There are a couple of well known video game families. You have the Mario brothers, Red Dead Redemption’s Marston family and the Redfields from the Resident Evil series, but Dead Mage and 11 Bit Studios want to introduce you to a new family: the Bergsons. The Bergson family is slightly different to the others, in that they all play their part in the game, with everyone fighting using their own unique talents to defeat the evil that has befallen the land.
A mashup of everything
In Children of Morta, you play as a member of the Bergson family, a family who are charged with protecting the land from the encroaching darkness and corruption. It’s a cross-genre game, featuring elements of action RPGs, hack and slash games and also rogue-lites, which definitely gives the game a unique feel. All the ‘levels’ in the game are procedurally generated as well, and for me, dungeon crawling never really gets old. The generation is pretty solid; every area meshes together to create a decent – and dangerous – dungeon for you to explore. Always filled with scores of enemies, you’ll also be able to find a little bit of gold to upgrade your character when you inevitably die and return to the Bergson’s home. Fortunately, this game doesn’t feature permadeath, but instead pushes the story along a bit, meaning that even if you are a player that dies a lot, you’ll still get to enjoy the story.
It’s a pixel game, so obviously that means I’m going to write about how good the art style in Children of Morta is. The art design is tip top in the game, with so much colour and detailed crammed into every area in the game. Even the procedurally generated dungeons get a healthy dose of interesting imagery, to counteract the general dullness of your surroundings. Everything looks really spectacular, characters, enemies and scenarios, but for me, the best part of the user experience is the narration of the story. The chosen voice actor suits the role perfectly, giving an air of authority and knowledge, telling the story of the Bergsons with a slight sensation of pain. The best thing is that the story gets told quite frequently, so you’re able to enjoy the delivery of it on a regular basis.
I’ve mentioned the story in every paragraph so far, so it makes sense that I go into it a bit more, and just how good it is. Instead of just having a pretty basic story of good guys vs overwhelming forces of evil, there’s quite a lot going on in Children of Morta. The story itself is quite lengthy, and it’s padded out with deep dives into each character as well, so you’ll come out of the game knowing everything there is to know about the whole family, the surroundings and the situation they find themselves in.
Finally, for the positives, Children of Morta is extremely well polished when it comes to combat. Every character feels like they can do lots of damage in any scenario, and mastering all of them is no mean feat. They all have unique abilities that are supplemented with special items and abilities that you can pick up as you travel through a dungeon. These can be time-limited buffs or provide combat benefits such as damaging spells or totems that ward off or debuff your enemies. After you’ve gotten used to it, and when used properly, battling is such incredible fun. You can have some proper chaotic battles that end up in you slaughtering a good dozen or two of your foe in some spectacular ways.
Children of Morta is good, and while I think it has a decent length, it may well be because it’s very grindy. I’ll admit I’m not the best player, so I did find myself dying a lot, and having to take it slow and repeat levels repeatedly in order to keep myself at a reasonable level got a bit tiresome after a while. There’s also the issue of trying out the new characters – some of which are much mightier than others – and perhaps I didn’t need to take this step, but I always felt like I had to start right back at the start in order to power them up. Not always, but definitely at the start, when I unlocked a new area, and had a new character to play as, that character would just get wrecked. Maybe a better player didn’t need to ease themselves into a new character in the low-level areas, but sadly I am not a good player.
The Final Word
I’m not very good at Children of Morta, and I do find it a little grindy, but it’s still a great game. Phenomenal presentation and story, and some excellent mechanics to go along with it. It seems that 2019 is a bumper year for indie gaming, with some absolute top titles out there, and I’d definitely recommend Children of Morta as it’s right up there with Horace in terms of how good it is.