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Children of Morta Gamescom Preview

by Joost "Myrthos" Mans, 2019-09-02

Children of Morta is a roguelite game that tries to be different from other games in the genre. One way the developers did that is by using pixelated graphics, but they also made the game very story driven and you are playing with the members of the same family. The Bergson family has lived near and watched over the mystical Mount Morta for a long time, but recently corruption has spread in the mountain and it is up to the family to fight the corruption and get Mount Morta back to its former state. The story will take you through mount Morta all the way to the top, where the story is concluded. Along the way you will have the option to play many side quests as well.

The home of the family acts as a hub where you can upgrade items and the family skills. The developers want players to use all the playable characters in the family and switch between them. This is why they have invented the family skills, which are skills that are available to everyone in the family. These are skills that are not class specific and most of them are passive skills as well, like swiftness, armor and base attack damage. So, even if you have not taken a character with you for some time, that character will still get the family skills automatically. Each character has also its own set of active skills that are based on the class of the character.  
The game uses a corruption system, where one or more of your characters can become corrupted by the evil force that lives in the dungeons. Corrupted characters will enter the dungeons with less HP, so sometimes it is better to not take corrupted characters with you into the dungeons, which is another motivation to switch between the characters in the family. Corruption is removed once the inflicted character has rested for a certain amount of time. 

The story is not only told by means of narration and cut scenes but also by means of the family members. As an example Kevin was mentioned, who is a teenager and the middle child of the 5 children in the family. Kevin feels that the attention of the family is not on him, but on the others and he feels unnoticed. That relates to the ability of Kevin to use stealth abilities in the game, which makes him unnoticed and invisible. His mother is overprotective and whenever she sees him training with his small swords and daggers, she will take them away from him as Kevin is not allowed to fight yet at the beginning of the game. Other family members have a story to tell as well, like John, who is the father of the family and is also the protector of that family and also the only one wearing a shield and Mark, one of the other children, who didn't want to fight earlier in his life and left the family to learn about gaining balance in his life, returning at a later age as a martial arts specialist. Each of these stories will become more clear while playing the game.

There are a total of six characters that you can play in the game with: John is the fighter with a shield. Linda is using a bow with arrows, Kevin is a stealthy character, Mark is the martial artist, Joey is a big guy with a hammer and Lucy is casting fireballs. I was told that probably more characters will become available at a later stage. This is something they intend to do with other parts of the game as well: release a fully functional game and listen to the feedback to add new elements to the game at a later stage. 
Next to the characters you can play in the game, there are also non-playable characters, which are the mother Mary, who is pregnant. Her child will be very important to the story. Then there is uncle Ben, the blacksmith, who can help you with all the upgrades and grandma Margareth is an alchemist and also the wisest of the family, who knows and will reveal many of the secrets.  
And there is also a wolf, which you can find in one of the dungeons and take with you to the family home and that is part of a side quest.

Combat takes place in real-time. You have a basic attack and some active skills that you can use. I played the game in co-op with Rufus Kubica, community manager of 11 bit studios, the publisher of the game. I selected Mark who fights with his bare hands as a basic attack and uses a whip as a special attack, that harms and stuns the enemies. The game does not have friendly fire so there is no need to be careful with any of your attacks. The game will throw a variety of monsters at you, of which some are corrupted and also stronger because of that, which is the opposite of what happens when one of the family members becomes corrupted.
The dungeons are randomly generated, but some rooms in the dungeon appear from time to time in more than one randomly generated dungeon, like this puzzle room that we entered and where we had to make a choice by selecting one of the 3 available buttons. However there are no clues for what button to hit anywhere in the dungeon, so it really comes down to luck. I was lucky and we received a reward. If I wouldn't have hit the correct button, most likely some monsters would have appeared.

In the game you can collect artefacts, like relics, runes and totems. Most of them are passive, but some are active and give you a buff for something. These active artefacts are lost when you leave the dungeon or when you die in the dungeon, so there is no reason to keep them for a later event, best to use them as soon as possible. .  

The combat we've played was going well, once I got my bearings, which usually takes some time for me. To be honest the playing time I had was a bit too short to really get a good impressioon on the combat and I did not have the time to use the key I got for the game, before writing this article, to try it out more. The time we had at Gamescom was also too short to learn if the story side of the game really makes it a different roguelite from others, but from what I was told, there is hope. What the game does have and which you have to like, is pixelated graphics, like you can see in the screenshots. I don't mind personally and I do think it gives the game some charm, but I can imagine some people are turned off by this.
All this, together with the angle of playing as a family could offer sufficient incentive for me to try the game out when I have more time, and I am not even a fan of roguelites.

The duration of the game is about 15 hours, depending on how skilful you are. The game can be played alone or in a two person co-op. At release there will only be a local co-op, but at a later stage an online co-op will be made available. If you play solo, you will play the game with a single character only. Although sometimes an additional character will help you out. Obviously, when you play in co-op each player controls one character. 
Children of Morta will be released on PC at the 3rd of September with the different console releases following in October.

Box Art

Information about

Children of Morta

Developer: Dead Mage Inc.

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: Roguelike
Combat: Real-time
Play-time: Unknown
Voice-acting: Unknown

Regions & platforms
World
· Homepage
· Platform: PC
· Released at 2019-09-03
· Publisher: 11 bit Studios

More information