Children Of Morta is one of those rogue-lite games that puts all the different pieces together in a fun way
Much of what this game does is remind me that I can really like rogue lite games that let the player upgrade themselves after every failed run. Getting right back up to take on the impossible enemy again now armed with how it deals out damage feels pretty good once I finally attain victory. Yet along with some solid combat tools you also get a well told story via a Bastion like narrator.
It follows the Bergson's, a family of warriors that have stood as one of the last lines of defense against an infection that seemingly wants to infect the entire world. At the start only the father John and his daughter Linda have the willpower to take on the hoards yet the family starts to expand quickly the closer you get to freeing Morta from it’s fate.
Each of their stories is shown via narrated cutscenes after each success or failure. These are all done via well done pixel art scenes and you really get to know the personalities of each family member even if no one really talks. I’m pretty sure this game doesn’t have a failure state but it does an awesome job of making the world seem like it is in dire straits constantly. Because the world falls deeper and deeper into despair as the heroes get ever closer to the cause of everything.
Every family member has a different style of combat. Between the classic sword and shield combo to punching monsters with fists you’ll find a good mix of close combat and long ranged combat like magic. They all feel different and since everyone gets their own unique skill that just makes them more unique. All of this combat is done in a top down manner with enemies constantly running towards the player. Knowing how to use each character's moveset well is key to succeeding.
Yet raining down a hail of arrows or doing a quick sneak attack from the shadows will only get our heroes so far before they become overwhelmed. So it’s a good thing that each dungeon has a variety of relics and charms that will aid them in some way. They can be sometimes simple like some extra attack or something crazy like an invincible shield that hurts enemies once it runs out. Doesn’t hurt that the most useful stuff can be used as many times as possible. At least once the cooldown runs out. It was pretty clear that some of my close victores were thanks to a random power up I found along the way to make what seemed like an unbeatable build. Although enemies will certainly wipe the floor with anyone if they are given a chance to attack.
Between runs it is possible to passively upgrade the entire family via the best currency gold. Yes with enough gold even the weakest member of the family can have some extra health or even the xp they gain can be upgraded. All of that ends up being very useful and it makes every run seem like it was worth it even if the boss got the better of me. Plus leveling up each of the different family members will also give everyone a universal buff. For example Mark will give everyone else an extra dash dodge once you level him up to 20.
Overall I very much enjoyed my time playing this game with no real expectations at all when I first booted it up on Xbox Game Pass. Yet thanks to a nice pixel art style and well told story it drew me in. Whenever I didn’t succeed in winning it never felt like a total loss. Always managing to push me back into the chaos for just one more run is a highlight for any kind of game like this. If that is something you are looking for then I suggest checking this game out. It’s certainly worth playing.