Children of Morta
Gameplay 9
Graphics 10
Sound 9

From the beautiful hand-painted pixel art to the moving family-oriented storyline, Children of Morta is a game unlike any other. The game itself is extremely addictive and following the adventures of the Bergson family kept us glued to our screens. If you are looking for an action RPG that is not just a lot of fun to play, but also has a lot of heart, then Children of Morta should be at the top of your list.

Gameplay: Challenging, addictive and just plain fun to play.

Graphics: Beautiful hand pained pixel art with smooth animations.

Sound: The music, sound effects, and narrator all sound superb

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Children of Morta

Developer: Dead Mage | Publisher: 11 bit studios | Release Date: 2019 | Genre: Action / Adventure / Indie / RPG | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

Most action role-playing games feature a nameless hero going off on a quest to save the world. However, Children of Morta dares to do things a little differently by making the character the focus of the story. Or, more accurately, the characters as Children of Morta is the tale of a close-knit family called the Bergsons. The Bergsons are the guardians of Mount Morta and have been doing a good job in this regard until one day when a mysterious corruption begins spreading throughout the land. The family quickly realizes that something is affecting the three spirits of the land and set out to their respective domains to try and stem the corruption.

After a trip through the forest that surrounds the Bergson family home, which makes it clear how dangerous the corruption is, it is off to the various dungeons in the game. These dungeons are accessible via portals that are found in the basement of the Bergson family home, which also serves as the hub of the game. The adventure begins in the Caeldippo Caves, which is the domain of Anai Dya. Each dungeon has three sub-areas, such as the Silk Caverns and Lost Trenches in the caves, with a boss waiting at the end. An extra powerful guardian awaits players at the end of the final area of every dungeon and defeating them opens a portal to the next area. However, Children of Morta is not just an action RPG, but also contain some rogue-lite elements, so not every attempt at clearing a dungeon is going to be successful the first time around.

Fortunately for the Bergsons the family members all have their own special skills, but more importantly, they are in possession of a magic crystal. It is fragments of this crystal that whisks them back home just before they are killed in a dungeon. This is a neat way to explain why characters can return to fight another day when defeated, but it obviously comes at a price. While not as harsh as some rogue-likes, death in Children of Morta still comes with a penalty. It doesn’t matter where in the dungeon you die, whether it is within the first five steps or thirty minutes later during a boss fight, you will have to redo everything from scratch the next time. Thankfully, as mentioned earlier, each dungeon is divided into three areas, so your progress is only reset to the start of the area and not the entire dungeon. While you also lose all of the runes, charms, relics and so on that you find in the dungeons, you do get to keep all the money that you have looted and the experience that you have earned. This means that when you return home, you can use the coins to upgrade your characters, which in conjunction with the skills unlocked through leveling up, should make the next attempt a little easier.

Children of Morta is also a very story-driven game, which means that even unsuccessful dungeon attempts don’t feel like a waste as you learn more about the Bergsons when you return to their home. It’s really neat to see events that happened in the dungeon, such as rescuing a wolf pup from the monsters that killed its mother, have an impact on what happens back home. The cub in question requires some ingredients for a cure as it got injured by the monsters and until you find these ingredients, you’ll see the cub resting back home. As soon as you find the cure and it has recovered, you’ll see the cub full of life again and playing with the Bergson kids. These small interludes between dungeon runs feature plenty of heartfelt moments that will draw players into the story and make them care more about the Bergsons, which is something that not a lot of rogue-lite titles can boast.

In terms of gameplay Children of Morta feels like a typical action RPG with different character classes. The game begins with only the John, the sword and shield-wielding patriarch of the Bergsons available as a playable character. He is soon joined by Linda, his daughter who brings her archery expertise to battles. These two characters play completely differently and four others are unlocked over the course of the game. In the end, players have a good mixture of long-range, melee, speed, power, and magic to choose from for each run. In addition to their own primary and secondary attacks, characters also have different skill trees with skills that can be unlocked. The neat thing about these skill trees is that they don’t just feature a bunch of handy abilities for characters, but each new tier that is unlocked also grants bonuses to the entire family. This provides players with an incentive to mix things up and level up different characters to gain access to these buffs. Sticking with only one family member for too long is not recommended in any case as they will begin to suffer from corruption fatigue, which reduces their health until they sit out a few dungeons and rest back home.

The dungeons in Children of Morta are randomly generated, which keeps things interesting even if you have to attempt some of them a few times. They are also filled with random events, so you never know what to expect next. The Bergsons all have their own unique weapons and skills, so unlike similar titles, you’ll never find any gear in the dungeons that you can equip. Instead, you can find items that benefit you on your current run but are lost if you return home. These include runes that augment your attacks and last a certain amount of uses as well as divine relics that function as temporary powerups. There are also divine graces, which act more like passive powerups and charms that offer an advantage, but usually also comes with a disadvantage. These are all randomly found throughout the dungeons and the combinations that you find can have a big impact on how successful you are. Other random elements include people or animals that may need your help, challenge and puzzle rooms that will test your fighting skills or brainpower, and even a Pong-style mini-game. You don’t have to explore every inch of each area to complete a dungeon, but taking the time to do so will probably net you more items, gold, and experience, so it is worth the effort. Of course, it can also be risky to roam around instead of heading straight for an area boss as you could be killed by some of the particularly vicious monsters lurking about. Each area only takes about 30 minutes to complete if you are really thorough, but getting knocked out just before or during a boss battle can still sting.

The only way to describe the visuals of Children of Morta is “beautiful.” Screenshots cannot accurately convey just how pretty the hand-painted pixel art in this game is. Not only is everything brimming with detail, but the animations are also exquisite. The world for this game is a mixture of fantasy and science fiction, so while you might be bashing in the heads of spiders and bats in one dungeon, the next could see you taking down mechanical monstrosities. As the corruption begins to infect everything, it really makes the Bergson family home seem even cozier and just watching what everyone is up to in-between missions is a treat. We also have nothing but praise for the audio, which is a mixture of solid sound effects and atmospheric background music. A special mention should go to the narrator of the game who does an excellent job of fleshing out the story and describing what the Bergson family is going through. It is the only speaking role in the game as the characters themselves have no voices, but you can still click on them while viewing their house to see their thoughts, which is a neat touch.

Controlling the characters in Children of Morta is a breeze and depending on who you pick, it can almost feel like a different type of game. For example, selecting Linda the archer or Lucy the mage almost makes it feel like you are playing a twin-stick shooter because of their ranged attacks. However, even these two characters have their differences as Linda can move around during combat while Lucy has to remain stationary to fling her fireballs. The melee fighters also differ quite a bit, so playing as the nimble dagger-wielding Kevin is not the same as using Joey with his heavy hammer. The controls are very responsive, although there is a bit of a learning curve involved when it comes to activating all the different rage based special attacks, divine relics and so on. Making good use of the “evade” key is also essential to your survival in this game, so it is something that you need to master early. There is no option to choose the difficulty in the game, but it does have a local co-op mode, which actually makes things more challenging. According to the developers, the online co-op mode is still in development and will be released in a future update.

It’s no exaggeration to say that Children of Morta is one of our favorite titles this year and had us captivated from start to finish. Although it only took us about 15 hours to complete, there are still tons of random events that we missed judging by the achievements still left to earn. About the only criticism we have is that the replay value of this game is not as high as other titles in the genre, but this is not surprising considering the heavy emphasis it has on the story. The family aspect of the game, where you get to know each character and see how they step up to do their part is really cool and something that we will miss in other action RPGs. If you are a fan of the genre, then Children of Morta is a must-have and even if action RPGs are not really your thing, this could be the game to sway you.

System Requirements

  • OS: 64-bit Windows 7/8/10
  • Processor: 2.0 GHz Dual Core CPU
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: GeForce GTX 660, Radeon R7 370 or equivalent with 2 GB of video RAM
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Storage: 2 GB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX compatible
  • OS: 64-bit Windows 7/8/10
  • Processor: 3.2 GHz Quad Core Processor
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: GeForce 960, Radeon RX 570 or equivalent with 4GB of video RAM
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Storage: 2 GB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX compatible
  • OS: OS 10.6+
  • Processor: 2.8 GHZ Intel Core 2 Duo or better
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Dedicated video card recommended
  • Storage: 900 MB available space

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