Hands on with Children of Morta, an roguelike about a family of heroes fighting the corruption that is threatening their land

Writing for AiPT means I get quite a bit of email each week, pitching me on upcoming releases. A first pass is mostly name recognition, with the second deeper read gravitating to the things that catch my eye. Children of Morta, an upcoming hack and slash roguelike from Dead Mage and published by 11bit Studios grabbed my attention immediately, and my hands on play at PAX East has made this one of my anticipated releases for the year.

The art style is incredible

Here’s the synopsis:

The Bergson family has watched over Mount Morta for generations as the guardians of the mystical mountain. They now face their most dangerous trial as a family. Corruption has spread, morphing the once peaceful mountain into a violent and monster infested nightmare. Experience what it means to be in a family of heroes. Take part in their journey, their struggles, and their victories!

So, as a Nerd-Dad who has been sharing my love of video games with my sons, this felt custom-made for us. We’re pretty tight-knit, and family comes first over anything, so the thought of playing a game that uses that bond as the lore of the game? Hell yes! Let’s hope it plays well.

Spoiler alert – it plays very well.

The hook of the family dynamic is that everyone has their own skill-set – ranged, monk, sword and shield, etc, and in the two characters I played, it’s tied in to their character’s personality. John, the father, is the guardian of his family, and carries a shield that shows his position as that caretaker role. The youngest daughter Lucy is a ranged fire mage, showing her stubborn streak as she learns her magic secretly.

*Family Ties theme song plays*

I played John for the majority of my hands on time with the game, and used his shield bash and sword slashes to carve my way through scores of monsters all rendered in a very gorgeous palette of 8-bit pixels. The controls reminded me of Hyper Light Drifter, without the same intense brutal difficulty, but the significant crafting of the lore and background made the characters feel very rich and established.

The art itself is amazing, with a mix of beautifully painted backgrounds with very dynamic lighting. I’m very much a fan of the current resurgence of the 8 and 16 bit pixel style, and this seems to keep the character art very retro, with the environment very modern and gorgeous:

 

With this many characters, procedurally generated dungeons, and this well crafted story, this feels like a very unique take on the usual hack and slash dungeon crawler, and I’m very excited to grab this when it releases.

Children of Morta releases “sometime in” 2018, and is coming to Steam, PS4, and Xbox One.