Morphite is sort of like a “lite” version of No Man’s Sky– and I mean that in the best of ways. It tasks you with exploring the galaxy, one planet at a time, scanning the local flora and fauna in exchange for currency, which is then used to upgrade your ship and loadout. It follows the story of Myrah, who is searching for Morphite, a revolutionary fuel that her parents sought out before her. Unless of course you’d prefer to hop between procedurally generated planets at your own pace, which is fine as well–just as long as you have the fuel for it.
There’s also combat, but it’s not the primary concern here. Instead, the focus becomes exploration and seeing the beautiful landscapes presented in the distinctive low-poly style. If you’re looking for an in-depth combat system, survival elements, or adrenaline-pumping spacecraft piloting, look somewhere else. If you’re into a more laid back exploration experience, then you’re in luck.
Morphite’s gameplay is streamlined so that one can explore the galaxy, navigate menus, and make decisions that may or may not put you in harm’s way simply by choosing from predefined menu options.
Whether you’re following the campaign or exploring the universe on your own, moving from planet to planet (or to a station) is as easy as selecting a place to go and pressing x. Your ship will steer itself to its objective and on the way there’s a chance that a random event that will require you to make a decision. For example, you may encounter an alien ship and 1. avoid taking damage to your ship by turning down contact or 2. receive damage to your shields by approaching the mysterious ship.
Unfortunately, there’s no visually spectacular representations of a decision to be made–just the dark expanse of space and a text box. The game, by the way, is presented in a distinct low-poly art style that is bright and nice to look at. It’s nothing that will test the capabilities of your system, but it does the job.
Scanning is the game’s main draw and perhaps one of its weakest aspects. Collecting data is as simple as using your scanning tool until it’s progress bar is filled, after which you’ve acquired the data for that object or critter. This can get frustrating when trying to scan living creatures, which will either try to attack you or flee, because any small shift out of your scanner beam will reduce your progress.
Information can be sold at space stations for currency that can be used to purchase upgrades for your ship. Meanwhile, you’ll unlock other equipment for Myrah simply by playing through the story. Upgrades aren’t an entirely necessary investment, however, and you can get away with spending most of your cash on fuel and increasing the size of your fuel tanks.
Combat takes a backseat to exploration, but you’ll need to engage in it to play through the campaign. You can lock into an enemy by clicking one button and firing with the other. For the most part, you’ll be backing away from your target and firing until it’s dead. Their not particularly smart, so there’s no real challenge even when facing up against larger boss monsters.
As for atmosphere, Morphite’s BGM is ambient and unobtrusive. I can’t say it’s anything memorable, but it’s nice enough.
Completionists will get more time out of this title as there are flora and fauna aplenty to scan on procedurally generated planets.
Alien planets are varied and interesting. There’s joy in scientific discovery.
The distinct art style.
The campaign is short.
Gameplay as a whole can get repetitive.
There’s a shortage of challenge.
If you go in knowing what to expect, you’re in for a pleasant, exploration-heavy journey. While Morphite’s story won’t take you very long to complete, it’s interesting and there’s enough side content to provide more game time. It’s a solid, albeit casual exploration game that will keep your attention so long as you’re the peaceful discovery type. If you like space and you’re not in a militant mood, Morphite may be a good option to add to your library.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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