No Man’s Sky might not have been the world beater which many hoped it would be, but regardless of your opinion, it is in fact the measuring stick for all sci-fi, space exploration RPGs. It might not be a very long stick, but its status has ultimately made it the centre point of the genre. And this is why many, including myself, compare each and every new space exploration game, such as Morphite, to it.
Unlike No Man’s Sky, Morphite is a low budget project. Its devoid of polygons façade, and poultry 380mb file size, in many ways, reflect it perfectly. And that’s because Morphite, is a minute title in comparison to other space sims, and especially the supposedly endless No Man’s Sky. But that’s perfectly fine, because unlike the giants of the genre, Morphite is not pretending to be biggest, and greatest title out there.
Morphite is filled with simplicity. Its visuals, and gameplay are as barebones as they could possibly be. But regardless of the texture lacking landscapes, and simple shooting mechanics, Morphite is not as straightforward as it leads one to believe, initially. As with time, the seemingly Neanderthal title presents one with ever the new features, such as customization, upgrades, and trading. And within an hour, one is no longer playing a clunky first-person shooter, but a reasonably deep and meaningful ‘meteroidvania’.
Many will scoff at the idea that a three-dimensional title, such as Morphite, could ever be regarded as a meteoroidvania. However, the core gameplay of the title which revolves around exploration, constantly forces one to go back and forth between different planets, as with new unlocks, previously locked areas become accessible, and allow one to explore previously visited planets in full,
Underneath the surface, as well as on top of it, all planets hold a plethora of fauna and flora. As vast majority of planets features ecosystems, composed of unique wildlife and vegetation, and all of which can be scanned and sold to interplanetary vendors, in-orbit. And currency obtained from the sale of said scans, can then be used to upgrade player’s ship, and with a help of numerous resources, one can also upgrade his/her space suit, which just like weapons, and other trinkets, unlocks numerous previously unexplorable areas.
At its core, Morphite is all about exploration. And while it features weapons, and a wide array of enemies, its combat it rather lacklustre, and in a long run, tedious. The developer has made an attempt at simplifying the encounters with hostiles, with addition of auto-aim, but even then, all fights feel slow, clunky, and generally un inspired. And that’s a shame, as some planets feature large number of hostiles, and each and every battle simply takes away from the joy of exploration.
Initially, Morphite establishes itself as a title which is all about exploration and puzzles. As majority of initial areas is all about traversal, and discovery of long lost secrets. And while the title possesses dozens of different planets and space stations, they are all incredibly small, and this is probably why Morphite features so much combat. As without it, majority of planets could be explored, in-full, in a couple of minutes. And yes – with time, Morphite, just like all the other games, gets bigger and better, but it does nothing to vary the gampeplay. And with each and every planet, Morphite doesn’t fill one with excitement but with boredom.
After I’ve spent some time with Morpihte, I’ve started noticing things, which in the end allowed me to understand the true nature of the title. Miniscule planets, low-polygon art style, simple and clunky gameplay, and last but not least, erratic control scheme, are all a sign of the fact that Morphite is simply not a console title. But one which was built with mobiles in mind. And once one realises that such is the fact, all the title’s shortcomings will finally begin to make sense.
Morphite, may initially fool some. As at the first sight, it looks no different than Grow Up, or any other modern low-polygon indie title. But while it may share certain features with modern console games, it is ultimately nothing more than a mobile port. A port which feels simply out of place on modern consoles. Its scale is underwhelming, digital artifacting is present throughout, and worst of all the controls and gameplay of the title are simply horrendous. And should have been improved upon, considering that Morphite costs £11.99. Just as much as many competent, modern indies.
In short, Morphite is a yet another underwhelming mobile title, simply ported to consoles. It does a lot of things right, but its negatives severely outweigh the negatives. And the lack of equilibrium, which would make Morphite an average game, only further drags it down. And once one takes into the consideration of its bugs and glitches, such as frame-drops, texture-clipping, and digital artifacting. He’ll realise that Morphite, at least in its current form, is a title which is simply not worth its asking price.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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