If you are a fan of stunning pixel art and roguelike games similar to Dead Cells, you should probably check out Children of Morta on Steam. With its recent full release—away from being an early-access title—the game provides value and a sense of progression and accomplishment for those who have the patience to stick with it for the long term.
Children of Morta-–firstly—is beautiful in all aspects. I don’t feel like I’m exaggerating here. If you have a penchant for pixel art and the inherent cuteness of it all, you will adore the attention to detail and style of the art presented in this game. The art within the game is so vivid and vibrant. I imagine the colour palette of the Bergsons’ home in its entirety has hundreds of different shades of colour. Looking at the outside of the home, your eyes are met with wild, almost psychedelic colours which mesh together so well. The family home provides a beautiful retreat and is a wild contrast from the dingy dungeons you will be diving into—providing a visually welcoming and warm experience.
The game’s beauty does not lie only in its pixels. The storytelling and narration is simply endearing and, for a rogue-like, somewhat unexpected. The game provides all of the aspects of rogue-like dungeon crawling, but interspersed are objectives and goals that actually progress the story and unlock new members of the family for you to delve with. The narration in the game is well done, and it feels like someone is reading a story to you as you complete some of these objectives. Each family member has different attacks and perks for you to pick up, meaning you have plenty to choose from in terms of mastering and playing with each different style. There are upgrades you can spend your Morv (gold) on—which apply to all characters (e.g. increase the health of all Bergsons’ by a couple of points)—and there are upgrades and abilities you can put into each playable character, which utilises the skill points you gain as you play and level up each character.
The game is best played with a controller, as opposed to keyboard and mouse. This is definitely a game I can recommend for the Switch, as it’s one that you can slowly progress with—dungeon delving in the little pockets of time you may have on your way to work. It’s a delightful game; easy to pick up but hard to master. The campaign is estimated to take about fourteen hours to complete, but there is no need to rush your way through it—it is a rogue-like after all. My experience with the game mechanics and how to best improve my survivability was definitely based around patience and being tactical, much like when I played Dead Cells. Often, rushing in got me killed—especially if there were enough enemies coming from many different angles. You do have a shield, although it is limited by your stamina. Enough hits to this shield and it will go down, leaving you vulnerable to enemy attacks. I found a combination of using the shield (but not relying on it entirely), dodging, and simply just keeping my distance from enemies and using ranged attacks allowed me to get further into each delve.
The game, similarly to Dead Cells, gives you buffs and pick-ups along the way which can greatly aid—or sometimes hinder—your delve. There are cursed items you can pick up which do provide a buff, but at a cost (usually your health is the first thing to take a hit here). By the time you get to the boss of an area, you typically have a couple buffs stacked and a special item to use—such as an extra damage dealing ability or a health-boosting item.
Again, if you are a fan of rogue-likes—but even more-so a fan of pixel art—you will definitely appreciate all of the effort that has gone into Children of Morta. Currently on sale on the Nintendo Switch store, it is a purchase which I found to be well worth it; providing an endearing setting and art style, paired with fun gameplay mechanics and a mass amount of replayability as well.