I’ll admit that the only thing that really drew me to review Morphite was the fact that I missed a similarly vibrant and colourful space-based game last year. I enjoy space games, but recently I’ve been wanting more of a story-based one than an open-ended one. Enter Morphite, a first-person space game which sees you visiting solar systems looking for the elusive mineral: Morphite.
You play Myrah, who is joined by a floating feline robot called Kitcat, as she tries to locate the material that her parents died trying to find. So, this being a game, of course she finds it within five minutes and sets off a chain of events.
When Myrah gets sent off to a planet, you’re placed in the ship and have to use the map to select where you want to go. If it’s outside the solar system, you warp there. If it’s inside, you fly over and can be intercepted by traders or enemies. When you’re attacked, you have the option to fight or run, the former of which puts you into a turret allowing you to dodge and shoot. Yes, the spaceship dodges side to side, since it remains in one place while you fire the weapons.
There are also asteroid fields where you take direct control of the ship to try and miss the floating rocks, but the field of movement isn’t very large. Other random events can occur, which take your gathered resources without warning, which is interesting but happened far too often. It was already difficult enough to get the resources in the first place, without Kitcat leaving the cargo bay doors open…
Once on a planet, or space station, you get a weapon and a scanner, and eventually unlock other weapons, metroidvania-style. Using the scanner on everything you see is the main way to make money, which allows you to purchase ammo and fuel. To buy upgrades, you have to find minerals by blowing up certain rocks, although which mineral you get seems to be random.
The voice acting is iffy. It’s very obvious that Myrah was performed in an entirely different environment to everyone else. The quality of Myrah’s voice doesn’t come close to matching anyone else’s recording - especially noticeable when speaking to someone in a cave where their voice echoes, but hers doesn’t. Then there’s Kitcat, which uses a synthetic voice to annoying effect. There were some clever lines, but the effect on the voice took away from the enjoyment of them, though to be perfectly honest nobody’s delivery is much cop.
There’s also the issue of sound effects. They are far too loud, and the “sound effect” volume slider doesn’t affect them in the slightest, it actually just turned the voices down. Some of them don’t really make sense - for instance, when Myrah is killed there’s a distorted scream that sounds nothing like the voice actor. Text also shows “The mysterious of the universe have yet to be solved…” which is just weird.
Graphically, Morphite uses a very stylised polygonal look, and I honestly love it. It’s bright and vibrant, and you can usually easily tell plants apart, which helps with scanning them. Although once you’ve visited two dozen planets, and fought/fled from a handful of beasts it’s hard to remember which ones you scanned.
Unfortunately the gameplay is just plain mediocre. You need to pay for all upgrades, and making money is a huge grind, because even if you can land on the planets because they’re not too hot or too cold (if they are, you need an upgrade), most of the lifeforms on it are going to try and kill you. Which means you’ll be scanning most things whilst running either backwards or in circles. Half of the things that try and kill you are able to do so within a few hits, so you need to upgrade. And you can’t kill them very easily because your weapon has a limited amount of ammo until you - can you guess? Upgrade, that’s right!
What’s more, with all of the scanning in all of the worlds, once you’ve sold it to a station and begun upgrading: do you have all of the right resources? Remember, you can only get them from certain rocks, and there’s only a few on each planet so long as it actually has them in the first place. You’ll want to visit every planet, but when you’re treated to the same unskippable landing sequence every single time it really begins to grind.
There’s a good game in Morphite, but unfortunately it’s nothing special. Steam says that it’s had three developers, yet still I keep glitching through portions of the 15 pre-built worlds, and some of the procedurally generated ones. Everything looks nice, but that doesn’t elevate it far enough given the audio and fairly boring gameplay.
Morphite (Reviewed on Windows)
The game is average, with an even mix of positives and negatives.
There’s a good game in Morphite, but unfortunately it’s nothing special.