The combination of Franz Kafka and video games is surprisingly entertaining!
The short story Metamorphosis (The transformation in Swedish) was clearly written the night between the seventh and eighth of December 1915 by the Czech author Franz Kafka. He was dissatisfied with his creation and it took many years before his collected works reached their audience. Most of Kafka’s works were published posthumously and his only 40 years on this planet have subsequently inspired and captivated generations of readers. So when Metamorphosis appeared as a video game, I immediately became curious about how the game creators would succeed in translating Kafka’s absurd dream texts into broad entertainment.
Gregor wakes up at a friend’s after an unusually wet night out. He has to get to work and suddenly realizes that he can no longer reach the handle… He shrinks more and more and soon he realizes that he has turned into a large beetle. He must now go through a whole new world to be able to find the cause of his transformation.
Metamorphosis is based on the fact that, in the size of a beetle, you have to solve different puzzles. You are always at the level of a beetle, but when you get the task, you see a whole. It is tricky to figure out how to proceed to make the best use of your newfound knowledge as an insect. What bothered me a little was that it is not completely easy to see where you should when you are so small and sometimes you just wanted to be able to zoom out and see everything, in an easier way. Another thing that bothered me a bit with the game mechanics is that you have to cling to something sticky to be able to climb walls. Most insects can walk on almost any smooth surface, so that particular element feels a bit convoluted.
Metamorphosis has an enormously eerie environment: sound effects, voices and music create a gaming experience beyond the ordinary. It really is a game that draws you into another world. The story is detailed and exciting. The game creators have really taken the best out of the original material and floated out where it is needed best for the game. It flows nicely and even though the graphics – in some places – are quite clean and simple, everything else connects the experience in the best way. Metamorphosis also does not cost many bucks to buy and it is several hours of eerie entertainment for that money.
In summary, I was pleasantly surprised at how well it was actually possible to cross such two completely different mediums as video games and Kafka. Thus is Metamorphosis definitely worth a warm recommendation.