Realism is great, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the stylistic nostalgia you get from retro art in the current generation. The modern games that paying so much visual homage to their forebears, and yet implement the mechanics of their contemporaries are among the most enjoyable games today. Look no further than Children of Morta for one of the finest examples to date. Just check out the trailer below.
Developed by Dead Mage, creators of Shadow Blade and Tale of Ronin (in development), and published by 11 Bit Studios (Frostpunk, Moonlighter), Children of Morta is a narrative rogue-like set to release in 2018. Players take control of the Bergsons, a family of heroes who have watched over Mount Morta for generations, and they must now restore peace to the corrupted peaks. Each family member has their own heroic talents, and they each offer players a unique way to approach the dangers of the mystical mountain.
I love every new AAA title as much as the next gamer, but there is something undeniably charismatic about high-quality pixel art with modern techniques. You simply cannot beat it in terms of nostalgia, delightfulness and charm. Mix those qualities with the mechanics of modern-day rogue-likes and you have the makings for what are arguably the most appealing games for many people. And when they look as good as Children of Morta? You’ve got what could be the most replayable titles of the year.
The narrative design that all of the heroes on Mount Morta are a family is such a great choice. It allows for character selection that feels tied together, like they all belong in the game and have a stake in each other’s lives. Also, from the trailer, the way the family cooperates and inhabits their home is lovely. There’s something so enjoyable about a cast of characters that all inhabit the same space, and selecting which one to use is fun in its own way. It reminds me of snowboarding games like 1080° or even Jet Grind Radio, where all the characters are hanging out around the lodge or clubhouse, occupied by separate activities, awaiting the player’s choice. However, I’ll swap snowboarders and rollerbladers for mountain heroes any day.
There isn’t a solid release date for Children of Morta yet, but only the dangling “TBA 2018” to keep us waiting. As long as this doesn’t get delayed until 2019, you can bet I’ll be climbing the foggy peaks of Mount Morta all winter.