Children of Morta (PlayStation 4) Review

By Josh Di Falco 09.11.2020

Review for Children of Morta on PlayStation 4

Every so often, a special title comes along that ends up delivering so much joy and wholesomeness - like Children of Morta, the top-down rogue-like developed by Dead Mage that bears a lot of similarities to Diablo, were despite the grim darkness that this world is set in, there are a lot of unexpected moments that makes this title such a pleasurable experience. When a dark evil corruption arises from Mount Morta, a loving family living by the base of the mountain, the Bergsons, must combat this evil by heading deep into the caves and make their way to the heart of the corruption to bring peace once more. Led by John, members of the family can venture into the mountain, all the while gaining experience and money to make their next expedition a little bit easier.

The Bergsons are a family from a long line of ancestors, who have taken it upon themselves to defend the world from the evils that are infested within Mount Morta. In this instance, an evil purple entity called the Corruption has formed from the heart of the mountain, and it has been infecting the nearby lands, animals and the beautiful forestry. Led by the family matriarch Margaret, and her two sons - family-man John, and his disgruntled older brother Ben - the Bergsons comprise of a cast of family-members, each with their own skills and fighting abilities to help combat the evil in the mountain. John is the conventional sword-and-shield character, Linda is the archer of the family, Kevin is the twin-blade wielder, while Mark is the beat 'em up puncher, and so on.

Screenshot for Children of Morta on PlayStation 4

Each run can take anywhere between 15 and 30 minutes, with a series of dungeons that end up culminating in a boss fight. Defeating a boss with any of the characters ends up unlocking the next dungeon, which escalates in difficulty by introducing new, stronger enemies. Any money earned or experience gained on each run is permanent, where the money can be used back at home to purchase upgrades that affect all the characters base stats. Like other rogue-likes, nothing goes to waste here. Every run adds a benefit to the next one. Every failed attempt at clearing a dungeon makes the characters stronger for the next attempt.

The narrative is intriguing - despite the simple story, there are many random events that can take place in the dungeons on each run. These events can result in different benefits, from temporary charms that can buff the character during that specific run, or as a token to be brought back home as a souvenir. The brooding narrator adds another element to the story, with his resounding performance. Each scene that plays, whether in the dungeon, or back at home, adds another immersive layer to the story - from the major story beats that play out, with new family members being unlocked for play-throughs, to the side missions that involve rescuing villagers or merchants, or even returning a lost child back to their parent.

Screenshot for Children of Morta on PlayStation 4

While the collected money in each run can be used to increase the base stats of all the family members as a collective, experience points gained by each family member can earn skill points which can be used on each characters unique family tree. Children of Morta is all about family unity - and this is further displayed within each characters skill tree. While most of the abilities unlocked in each characters skill tree only affect that specific character, there are shared traits within each skill tree that will affect the other family members during their run. This makes it vitally important not to focus each run on using the same character, but to allow for each character to get their moment in the sun to earn experience points, as these can still positively affect the other characters.

Screenshot for Children of Morta on PlayStation 4

In addition to the skill trees, there's also a bunch of stuff that can be found within the dungeons that can temporarily buff characters. 'Divine Graces' are semi-permanent buffs; semi-permanent in the sense that these will last for the duration of that particular dungeon run, but it will be removed once the character has returned home after falling in battle or defeating the end-stage boss. 'Divine Relics' provide the hero with a special move that can be used repeatedly, albeit with cooldowns in-between uses. Then there are 'Charms,' which are one-time use abilities, while 'Obelisks' provide the hero with timed buffs that will expire when the clock runs out. The best part is all of these abilities from the four different sources stack, so by the end of the run, a character may be considerably stronger due to these buffs. However, all of these will be removed at the end of each attempt and they don't carry across to the next dungeon.

Like most rogue-likes, the dungeons are randomly-generated with each run. The colour palette changes as the Bergsons progress further into the game. This keeps each new attempt a fresh experience, and for those who don't wish to progress solo, there is a co-op feature that enables two family members to progress together. Children of Morta is a highly addictive rogue-like that allows to be played in short bursts as well. With its simple control mechanics, it's vast and sprawling dungeons, abilities and skill trees to unlock, and it's colourful and wonderfully-detailed art scheme, this is one of the better rogue-like experiences out there.

Screenshot for Children of Morta on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Children of Morta is a wonderful rogue-like ARPG, with a lot of deep layers in terms of gameplay mechanics, that does a terrific job of acting as an underlay to the simple, but dark, atmospheric story. Everything intertwines together splendidly, and seeing how each character can help to buff up their family members via their shared abilities, both in each characters unique skill trees, or the household's base stat upgrades, there are plenty of moving pieces here that all contribute towards the family's mission to end the Corruption. No run is ever wasted, with each failed attempt still rewarding the family with some positive enhancements for the next run, until that eventual stage boss is defeated. For those who are looking for a new rogue-like to jump into, this should definitely not be missed.

Developer

Dead Mage

Publisher

11 Bit Studios

Genre

Adventure

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

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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