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Children of Morta review
Meh
by NafaryusDestiny

Children of Morta is overly ambitious. It has all the makings of a great game, but none of them are executed particularly well. At a discount, it can make for some fun afternoons, but overall it's a deeply flawed experience. Co-op may solve some of these issues, but I played the entire thing solo.

Upon booting up, the controls were the first thing I noticed. Playing with a controller feels imprecise, but switching to mouse and keyboard felt way better. The dreadfully slow UI made the issue worse. There's far too much downtime waiting for long animations and slow camera movement to finish.

Children of Morta appears to borrow heavily from games like Binding of Isaac, with and item room and shop on each floor, consumables, activated items, passive items, unlockable chests, several different characters, and so on. Unfortunately, the itemization is actually terrible. Most items are garbage with very little impact, and the few that aren't are way too powerful. You got so few items per run (2-4 floors) that you never fully realize the power fantasies present in other games of the genre.

The game features an RPG-like skill tree for each of the playable family members. When playing co-op, I'm sure that they all have their role, but played solo, there's a couple obviously more powerful characters. The RPG system also forces you to "grind" the same early levels until you're powerful enough to continue. The permanent upgrades are just straight stat boosts (movement speed, attack power, health, crit), and are pretty much mandatory.

There's some decent boss fights, beautiful sprite work, and a story too pretentious for its own good. The last act is missing some polish (some walls are missing collision and can be walked through), but at least the game constantly provides the player with something nice to look at.

At a discount or with a friend, Children of Morta can be a good buy. Otherwise, your time is better spent elsewhere.

Other reviews5

Played this as couch co-op with my partner and would probably say that's where it's strength lies. I'm not overly keen on 'rogue-lite' games in general as I find them overly punishing and repetitive but this one worked well with the elements that it included. 
Being able to pair up as a variety of characters with different playstyles meant the grind wasn't that bad! The drips of story in between, the world progression and unlockables kept it interesting. And I really liked that you got stronger as a family if you levelled up all the characters. This encouraged us to get better at playing characters we may have overlooked at first. 

I do think the game wouldn't have been as fun had I been playing it alone so would recommend pairing up with someone to play if you can. 
The art style and messages in the game are beautiful and even though I played this using Gamepass I did end up purchasing the animal DLC. After watching the trailer for it I couldn't resist and it made the XP/Morv gaining in the latter portion of the game a lot easier tbh.
«Constantly dying and enjoy it»
«Better with friends»
Listen, the game is not bad by any means. The story is interesting, the visuals are unique and delightful, and the gameplay itself keeps you engaged and entertained. My major setback with this game is how POORLY OPTIMIZED it is on Switch. If you play more than 1 or 2 hours, or even if there are more than 20 enemies on screen at the same time, the game just gives up. The frame rate drops horribly, and the audio glitches and starts to overlap, repeat, and scratch. I have no idea how the ending of the game sounds because during the final battle it glitched and all I could hear was bonks and clanks from the weapons on repeat even during the end credits.

I finished it because I had already invested a lot of time on it, and I didn't want to quit before reaching the ending. But believe me when I say, will never open this game again, unless they release a patch or fix. Delightful game, but nearly unplayable (on Switch at least).
Favorite Thing: Really fun roguelite with enough progression and story to keep me interested. It's also simple enough for novice gamers.
Least Favorite Thing: Weak ending, story-wise. They threw out the entire reason why the Mountain King and Rea split.

Playtime: ~ 16h
Date Completed: 2020-03-24
Enjoyment: 8/10
Recommendation: There's something to enjoy even for those of us that don't like rouge-likes.
Wonderful Diablo-esque game with elements from Dead Cells. Takes all my favourite gameplay moves from World of Warcraft, i.e. shadowstep rogue, and puts it into a pixellated package. Awesome pixel art. The game has a novel skill system that takes the sting out of the grind normally associated with roguelites. The only downside is that it comes to and end eventually without any real endgame.
«Just one more turn»