Children of Morta (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Luke Hemming 02.12.2019

Review for Children of Morta on Nintendo Switch

Children of Morta takes no prisoners when catering to its audience. A dungeon crawler with a deep love for trial and error in pursuit of gold and EXP. It begs anybody to try, fail and return to Mount Morta, if only to make it a few steps further than before. Developer Dead Mage Inc. knows you will die - a lot - but with an engaging narrative and a genuine bond between characters, coming back for more suffering has never felt this tempting. After tasting this indie gem on the PC, Cubed3 checks the new Switch version.

The Bergson family has inherited the duty of guarding over Mount Morta for centuries, and when the darkness begins to corrupt the land, all of the household ventures out to stop any further spread, as well as developing themselves as individuals and strengthening the family unit. Simple but effective cut-scenes further the involving story, and are littered throughout gameplay looking like a hand painted labour of love. While the camera pans to reveal the whole area, it showcases so much attention to detail that regardless of plot development, skipping at the expense of missing the beautiful design never seems like an option worth exploring.

Screenshot for Children of Morta on Nintendo Switch

Level selection is decided through a basement below the Bergson home. All parts of the world to explore are on display, though greyed out if not explored. Each dungeon crawl is also split into sections ending in a boss battle. Any deaths are followed by a statistics screen showing what was achieved on the 'run;' gold acquired, enemies defeated, time taken, etc. With the difficulty feeling so high in the early stages, this is a welcome addition to give a false sense of achievement from even the shortest of steps into death.

Despite each level being procedurally generated, ploughing through the same looking areas over and over again can feel repetitive quickly, so plenty has been included to stave off impending boredom. As well as the completed run screen, story progression does not rely on full completion of a dungeon. The urge to turn the game off through the frustration of making it not quite far enough is combatted by wanting to see just what the Bergson family has been up to while the questing has gone on. Any story beats are also excellently narrated by a suave librarian English voice person.

Screenshot for Children of Morta on Nintendo Switch

Even from the first hour or so, Children of Morta feels like it is meant to be played with a friend. With so many combinations of characters, and the fact that many enemies flood the screen and surround one player, it can easily feel that without a second skilled buddy to distract the horde, no progress is ever going to be made. Playing alone, the initial difficulty can easily dissuade a newcomer to rogue-like dungeon crawlers from continuing. Rooms can easily become crowded and overwhelming in a very short space of time, and even feel incredibly unfair at times. Drops however are generous, and all items and gold are returned to the Bergson house after death. It does however feel a real slog to get to a place where dungeons can be attempted with confidence. This knows its audience, and as a result alienates everyone who isn't already initiated. A real shame as there is a lot to like and worth persevering for.

Screenshot for Children of Morta on Nintendo Switch

Persevering does bring rewards, however, and upgrades can be made with resident Uncle Ben, based on what has been scavenged. Ben can upgrade armour, movement speed, as well as any number of other buffs, and is much more useful than some other Uncle Bens who sprouted some nonsense about responsibility and snuffed it. In fact, all supporting characters feel purposeful even if only to provide some insight into life being part of a monster slaying, world saving family. The biggest strength of Children of Morta is the bond that forms so quickly between player and character. By allowing so much time with the Bergson family, before every outing a pang of guilt and worry begins to swell.

Do you really want to send any member of the Bergson's out again to inevitable death and defeat knowing a whole family unit is at home worrying - apart from Kevin; Kevin is garbage. This family bond is further encouraged through the skill point system. Each character not only possesses their own upgrades, but once certain levels are reached, an individual buff is unlocked that will be applied to all characters across the board. This system ensures that all characters are used, and removes any idea of a favourite, go-to character… although Linda is clearly the pick of the bunch - she has a bow and arrow and can do a backflip.

Screenshot for Children of Morta on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Those used to the genre will be thrilled by the challenge presented here, yet newcomers will easily become frustrated at the difficulty spikes, and the feeling that no real progression is being made. Thankfully, the great narration and story-driven sections between the gameplay will hold the interest of even the most uninitiated dungeon crawlers. While some won't enjoy playing this solo, the variety of characters and the experimentation of using each together in couch co-op is worth a look. The fact that the two-player option was even included in this day and age should be commended, as lots of fun is there to be had playing this way. Just be prepared for a slog through the earlier stages, and a lot of short runs ending in brutal obliteration due to the misjudged difficulty spike. Oh, and never use Kevin. Ever.

Developer

Dead Mage

Publisher

11 Bit Studios

Genre

Real Time RPG

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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