Be prepared to embark on an extraordinary adventure in a distant land rife with danger and corruption. Prepare to fight as a member of the Bergson clan, tasked with the generational responsibility of guarding Mountain Morta against an ancient evil. This game is not your typical story of having to save the universe. Instead, it is about learning to adapt and band together to relinquish control of an environment being devoured by darkness. Where morals, family values, loss and sacrifice collide with continual uncertainty – this is Children of Morta.
For me, this is my first time playing any sort of game that falls within the rogue-lite category. On booting the game up for the first time, I was surprised by how beautiful the graphics were. The pixel-art style did not distract from how cinematic the game is. The narration was a surprise as well – I liked how it just seemed to fit with the game’s overall aesthetic, and it was not at all jarring. A welcome change from solely reading on-screen prompts. In starting the game, you begin with one family member (John) and then set off on fighting the Bergson’s nemesis, The Corruption. You continue to fight the zombified monsters and grind dungeons to level up your starter character, and the ones you will eventually acquire as you progress.
I love that there’s a large number of power-ups you can unlock for each Bergson because you can fully customize your gameplay the more your character levels up. John is notably not one of the stronger family members, but to me, that is not a problem – you are presented with a chance to improve him as much as possible, and the challenge to keep him alive in the earlier dungeons prompted me to be more considerate in my gameplay. I also love how each family member has their own skills, which not only benefits themselves but also positively contributes to the team overall. Local cooperative play is also available, where two characters can be played together to cover each other in battle.
Opportunities to power-up your characters are presented in many different ways, from opening treasure chests to fighting mini-bosses. This is great, and indicative that no dungeon run will always be the same – you aspire to that next power-up, but you just don’t know how it’s going to present itself every single time. The gameplay is also quite addicting because even though you will die many times initially, you just want to jump right back into that dungeon and try, try, again. Failures don’t seem to be as punitive here as you end up going right back to the family shrine when you “die”, and you can then just jump right back into the fray. I did kind of find this odd at first, but it’s a welcome change.
Everything continually changes – The Corruption’s zombified agents, each dungeon biome, skill trees; the list goes on. You would be remiss to not pick up the game, I look forward to being able to pick this back up the next chance I get! This title was released for the Nintendo Switch on November 20th and has also been published for the PC, PS4, and Xbox. Grab yourself a copy of Children of Morta from the Nintendo eShop for $27.71CDN.