Morphblade last edited by Koholos on 12/03/19 08:24PM View full history

Morphblade was one of two games released by Tom Francis in 2017 (the other being Heat Signature). It was inspired by the Michael Brough game Imbroglio. It's a single-level roguelike based around an evolving hex-grid map. Play involves balancing the time needed to attack enemies with positioning to do so optimally.

As discussed by Francis on his blog, Morphblade and Imbroglio are 2 different approaches to the same design idea - a score based roguelike where the player's abilities are based on the tiles on which they are standing. The difference lies in the way that the tiles grow and evolve - in Imbroglio the tiles are laid out in a grid before the run begins, and as players kill monster with the tiles they're standing on, the tile levels up and its powers expand.

In Morphblade, after each wave a few tiles on the edges of the existing playable area will randomly show a new power, and the player can then pick which of these tiles he now wants to activate - thereby both expanding the playable area and choosing which powers he wants in which location. Tiles are leveled up by either killing monsters while standing on the tile (if the tile has an attack power), or by killing monsters which are standing on the tile being attacked (if the tile has a support power.) Additionally, the power the tile gains after levelling up is based on what it inherits from its neighboring tile. There are 6 types of tile, and each tile can take a different ability from the other 6 tiles, making 36 different combinations all together.

Enemy Types

Basic enemies: The basic enemies are red bugs that chase and bite the player. Each bite does 1 point of damage, and the player has 2 HP.

Hammerheads: These enemies do not damage the player, but merely shove them. Usually this is either an annoyance or a way to push the player into danger from biters. However, being shoved off the edge of the map will kill the player instantly.

Snipers: Enemies who can shoot the player from a long distance. They can only shoot in a straight line, however, and will not shoot through their own allies.

Armored: All three of the enemy types can come in an armored variant. These enemies will be blue. The player cannot kill an armored enemy, merely shove them. As with hammerheads, if the player shoves an armored enemy off of the board, it will kill the enemy. However, this is only useful if space is desperately needed, because it otherwise deprives the player of that experience point.

Infected: Any of the three enemy types have a variant with glowing green splotches - which can appear in both regular and armored varieties. These enemies are infected, and if killed by the player they will explode, destroying the tile under them. This can be useful if the player really needs to change the tile type, but it will also lose all accumulated experience, and any adjacent tiles that were using that for their level up power will also lose that power.

Tile Types

The six tiles are:

Acid: Acid causes armored enemies to lose their armor. Otherwise, attacking an armored enemy will merely shove them a square. When combined with neighboring tiles, the acid either allows those tiles to kill armored enemies, or allows them to remove the explosive powers of infected enemies.

Arrow: Arrow tiles allow the player to hop 1 tile and land in the second, killing any enemies in both of the tiles. When combined with other tiles, it usually allows the player to do something from a longer range. When combined with another arrow tile it allows the player to hop as many tiles as they want in a straight line.

Repair: Heals 1 HP every time the player lands on it. When combined with other tiles, it allows the player to heal by performing the action of that tile. When combined with another repair tile, it allows the player to get a shield, giving him 1 additional HP.

Hammer: The hammer kills an enemy directly in front of the player. When combined with other hexes, it allows the player to knock back enemies when using that power. When combined with itself, players moving onto a hammer space knock back all adjacent enemies.

Teleport: Allows the player to warp to any open space on the board. When combined with other tiles it allows a player to warp from those spaces as well. When combined with itself, teleportation does not count as a turn, allowing the player to take a second, free action.

Blades: Blades kill enemies on the two hexes to the sides of the hex directly in front of the player. When combined with other tiles, it allows the player to damage enemies on the sides of their hex as they move. When combined with itself, it allows players to also kill enemies on both sides of their destination.

Francis's Design Blog regarding Morphblade and Imbroglio.


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