Title: Children of Morta
Version Tested: Steam
Available On: PS4, PC, Switch, and Xbox One
Developer: Dead Mage
Publisher: 11 Bit Studio
Genre: Action, Adventure, Indie, RPG
Official Site: http://childrenofmorta.com/
Release Date: September 3, 2019
Where to Buy: Microsoft Store, PSN, Nintendo Shop, Steam or Retail
Role-playing has come a long way in the gaming industry. The RPG genre started out as table-top gaming and has evolved into a virtual fantasy of epic storytelling. The tall-tale terror about mind flayers and beholders could now be seen and interacted through interactive gaming. Children of Morta offered similar features from the classic Dungeons & Dragons or other fantasy, tabletop games. These were through narration, combat, skills/attributes, and strategy.
Children of Morta narration was something special and could already become noticeable at the opening cinematic. The grandmother of the Bergson family, Margret, woke up from her sleep to some disturbing sights. An evil force known as “The Corruption” has erupted from Mount Morta. Margret and the rest of her family who has been guarding the land for generations must fight and protect their once peaceful land. The main plot and the rest of the story were explained through narration in the game. This was an interesting move because instead of having voice actors/actresses the narrator created an atmosphere and setting – just like how a Dungeon Master would in D&D. Also, another wise mechanic toward the title’s brilliant storytelling was through the gameplay.
Children of Morta has pretty standard gameplay. The controls on keyboard and mouse seem to work well and handle just like how any ARPG should. Children of Morta does have controller support. The game has been split into two parts: resting (gear upgrades and plot lines) and the combat. In the beginning, after the narration/combat tutorial of the game has been completed the player would have to go underneath the Bergson’s Mansion and enter one of the three portals. Each portal was considered an Act and within the Acts were chapters. The first chapter wasn’t easy and the player has a guaranteed death – well near death.
Characters don’t die. When the health has been depleted they are beamed up and back to the basement of the mansion. Every time the character dies a cut scene would play allowing more of the narrator to describe the current situations going on. This included some unraveling character development and foreshadowing for a new family member to be a playable character. There are six characters to play from and those are Ben, Kevin, Linda, John, Lucy, and Mark. Each family member has their own special abilities and perks. Sometimes in my dungeon runs, I felt as though some of the classes were not very effective in most of the situations.
*Side Note: I don’t want to ruin too much so I won’t go into detail on each of the character’s abilities or class specialty.
The overall gameplay through combat was pretty average. The dungeons the player would have to progress through alone (or local co-op) could be a bit of a grind. Constantly fighting hordes of enemies in large waves and find rooms with similar mini-games as the next floor can perceive a little tedious. Children of Morta has rogue-lite elements to it. Meaning that there are random maps and every item and chest has random drops/loots. The boss fights are actually the hardest part found in the combat – especially from act 1, chapter 1. A spider boss that player(s) will struggle and most like get sent back to the mansion from. There can be an aura of constant redundancy from dying and coming back. This could be a major turn off from some of the more light-hearted gamers.
The other half of Children of Morta revolved around the main floor of the Bergson’s Mansion. Like I had mentioned previously, there are cut scenes that queue once the character(s) return back to the mansion. This area was where all the character upgrades or information could be located. Ben’s Workshop focused more on the strength and defense of all characters – with the help of gold. Book of Rea zoned in on the magical aspects of all characters. Lastly, there was the Library. Here was where all the information was found on certain items, runes, documents, or character descriptions.
Graphically, Children of Morta has been beautifully pixilated. The fluent motion of each character in combat can be seen as not only visually but physically through each kill of an opponent. The cut scenes are stunningly vibrant and show an emotional difference through each character. Kevin was one such character to pick out that anyone could notice that he was the oddball kid. The underdog of the family. His emotion can be seen through excitement and disappointment – remember, there are no voice actors/actresses playing the parts. The soundtrack has a well-placed note and can be crisped to hear. Even though Children of Morta has an old school, 32 bit feel the sound effects and background music hasn’t adapted to the same dated tech.
Verdict: Children of Morta was a fantastic fantasy, action-adventure game to play for all ages. The narration was what would pull the player(s) in and entrap them in a captivated setting. Even though the gameplay has been done before and can come off as basic toward other rogue-lite games out there Children of Morta should be a title worth checking out.
- Beautiful pixilated artwork
- A handful amount of characters
- In-depth and compelling storytelling
- Amazing soundtrack
- Tons of items, upgrades, skills, and other bonuses
- Local Co-op
- Difficult for hardcore RPG players
- No Online Co-op
- Not a casual game to play
- Characters seem a little imbalanced