Children of Morta (PC) Review with stream
Wonderful art style
Game grows with you
Realistic family dynamic
Odd difficulty curve
Have to unlock all characters
Not enough immediate payoff
Many would say that “family is everything.” This is true, but maybe even more so when that family is a group of heroes duty bound to protect a magical mountain from an all-encompassing evil. In Children of Morta you play as one of several different family members with wildly different powers and styles to protect the village, the forest, and your family from a growing corruption. Save the family and the world in this beautiful pixel art rogue-lite.
As a kid, you hear stories of knights and wizards defending the land from an unknowable enemy, and you always imagine yourself as the hero. Games of course give you freedom to live this fantasy, but often they forget the story behind it. It’s all instant gratification, with no substance. Dead Mage has gone another way, they want you to care about what’s going on, they want your adventure to have weight, to mean something. Instead of focusing on the enemy and the gallant hero, they instead make you part of a family, learning about all of them bit by bit, attaching them to your story slowly but surely. Family meetings, arguments, love, empathy, are all present and in full swing when you live through this family. You start with the dad, wanting to make sure everything is alright by going first and facing the danger before any of his family can be hurt. But you will gain more characters along the way by meeting your kin in the forest and they will help you however they can.
Each family member is very different, and not just personality, but also in combat. The father is big and has a shield to act as the tank, being able to just power through enemies with his defensive power. The daughter is an archer that can attack enemies from afar, while one of the sons is a dagger expert. The whole family is so different that it basically guarantees that someone will have a favorite character to use no matter the situation. Not only that, but because it’s a rogue-lite literally every dungeon you crawl through will be different enough to make it interesting, offering something new every time, even if you use the same character.
More than the characters, the setting is something to behold. A fantasy world with mixes of sci-fi blended in, the hand painted pixel art is detailed and colorful to a degree I wasn’t sure was possible. The stained glass windows in your home, along with every room is just so different and vibrant that everything feels alive. The detail is amazing, but the characters have a bit less detail on them than the backgrounds, so it makes them stand out but the animated movements make them feel like they are the only living things in the space which makes them feel more human.
Children of Morta is crafted with such care and detail that it’s hard not to appreciate it on nothing but an artistic level. However, this is a game and we need more than that. With a deep skill tree and the feeling that the game grows with you, slowly unlocking characters and skills as you grow stronger feels like you are creating the story yourself. This is great, but for those that want to just get going or speed run, this is not for you. It can be slow paced, especially at first where you feel so outclassed, but in time you will feel powerful and able to take on the world. It’s an experience to be savored, but that won’t work for everyone. The art is amazing, the gameplay solid, and the story is very interesting so there’s a lot to love.