the often intriguing puzzles, that those who persevere will find one of the most unusual experiences that smartphone and tablet gaming has to offer.
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