A brief search on Steam these days will provide you with an abundance of local multiplayer arena fighters, all vying for what is a relatively small corner of the market. Each tries to stand out with unique art styles or mechanics, to a mix of success. Moribund takes the road slightly less trodden and tries to introduce a new way of beating your friends - this time with harpoons.
Harpoons are the only way to actually kill anyone in Moribund, and they will kill in one hit. However, in order to fire the attack must be charged for a few seconds. This is displayed under your character as a green progress bar, so everyone knows when you’re going for a final hit. Fortunately, you can move around and adjust your aim while charging, but once the bar is full the harpoon is firing.
This makes dodging harpoons relatively easy, so Moribund gives you a few tools to make it easier to land a ‘poon. Firstly, in many of the levels are explosive barrels which explode when hit by a harpoon that seem to kill anyone standing nearby. The players also have a few hit points which can be depleted by the primary weapon. When these are gone completely, that player will become strung up by what looks like ropes and will become an easy target to hit with a harpoon. That player can escape and regain their hit points by mashing their jump button, but it is usually a death sentence.
There are eight models for the player character to give distinction between each player, though this doesn’t work especially well because of Moribund’s biggest problem: the graphics. The cyberpunk dystopian style is interesting, but it is so dark and monotonously dark grey that most of the characters can be a little hard to pick out against the backdrops. The level design itself is relatively uninspired, with simple levels mirrored down the centre - though there are quite a lot of them.
Alongside the main multiplayer mode is a single player challenge mode which challenges your platforming skills. This game is not a particularly good platformer, and this mode is severely lacking because of it. It doesn’t help that each level is aggressively timed, with the timer running out automatically ending the level. I really wish they’d put as much time in making the main levels as interesting as they made the challenge levels, because the combat is this game’s biggest strength.
Unfortunately, I feel like this is entirely held back by the lack of online play. In a time where there are games like Adult Swim’s Duck Game, which not only has incredible depth in its mechanics and level design but a fully functional online mode, I don’t think Moribund has enough to stand out. The mechanics are interesting, but the art style is so dull that when it comes to playing a game with up to three other friends, I’m launching Duck Game every time.
Moribund (Reviewed on Windows)
The game is average, with an even mix of positives and negatives.
Despite having an interesting central mechanic, a lack of online and a dull art style prevent this from being worth picking up over other games in the genre.