Morphite Review: No One’s Sky
Kalvin Martinez / Nov 29th, 2017 No Comments
Learning from someone else’s failures isn’t too hard, but distinguishing yourself from that failure when similarities exists is.
Morphite has an unenviable position of being similar to one of 2016’s biggest missteps, but it doesn’t let those similarities keep it from trying things out and distinguishing itself. There is a lot to like about the game in terms of narrative, art direction and a novel gameplay focus, but Morphite makes some mistakes when it comes to combat.
Myrah lives a quiet life on a space station performing odd jobs for Mr. Mason, who raised her and gave her a ship. She longs for more.
As a child, she was told of the rare and ancient element, Morphite, from her parents. It is the singular memory she has of them. She desires to re-discover Morphite and start a colony of her own one day.
The quiet life doesn’t stay that way for long. After performing some work for Mr. Mason, Myrah miraculously finds living Morphite. She can’t celebrate the victory too long because she is swiftly attacked by some bad dudes.
Even if she can’t relish in her find, this isn’t her first brush with Morphite. Rather, it begins her journey to scavenge the galaxy looking for more evidence of the rare element. The more Morphite she finds, the more dangerous the adventure becomes. Is finding out the truth worth the danger?
Morphite’s strong emphasis on story becomes a huge bonus for it. What easily could have been an amorphous series of scouring planets for resources and wildlife becomes much more thanks to an intriguing narrative.
Myrah is a likable protagonist with relatable hopes, dreams and desires. What seems like a fairly obvious space adventure becomes complicated relatively quickly. Morphite is a much more personal story than it seems at first.
While Myrah’s original desire is to find Morphite again, she learns more about herself in the process, including some hard truths. It is the emotional center of her journey that makes Morphite’s story much more exciting and more substantial.
Scan and Explore
Morphite’s gameplay has two sides to it — one is exploration and discovery, and the other is a semi-traditional first-person shooter. Unfortunately, one is more successful than the other, although the two share equal footing in terms of gameplay requirements.
It is hard to create an engaging gameplay experience when the focus is not on combat. Morphite has plenty of times where you simply wander around planets scanning different lifeforms and plants. Each scan you make serves a purpose, not only for the sake of discovery, but also for financial benefits. You can sell your scans at outposts for money or save the rarer ones to upgrade your weapons and suits.
What is nice about this seeming scientific approach is it aids in role-playing as an unintrusive observer. However, any quiet moments of exploration and discovery are almost always interrupted by combat.
While silence punctuated by tense combat situations can be an interesting approach to creating mood and atmosphere, the main drawback to combat in Morphite is the fact that it isn’t very good. The actual act of aiming, moving and shooting enemies doesn’t feel great.
The controls are a bit mushy. There is an auto-aim function, which becomes necessary due to the sluggish aiming and imprecision. At times, it feels like a choice to give the impression of Myrah as an inexperienced warrior. However, as you progress through the story and gain more weaponry, the controls remain the same. It becomes obvious this wasn’t a conscious choice made by the game’s developers.
If there are any redeeming aspects to the combat, it is the different types of equipment and weapons you find throughout the story. These different weapons open up further exploration on planets, creating a neat Metroidvania aspect to this sprawling game.
Morphite’s gameplay isn’t terrible by any means. It just feels confused. It never knows what experience it wants to give players.
Morphite has a lot of intriguing things going on. With a strong emphasis on story, it keeps players engaged as they explore its vast galaxy. Gameplay takes a unique approach, with a heavy focus on exploration and discover. Where it stumbles is when it gets action packed. Despite these missteps, Morphite brings together a lot of fascinating elements and it is enjoyable to play.
Morphite was reviewed on a Nintendo Switch with a code provided by the developer.
tags: Blowfish Studios , Crescent Moon Games , Morphite , Morphite review , review , We're Five Games