The Bergsons are a strong family, who are the guardians of Mount Morta (the land in which they reside). An ancient evil starts to devour the land and it’s up to them to stop it. Children of Morta is a rogue-lite RPG dungeon crawler. You level up the family and battle through various areas, acquiring items and spending points into your powers. Each member represents a different class. There aren’t that many dungeons, but every time you play one there always seems to be some different variation of it. Besides being randomly generated, there is also a form of sidequests to complete. Sometimes they can take several runs through the same level. You can adventure alone or with the company of someone else on the same console.
Here’s what I liked:
Stronger Together — It’s interesting that most of the family members are warriors. They all have their own talents and abilities. As you level them up, each has a few powers that, when activated, are granted to the whole group. It makes it important to level them all up instead of just using the same characters. You don’t get to start off with everyone but, eventually, they’ll start unlocking. The younger ones start to grow into their shoes as protectors, and it’s always an exciting moment when one of them is a character you can select. As far as the classes go, you can expect a warrior, mage, assassin, monk, barbarian, and archer. Though they aren’t actually categorized like this, it’s very obvious that’s what they are. They all have their own strengths and weaknesses which is the variety I love.
Variety — There is a lot to do in what is otherwise a small adventure. I couldn’t count how many different abilities there are. As you level up your characters, you will be given a choice of where to distribute your ability points. There are items to also help you in your adventure to save Morta. You can gain these through purchasing at a vendor, doing events, finding randomly, or killing specific foes. You can gain items that give you additional abilities assigned to additional controller buttons. These new temporary powers can make life a lot easier, or be worthless depending on what you end up with. It’s all random! There are also buffs you can get that are on a timer, including a very helpful experience boost. There are certain items you must select to use and they stack up above your health bar. I never ended up using these much because they’re never on your mind while fighting. You can also buy various things from the store at home, allowing you to upgrade stat increases and perks. I like how much they were able to pack into this game, giving you a different experience every dungeon run.
Boss Beatdown — Possibly the most difficult part of the game is boss battles. You’ll likely be unable to beat them the first time you meet them. But as you continue the struggle, dying and leveling to your heart’s content, you’ll soon grow strong enough to win. It’s really a time thing, the more you put into leveling and gaining money, the easier it will be. All of the bosses are quite unique too, from spiders to robots and finally, the ancient evil. You can replay these bosses too, which for some reason is even more fun when you come back at a later time and slaughter them with little effort. It’s just proof all that time you spent has done some good.
Here’s what I didn’t like:
Lack of Environments — Even with the dungeons changing all the time, it’s still the same area with very little variety. There are only three locations and with all the grinding, can get quite old. There is a spark of outside battling which was in a forest area. I was really hoping I would get to fight in this area more, but it was a one-time thing and you could not replay the segment. You really just get one outside area in a desert and two in a cave. With these limits, there are no effects such as rain, snow, fire, or anything that could have brought the game a bit more life.
Rage Meter — I wanted to like the so-called ultimate your character gets when enough of the rage meter has been filled. I was seldom using it, and when I did, it just didn’t feel all that powerful. Almost more as if it was getting in the way with some characters. There were too many stat increasing abilities for it, as well as items. For something I didn’t think was implemented well, it was a waste. It’s also just another meter to have to worry about. I’m sure some people will like it, I’m just the kind of player who likes to “save it for when I need it” but then never end up using it.
I’ve always been a fan of the dungeon crawler RPG. Hacking away at hoards of enemies, growing stronger as I fight. I’ve played a lot of them, and it’s nice to see the style of Children of Morta come along. It’s a more pixelated looking version but still has the same presence. You’ll enjoy your time with the Bergson family, the story can be touching and a sheer joy to experience because it involves family, not comrades. The care they have for each other goes deeper than just a friendship. While the game can be quite a grind to finish everything, I guess as long as you’re having a good time it shouldn’t matter.
Score: Highly Recommended
Children of Morta was published by 11 Bit Studios and developed by Dead Mage on Xbox One. It was released on October 15, 2019, for $21.99. A copy was provided for review purposes.