Sanctus Mortem – Review
Follow Genre: Turn-Based RPG
Developer: Kisareth Studios
Publisher: Kisareth Studios
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Sanctus Mortem – Review

Site Score
Good: Good polish, despite the shortcomings of the engine.
Bad: Short storyline that leaves you wanting for more
User Score
(6 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.7/10 (6 votes cast)

RPG-maker games are a dime a dozen. People crank out these titles in about a month sometimes. This is not exactly a good thing as it floods online storefronts with cheap, low production value titles that mostly serve to make a quick buck or fill out a portfolio for future use. Sometimes, however, titles come along that are surprisingly good, despite coming from a corner of game design that is generally just left alone. A sleeper game, if you will. Sanctus Mortem is one of those titles, that despite all it has going against it, still packs a punch.


From the moment the game opens, the ship you’re on is under attack. After fighting off your attackers, you get contacted by a third enemy most of your men don’t recognize. They demand something that is supposedly on your ship, but you don’t even know about the technology they’re asking about. After you clear them away, as well to be rid of them, you contact your superior officer to ask about what the enemy vessel was asking about; the Razael Particle. As this is classified tech, your superior cannot tell you about it and can only point you to where to look for more information, but warns you that digging into it means going rogue. Sanctus Mortem’s storyline is a good part spaghetti Western, with clear inspiration from games such as the Xenoblade series. The story feels short however, by the time you get to know the surprisingly well written characters you find yourself fighting the final boss already, and then the game is over, making you wish there was more of it.


Sanctus Mortem is built with a release of RPG-Maker, one of the ones you can find on Steam. This comes with some limitations, as you’re bound to the engine you’re working with. Games built in Unity engines are a bit more flexible, but they require more work too. RPG-Maker forces creators to build their worlds with tilesets, sometimes the included art, but in the case of this title, custom. And while the art looks good, the generic-ness of the underlying engine problem shows here the best. All of the game’s zones, while still looking great, have nothing spectacularly interesting in them, making them all feel a little underwhelming. Character animations are a bit lackluster too, which is, to reiterate, not the fault of the art theme, but with today’s hardware, you might expect a little more character animations, such as idle, walking or attack animations. There are also extended sections where you control your ship, which look good enough, until you realize that you can only face to the left or right, and moving up and down the screen makes your ship awkwardly float side to side.


Games in the RPG-Maker genre have two factors they have the most creative control over. Their story, which we discussed earlier, and their audio. Which is also where they went all out on. Battle music sounds fast-paced and frantic, making the somewhat slow going battle mechanics still feel like they still have some weight behind them. A little bit jarring is the lack of footsteps and the game has no voice-over work, no sound in space of course. But the music that the game does have feels good to listen to, and the sounds of explosions and the attacks have a good ring to them, making it feel satisfying to blast those aliens out of the sky.


RPG games (especially those with turn based combat) have very cookie cutter mechanics. This is a curse that plagues AAA games titles such as the Final Fantasy series, all the way down to small indie titles such as Sanctus Mortem. Living on a spaceship, you’re going to have to travel. Walking to your captain’s chair at the bridge you pick your destination from a menu. After a little cutscene you get to the overworld, where you’ll find your generic treasures, buildings and NPCs. Roaming the same world as you do, are your ‘random’ combat encounters, but you can avoid them if you please.

Player progression comes from leveling up your characters through experience from combat, and through equipping items that you find in the world or purchase from your ship’s armory. Unfortunately, the progression feels incredibly linear, as new equipment will only just increase numbers. Not only that, but the decision to have your ship upgraded separately from your party makes the game feel like a real grind, as it gives the player just another stat to increase incrementally.

When you walk around the overworld, you have the option to not walk into your enemies, but if you defeat them they don’t de-spawn. Instead, they stand still on the overworld map, eerily existing like ghosts of the beings they once were. Defeating them is luckily easy, when you enter combat, you wait for your turn as indicated on the bar onscreen. You get to pick your normal or special attacks, and the enemy to cast it on. An interesting part about this game’s combat mechanic, is that basic attacks can be ‘chained’ where if you give the correct button input you attack a second time, which will increase to more chain attacks as you progress through the game.


Sanctus Mortem balances a fine line. The parts that the devs had the most creative control over (story and sound) are the best parts of the game, while the other half is dragged down by the limitations they set themselves by choosing RPG-Maker as a basis for their game. Sanctus Mortem is a good game that, despite being short, is worth your time if you like to get swept up in a good story with characters you feel are your friends. Looking at the devs Kisareth Studios, they have little games under their belt, so if they’re using this title to build a portfolio, we are excited to see what the future brings next for this small indie studio.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.7/10 (6 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
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Sanctus Mortem - Review, 8.7 out of 10 based on 6 ratings

Bryan, Dutch, gamer, metalhead. 26, and been playing games for as long as I can remember. Pokemon gold for life!

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