Children of Morta joins a growing list of indie games on the Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite that begs attention.
The idea that the Switch would become the indie machine that everyone would want to play their favourite titles on wasn’t something that was being pitched before it hit the market.
But games like Children of Morta show why people enjoy being able to pick up their chosen titles and take it wherever they’re heading.
Like the blight taking over the world, Children of Morta has a way of drawing you in and not letting you go until hours later.
Released just a few months ago, this story-based rogue-lite tells the tale of a valiant family as they defend their home and world from a growing evil.
The narrative is kept simple and focuses more on the group of characters and their interactions, rather than on grandiose world-building.
The Bergens Clan are a close-knit family who all provide something different on your journey through the pretty pixelated landscapes.
Gamers who regularly play indie titles may not be quite as impressed by the gorgeous retro pixel art style as I was, but for me, it added a lot to the whole experience.
It also gave me a reason to use the Switch’s screenshot button, which had been left dormant for months.
The world is beautiful to look at and is being taken over by the Corruption, an evil that is devouring animals and changing them into monsters.
As the landscape slowly changes around you, the player must lead the Bergson’’s into a battle that is challenging to win.
The team at Dead Mage has done much to make the family a core feature to the game, while also providing plenty of playthrough variety.
Not all the clan are playable but they all contribute to the story, which slowly unwinds into a tale of flawed humans vs evil.
Each member has their own personality and some are easier to like than others. But at its core, Children of Morta does as much as possible to keep the game moving and changing.
New characters appear, different mysteries are solved and the player never really feels like they are hitting a gruelling grind.
And that would be an easy trap to fall into.
While the Bergson’s can be found inhabiting their home in the woods, one intrepid member has to head out into the world on a new mission.
The goals set out before you are always simple to follow but as you journey further into the different places, things start to take a dark turn.
You will jump into different dungeons, each one filled with monsters to slay and loot to temporarily collect.
The good news is that like many other rogue-lite games, the player won’t be expected to ace each run.
You will pick your family member and then try and smash your way to a boss or final encounter.
And you will probably die quite a lot trying to pull this off, with each run providing a different experience, complete with unique power-ups.
And most of the time you return – having died or survived your battles, you will enter the Bergson home to find some kind of new story element unfolding.
While it’s tempting to sometimes skip these events, it’s a nice way to discover more about each character and their backstory.
This weighs heavily on the voice narrative, what with the pixel style unable to provide much in the way of deep emotion.
Luckily, this is top-notch, and does much to keep you engaged with what is happening in the game.
After the end of each run, your Bergson character will lose their additional gear but will gain experience and currency to slowly unlock new skills and abilities.
These become more and more important as you head further into the game and face tougher challenges.
For the most part, the gradual grind feels balanced, although there are some instances when it seems things have been ratcheted up a little too much.
Players will also be able to upgrade the armour of the family, among other skill sets that unlock throughout the game.
And when you combine it all together, it makes for an enticing package on Nintendo Switch Lite.
Exploring dungeons that change each, filled with loot and items that will make each playthrough feel a little different, is a winning formula.
While the character choice at the start feels a little limited, you will soon start to unlock new options, with each Bergson boasting a unique fighting style.
And Children of Morta encourages you to experiment with each of them by making you rest certain characters after they have been used for a long time.
The power ups, skills, and upgrades in Children of Morta are numerous and are the key behind staving off playing fatigue.
Each character has a set of abilities that can be upgraded through EXP, and these can help customise some of the other bonuses you find while exploring dungeons.
The different combos of relics and charms encountered made for some enjoyable gameplay loops, while the divine graces were always good for a temporary boost.
Some power-ups will require you to beat a mini-boss or help some lost travellers, while others will be gained through sheer luck.
The layering of skills and the abundant ways you can collect them is just part of Morta’s enduring charm and will keep you pushing on.
This helps a lot when playing on Nintendo Switch Lite, as you’re able to pick up and play for as long as you want, before turning off the screen and going about your business.
Each dungeon takes a certain amount of time to complete and even if you don’t reach the end, it’s easy to put your Switch to sleep and pick up where you left off.
Children of Morta is a very enjoyable time sink and while playing on Switch, you can enjoy it in small chunks in between other tasks.