Morningstar: Descent to Deadrock (PC) Review

By Athanasios 04.04.2015 3

Review for Morningstar: Descent to Deadrock on PC

Morningstar: Descent to Deadrock is actually the upgraded version of a very short, but free, Flash-based browser point-and-click adventure, which told the story of two astronauts that had crash-landed on a barren planet. What has been upgraded, though? Unfortunately, apart from the graphics getting an HD facelift, and the addition of voice-overs, the gameplay has been left as it was. That isn't to say that it is bad, however it certainly missed on a couple of key ingredients that could have helped it become a much more pleasant experience.

Powel, the main character in this journey, gets the rudest awakening that a futuristic astronaut could possibly have… apart from a Xenomorph Facehugger's "kiss," that is. His spaceship is heading towards an unknown planet due to a strange gravitational anomaly that has already damaged a great portion of this unfortunate vessel, killing his co-worker in the process, and leaving his captain severely injured. The first-person perspective of this cut-scene makes it all personal, the visuals, while not ground-breaking, are very good, and, finally, the music is as wonderfully emotional as a theme from a big-screen sci-fi epic.

Screenshot for Morningstar: Descent to Deadrock on PC

The intro is simple, yet very effective, but, unfortunately, it all goes downhill the moment the game begins, and the protagonist makes the mistake of opening his mouth to speak in a ridiculously indifferent tone for a man who has just crashed on an unknown world, with the corpse of his buddy a few steps in front of him - and wait to hear the music; a soothing, non-threatening tune, which would be perfect for a yoga class, not the setting of a sci-fi thriller.

This lack of a descent atmosphere is the first flaw of Morningstar: Descent to Deadrock. The characters, in particular, behave as if they don't even care about what's going on - in fact, Novak, the ship's captain, is confined in his seat by a metallic rod that has been thrust into his abdomen, and he is like "Oh, don't mind that, it's just a flesh wound." The Spartan visuals don't help either, since none of the few available scenes look dangerous or mysterious enough to keep gamers on their toes.

Screenshot for Morningstar: Descent to Deadrock on PC

Powel must first salvage items to fix his spaceship, and then find and disable the cause of the gravitational distortion that got them into this mess. With the push of the radio button, Novak will inform him about his current task, but his tips tend to be very straightforward, telling the player the exact thing that must be done. Even worse, the puzzles themselves aren't exactly mind-bending enigmas, since most of them can be solved with little to no experimentation with the available items.

It is only near the end when things can get a tiny bit more challenging, but, unfortunately, most of the time everything is just a walk in the park. That's a real shame because the most common problems of the adventure genre have actually been avoided here, with none of the solutions being illogical, plus none of the puzzles requiring any tedious back-tracking.

Screenshot for Morningstar: Descent to Deadrock on PC

The only annoyance comes from the protagonist's constant yammering, with everything getting a brief comment from him. A door gets opened? "I've opened the door." A battery is extracted? "I've extracted the battery," and so on…

The final nail in the coffin is the plot hole-ridden storyline, which feels more incomplete than mysterious. Just when things start to get more interesting, it all ends abruptly, and in a pretty anti-climactic way, leaving all the important questions completely unanswered, with not even a single clue left behind to let people draw their own conclusions, something that, along with the fact that this is nothing more than a one-to-two hour-long mission, completely destroys any reason to start a second play-through.

Screenshot for Morningstar: Descent to Deadrock on PC

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Despite the low score, anyone who loves point-and-click adventures will probably enjoy Morningstar: Descent to Deadrock, even though it's puzzles are way too easy, the main characters slightly more lively than a pack of zombies, and the graphics, sound effects, and music somewhere between dull and average. Unfortunately, due to this quest's disappointingly short length and half-finished storyline, this feels more like the very first chapter of a game, rather than a completed product. It's a nice snack-sized videogame that can fill two hours of total boredom, but, other than that, it's not something special.

Developer

Red Herring Labs

Publisher

Phoenix Online Publishing

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

This game Smilie Wow.

Done and dusted in about 1.5 hours. Possible story elements opening up towards the closing parts, only to be left totally hanging...


The captain's voice - clearly the voice actor was told to breathe heavily, but I don't think there was too much guidance given because he sounds like he's doing a poor Darth Vader impression most of the time, rather than sounding in actual pain. The lead character lacks any enthusiasm either, like he was trying to get the job done as quickly as possible...maybe again without the proper direction.

As for the hints system... HOW DOES THE CAPTAIN KNOW EVERYTHING? I understand what they tried to do, integrating the hints system smoothly, but it makes no bloody sense for a guy lodged in his pilot's seat to know every tiny detail of what Novak is doing. Unless he's meant to have some sort of video footage from Novak's helmet...??

And yet because the game was short, I still kind of enjoyed it. Weird, huh? Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

Adam Riley said:
This game Smilie Wow.

Done and dusted in about 1.5 hours. Possible story elements opening up towards the closing parts, only to be left totally hanging...


And what about this?



Can't a fella drink in peace?
                                -Farnham

Smilie Exactly! Maybe they're hoping this will do well enough and THEN there will be a follow-up... Here's hoping, anyway, since there were plus points to take away.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

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