Panmorphia Review: Change Your Shape, Change Your Perspective

Panmorphia

By: LKMAD

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Panmorphia is the first point-and-click adventure game from single-person developer LKMAD. Actual photos taken around the island of Cyprus were used to make the scenery for the game, and the beauty of the place really shines through. The imagery is what originally caught my attention and got me to play. The colors are lush, flowers are plentiful, and it makes me want to move to Cyprus.

While the visuals are gorgeous, there is definitely a lot more to the game than a pretty face. The puzzles are varied, often challenging, and there’s no hand-holding here (sometimes to a fault). If you want a game that will make you use your brain a bit, Panmorphia is a good choice. But what really sets the game apart from others like it, is the ability to change into different animals. I’ve payed games where you can control the seasons (like The Lost City), or even day and night, but I can’t recall any that allow the player to change into other animals. What’s really interesting with this is that each morph changes your perspective. You can reach areas you couldn’t before, as well as see things that weren’t obvious with your human eyes. This adds a lot to the puzzle elements of the game, as you need to revisit the same locations and examine them from a new vantage point.

I thoroughly enjoyed the game, but there were some frustrating moments. My main gripe with the game is that it takes a second or two to load each screen. This is due to the game engine, but it makes backtracking to look for something feel like more of a chore than it should be. It made me more likely to use a hint here and there instead of exploring on my own. Still, this shouldn’t keep you from giving this wonderful game a chance. The good definitely outweighs the bad. It would be a shame to miss out on it over such a minor issue.

The other problem I had with the game is that the navigation is a bit weird, as it’s hard to tell how to get from one screen to another until you tap around and get there. It’s not always logical. For instance, just in the very beginning, tapping the bottom of the screen turns you around, when usually tapping the bottom of the screen in a first-person adventure game would send you to the previous screen. But this is only really an issue when you’re initially exploring. Once you know your way around and have a feel for the game, navigating is much simpler. 

I played both on my iPad and my iPhone, and it was definitely more enjoyable with the bigger screen. It’s doable on the small screen, but if you have a tablet available, I highly recommend using it. Some items can be difficult to see, as they’re hidden a little too well into the scenery. This becomes a bigger issue on a smaller screen. But if you know you need to look for a specific item, like a gear, it makes a huge difference.

There’s a map and notebook to help you keep track of all the clues you find, which is very handy. But if these aren’t enough, there are also in-game hints for when you get truly stuck, and they’ll tell you exactly what to do next and where. I would have preferred more of a nudge in the right direction instead of it telling me exactly what to do. But the hints are on a five-minute timer, so at least people can’t take advantage of it and use it to get through the entire game without thinking for themselves. But if you do need more help, you can also try my step-by-step walkthrough. There’s also an easy mode that highlights items, so if you don’t like having to look for objects, you might want to try that. But it will take away a lot of challenge of the game, as items will all shine so you can’t miss them. I suggest only turning it on if you absolutely can’t enjoy the game otherwise. 

While Panmorphia is not a perfect game, it is one I would highly recommend. If you can look past its flaws, there’s a really solid, enjoyable adventure game here. The developer is also very communicative with players and is constantly trying to improve the experience, as well as learn from it for her next game. I, for one, can’t wait to see what she comes up with next, as Panmorphia is quite an impressive first game. Give it a try and download it here.Download  

If you’re already playing and need some help, try my complete step-by-step walkthrough.

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