Children of Morta – Review
Follow Genre: Dungeon Crawler, Adventure
Developer: Dead Mage
Publisher: 11 bit studios
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC, Mac, Switch
Tested on: PC

Children of Morta – Review

Site Score
9.0
Good: Amazingly well crafted and designed world and gameplay, superb graphics
Bad: (early) combat is just a bit sluggish
User Score
9.5
(4 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 9.5/10 (4 votes cast)

Once every now and then, you can find a project that can simply blow you away by even just watching the trailer. With the triple-A industry sometimes fooling you into making a game appearing much more interesting than it seems, indies often don’t have this luxury and simply have to show you what they got waiting for you with real footage. The beauty of Children of Morta which emits loving radiation for games is one of those examples.

Story

In Children of Morta, we accompany the Bergsons’ family as a terrible fate is bestowed upon the land. The animals and land are being corrupted, and it’s all coming from afar. Luckily, the Bergsons have a history in their family line of fighting against such corruption before, and the entire family pitches in to do their part. This almost instantly has an effect on the gameplay, as more and more family members become available to fight either solo or with a friend in couch co-op. But where most games would call it a day as you would be able to ”pick a character” and just ”start the game”, Children of Morta goes a few steps further.

You see, where the characters perhaps lack some depth except for a few lines of background and their ties to each other, the game continuously surprises the player by showing a bit more of what’s going on inside the family. One moment somebody is wounded adding a surprise quest, the other moment a family member might be rebellious, and so on. The game blends these ”quests” and ”unlockables” because that’s what they are, seamlessly inserted into the gameplay and story. And you might just feel more for the Bergsons’ family than you think, proving they are a well-written, original center of the game, perhaps even making you try just that bit harder.

Graphics

You might have guessed it, the graphics in Children of Morta are absolutely amazing. As far as pixel art goes, this game proves itself to be at the very top. Simply the amount of detail in the high-resolution pixel-art that somehow still manages to stay communicative without degrading any of its work is astonishing. Without holding your hand, the game is clear in what you can find on the informative display around you (such as your experience bar et cetera). When playing, a lot of surroundings and moments will entice you to press the screenshot button, like being on a holiday in a faraway land where everything exceeds your expectations. Of course, in a roguelike game, you will find some recurring elements as well. But just the overall variation, almost every animation, and the graphics as a whole package are superbly well crafted.

Sound

Whatever you hear in the game is rather subtle when it comes to sounds. Most of the time, background music stays exactly there, in the background, just atmospherically accompanying you on your journey. The same goes for sound effects, nothing is too controlling, yet blends in nicely. This is wise, cause most of the time, parts of the story are being woven together by a narrator’s voice. He will tell you what’s going on and how characters are feeling, replacing the singular voices that each character could have. It’s very reminiscent of the main reason why the game Bastion got its popularity, and it’s implemented in a way that it works once again. The narrator never fails to leave you alone for too long, giving a touch to Children of Morta as if you would have a buddy watching the game on your couch with you.

Gameplay

Children of Morta is a dungeon crawler adventure that has all the classic elements. You have a character with certain weapons and skills that feels rather unique to play with, if not a bit simple at low levels. This character you drag through an available dungeon of your choosing, and you try to survive that dungeon from beginning to end. If you fail, at least you will have gathered some experience that allows the character to grow stronger, and have also collected some loot that allows your gear to be upgraded. The game makes it easy to switch between save slots to start over again and has the option to play either together with a friend in a local co-op game, or alone.

When fighting, different styles might feel better for you or the level you are in. In basic terms, there’s an archer, a knight, a rogue, and so on. These characters unlock special skills in a skill tree as you progress, where you can choose how you want to divide the gained skill points. Giving each character their own level depending on how much you played with them offers replayability, but since the game has family as its main theme, that’s not all. If you gain higher levels with one character, you will also unlock passive bonus skills to all family members, such as extra damage or extra speed. This system actually encourages you to level lower characters as well, which is an amazing concept that totally fits the theme!

Compared to other rather high-paced games, the fighting sometimes feels a bit sluggish, especially since you can’t just dodge or block your way through the game. This is the only minor aspect of the game that could have been just that little bit better, cause it can often also feel unfair as you try to not get hit but get struck anyway by quickly running out of options to move away from the enemy hordes. Yet the game isn’t punishing. Though you would like to obviously get ahead, the slow and steady progression and unlockables heading your way make you curious each time you lose if something is happening at the Bergsons’ home. Instead of being disheartening, the game allows you to eagerly return into battle as you will want to try again.

Conclusion

Children of Morta turned out to be an amazing game, which absolutely knows what it’s doing. The finesse used to craft a system with these core mechanics is something to be proud of, and the graphics and details that are scattered around the world are truly made by a master craftsman. A game that is replayable, fun with friends, and also offers a network of bits of the story. You won’t regret getting this one.

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Rating: 9.5/10 (4 votes cast)
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Children of Morta - Review, 9.5 out of 10 based on 4 ratings
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Find me on youtube to see some playthroughs! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuBrlulGywcb0EiYWBnA1ng

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