Children of Morta Articles RSS Feed | Children of Morta RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Fellowship of the Ping: Children of Morta Online Co-Op Update Arrives Mon, 14 Feb 2022 19:33:13 -0500 Jonathan Moore

Children of Morta has seen a treasure trove of updates since it was released in the latter part of 2019. New characters, new quests, and new modes have been brought into the family, while New Game+ and the Paws and Claws DLC have expanded on the game's original foundation in meaningful ways.

While Children of Morta lets you and your family members and friends team up in local multiplayer, online co-op has always been a big request from the community. After all, it's been part of the development roadmap since plans were first shared in December 2019.

Now, it's finally arrived — for some players at least.

The latest Children of Morta update, Fellowship of the Sanctuary, is free and adds two-player online co-op to the Steam version of the game. The Good Old Games version and those for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One still don't have it. Yet. Dead Mage said it's "hard at work" on those updates, though there's currently no time frame for when they might arrive.

Fellowship of the Sanctuary comes alongside a Steam free-to-play period from February 14 at 1 p.m. EST to February 18 at the same time. A Steam sale between those dates also discounts the game by 60% and its DLCs by 25%. 

Those who still haven't played Children of Morta should take the opportunity to join the Bergson family as they hack and slash their way through corrupted baddies attempting to overtake Mount Morta. In our review, we said that "Children of Morta is a standout roguelike RPG with a solid central hook, satisfying gameplay, and gorgeous art style all piled on top of huge replay value."

Build the Best Bergson In Children of Morta's Free Family Trials Update Wed, 07 Apr 2021 12:26:18 -0400 Josh Broadwell

The Bergson family has yet another new challenge on the way with the Children of Morta Family Trials update. It's a free Children of Morta update introducing a separate mode and the perilous Zyklus dungeon, and it's available now on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

The Zyklus dungeon contains multiple randomized floors with different objectives ranging from protecting laborers to surviving as long as possible. The layout changes every time a new dungeon run starts, and like all good roguelikes, failure means losing a significant amount of loot.

The goal is experimenting with the best possible builds and adjusting them to match the challenges ahead.

Every Bergson family member is available from the start with all active abilities unlocked. They get Talents on leveling up, with a maximum of 40 Talents, and these replace Runes from the base game. Relics get extra tiers, and every item is upgradeable. 

Those who believe they've mastered the challenges can think again. Succeeding in Zyklus unlocks two additional difficulty levels, Hard and Insane, with each adding new levels and challenges to Zyklus.

We adored Children of Morta when it released in 2019, calling it "a standout roguelike RPG with a solid central hook, satisfying gameplay, and gorgeous art style ..." 

Children of Morta Paws and Claws DLC Steps on the Wild Side for a Good Cause Mon, 24 Aug 2020 12:54:53 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Dead Mage Studios has announced a new Children of Morta DLC expansion called Paws and Claws that's all about animals. The DLC costs $3.99, but there's a twist. All proceeds are going to Humane Society International.

Children of Morta Producer Karol Kala said:

Animals are a big part of the original Children of Morta story, so enriching relationships with them in the game felt natural.

And collaborating with an organization like Humane Society International perfectly fits 11 Bit Studios’ mindset since we believe that a company producing meaningful games should also act meaningfully.

Paws and Claws adds a whole new section to the Bergson family home that serves as an animal shelter. Animals like birds and foxes will regularly drop by, and the Bergsons can use treats to befriend and care for their animal visitors.

There's also a practical side to caring for animals, as the Bergsons receive special boosts related to the animal houseguests, like EXP gains and movement speed.

Like previous Children of Morta expansions, Paws and Claws adds new home events and "over 100 new animations," and there's a free treasure pack adding new relics, Divine Graces, and more.

Children of Morta is available on Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC, and we called it one of our top games of 2019 thanks to its "solid central hook, satisfying gameplay, and gorgeous art style." Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Children of Morta news as it develops.

PlayStation 4 Hidden Gems Sale Sparkles With Big Deals Thu, 07 May 2020 20:25:39 -0400 GS_Staff

Sony is keeping the PS4 sales coming with PlayStation 4's Hidden Gems Sale, which is live now through May 20 at 11 a.m. EST. 

There are several hundred games on sale, spanning almost every genre one can think of, from action-adventure to strategy, RPG, shooters, and VR. Some are incredibly obscure, while others are household names. 

Almost all of the discounts are worth checking out, while some are 75%, making them quite the steal. Here's a list of just a few of the bargain-bin games, with a link to the entire sale at the bottom of the page. 

Note that the Destiny 2 discounts below are only available until May 13. 

Game Sale Price Reg. Price
Absolver $7.49 $29.99
Abzu $9.99 $19.99
Age of Wonders: Planetfall $24.99 $49.99
Arizona Sunshine $11.99 $39.99
Banner Saga Trilogy $19.99 $49.99
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night $19.99 $39.99
Child of Light $4.49 $14.99
Children of Morta $14.73 $21.99
Control $29.99 $59.99
Dandara: Trials of Fear Ed. $5.99 $14.99
Darkwood $7.49 $14.99
Destiny 2: Forsaken $14.99 $24.99
Destiny 2: Shadowkeep $20.99 $34.99
Don't Starve Together Console Ed. $7.49 $14.99
Enter the Gungeon $7.49 $14.99
Farming Simulator 17 $7.99 $19.99
Gris $8.49 $16.99
Guacamelee 2 Complete $5.74 $22.99
Journey to the Savage Planet $17.99 $29.99
Layers of Fear + Observer Bundle $11.99 $39.99
Life is Strange Complete Season 1 $3.99 $19.99
Mark of the Ninja: Remastered $9.99 $19.99
Mutant Year Zero Road to Eden $17.49 $34.99
Nidhogg 2 $3.74 $14.99
Overcooked + Overcooked 2 $17.49 $34.99
Payday 2 Crimewave Ed. $4.99 $19.99
Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Ultimate Ed. $38.99 $59.99
Risk of Rain 2 $14.99 $29.99
Shadow Warrior 2 $9.99 $39.99
Shiness: The Lightning Kingdom $2.49 $9.99
Sparklite $14.99 $24.99
Subnautica $17.99 $29.99
Terraria PS4 Ed. $5.99 $19.99
The Jackbox Party Pack $12.49 $24.99
The Surge $5.99 $19.99
The Talos Principle Deluxe Ed. $4.99 $49.99
Trine Ultimate Collection $19.99 $49.99
Yakuza 3, 4, 5 Remastered $19.99 $24.99


That's just a very small sampling of what's on offer during the PlayStation Hidden Gems sale. Head over to the sale's PlayStation Store page for more. The store's Big in Japan Sale and Games Under $20 are also live as well for even more savings. 

Children of Morta Update Lets You Bond with New Game+, New Side Quests Thu, 07 May 2020 14:47:27 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Dead Mage unveiled a brand-new Children of Morta update called Setting Sun Inn. It's bringing a bunch of expansions to the title, too, including New Game+, more events, more quests, and more ways to experience the Bergsons' quest to restore the world in this family-based rogue-like.

The Setting Sun Inn update is free for all consoles and PC, and it follows last year's first Children of Morta update that introduced a new challenge set.

Children of Morta New Game+ lets you start again with a higher difficulty and changes to the skill point cap system, for a more challenging experience overall. There's some beneficial changes along the way too, including upgrades for what Margaret and Ben can do for you.

Another big part of the Children of Morta update is more scenes. As the trailer at the top of this post shows, there's 20 new cutscenes throughout the journey and 30 new family events and home actions.

We thought the family dynamic and scenes between the Bergsons (and the narration that accompanied them) were some of the game's strongest points, so it's nice to learn we're getting even more Bergson family drama and bonding.

Dead Mage breaks the additions down like this:

  • 20 new cutscenes
  • 8 new home interactive events
  • 26 new home idle activities
  • 14 new family events and quests in dungeons

There's also three new side quest traits to look forward to.

That's a lot to sink into, especially almost a full year after Children of Morta launched, but the Children of Morta roadmap shows it's just the beginning. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Children of Morta update news as it emerges from the shadows.

Family Life Just Got Tougher in Children of Morta's Shrine of Challenge Update Thu, 06 Feb 2020 11:21:37 -0500 Josh Broadwell

Dead Mage's Children of Morta was a surprise co-op indie hit last year, one which we liked quite a bit. Though you've probably finished the main game a few times already, the Bergson family's story is far from over. 

Today, Dead Mage released the first installment of the game's extensive content roadmap, Shrine of Challenge. The update is out on all platforms the game's available on: PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. 

Despite what the name suggests, it's not a brand-new area for the game's characters to explore. Instead, Shrine of Challenge adds a host of upgrades and updates to the base game.

Most notable of all is Hard Mode difficulty. Enemies hit harder and take longer to fall, but you get a lot more XP in return. Two new enemies are added to the mix as well, the Dark Blade and Mech Constructor, and you'll be getting 18 new items to help in the fight. These are a mix of Charms and Relics, items used to give you an edge over your (now even tougher) foes.

Finally, there's a revamped UI and HUD, plus some balance changes for Normal mode. And it's all free.

For a game built around replay and learning patterns, these are some pretty great changes that will force players to rethink their strategies and avoid fatigue.

At the time of writing, Children of Morta is 30% off on Steam and Good Old Games (GOG), so it's a good time to check it out if you haven't yet.

This is just the first part in the packed content roadmap leading up to new characters and a brand-new expansion. We'll be keeping on top of it all, so stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Children of Morta news and updates as they come crashing in.

1,500+ Games Discounted During Good Old Games' Lunar New Year Sale Fri, 24 Jan 2020 16:01:08 -0500 GS_Staff

Joining the likes of Steam, Fanatical, and Ubisoft, Good Old Games is holding its own sale to celebrate the Lunar New Year. From January 24 to January 31, more than 1,500 games and game bundles are on sale, some upwards of 90% off. 

Though the name might suggest these discounts are relegated to the ephemeral "old" games available on the platform, GoG has actually been selling newer games for a while now.

As such, highlighted deals include those on Disco Elysium, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Pathfinder: Kingmaker, Everspace, Greedfall, Vampyr, Age of Wonders: Planetfall, Children of Morta, and Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

Although it doesn't look like there are many, if any, deals on upcoming games like Cyberpunk 2077 or Vampire: The Masquerade — Bloodlines 2, GoG has helpfully separated its sales by genre and the cleverly useful "only the highest discounts" category. 

Here are some of the best deals we saw while readying our wallets for the inevitable mass exodus of money. 


Game Regular Price Sale Price
2064: Read Only Memories $19.99 $3.99
Abzu $19.99 $9.99
Age of Wonders 3 $29.99 $7.49
Age of Wonders: Planetfall $49.99 $33.49
Alan Wake $14.99 $2.99
Ape Out $14.99 $7.49
Atom RPG $14.99  $11.99
Baldur's Gate Enhanced $9.99 $4.99
Baldur's Gate 2 Enhanced $19.99 $9.99
Banner Saga $24.99 $7.49
Banner Saga 2 $24.99 $9.99
Banner Saga 3 $24.99 $14.99
Battletech $39.99 $13.59
Bioshock Remastered $19.99 $4.99
Bioshock 2 Remastered $19.99 $4.99
Bioshock Infinite Complete $54.99 $18.14
BIT.TRIP Runner 2 $14.99 $7.49
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night $39.99 $25.99
Call of Juarez: Gunslinger $14.99 $5.99
Children of Morta $21.99      $15.39
Cook, Serve, Delicious 2 $12.99 $3.24
Cossacks 3 $19.99 $7.99
Cuphead $19.99 $14.99
Daikatana $6.99 $0.97
Darkest Dungeon $24.99 $7.49
Darkwood $14.99 $5.99
Dead Cells $24.99   $17.49
Death's Gambit $19.99 $9.99
Doom 2 + Final Doom $9.99 $2.99
Doom 3 BFG $19.99 $5.99 
Dragon Age Origins Ultimate $19.99 $4.99
Dying Light $59.99   $17.99
Enter the Gungeon $9.99  $5.99
Everspace $29.99 $4.49
Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark $29.99 $14.99
Figment $19.99  $6.79
Firewatch $19.99 $4.99
Frostpunk $29.99 $11.99
Greedfall $49.99 $37.49
Grim Dawn $24.99 $4.99
Gris $16.99 $8.49
Headlander $19.99  $5.99
Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice $29.99 $10.19
Hollow Knight $14.99 $7.49
Hotline Miami $9.99 $2.49
Katana Zero $14.99 $9.69
Kingdom Come: Deliverance $29.99 $14.99
Layers of Fear $19.99 $3.99
Layers of Fear 2 $29.99 $14.99
Mafia 3 $39.99  $7.99
Metro 2033: Redux $19.99 $4.99
Metro Last Light: Redux $19.99  $4.99
Mutant Year Zero $34.99 $17.49
Nex Machina $19.99 $9.99
Outlast $19.99 $3.99
Outlast 2 $29.99 $7.49
Pillars of Eternity Definitive $39.99 $19.99
Prison Architect $29.99  $7.49
Rime $29.99  $5.99
Ruiner $19.99  $9.99
Shadow Warrior $39.99 $9.99
Shadow Warrior 2 $39.99  $9.99
Shadowrun Returns $14.99 $3.74
Shovel Knight: King of Cards $9.99 $7.19
Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope $14.99 $10.79
Slime Rancher $19.99 $7.99
Spec Ops: The Line $29.99  $5.99
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
Ultimate Sith Ed. 
$19.99  $6.99
Stories Untold $9.99 $2.49
Superhot $24.99  $9.99
Surviving Mars $29.99 $10.19
Tangledeep $14.99  $5.99
The Saboteur $19.99 $4.99
The Signal From Tova $19.99 $4.99
The Surge $19.99  $6.79
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt $39.99  $11.99
Thronebreaker: the Witcher Tales $29.99 $14.99
Titan Souls $14.99 $3.79
Vampyr $49.99 $16.99
Wasteland 2 Director's Cut $44.99  $17.99
XCOM: Enemy Unknown Complete $49.99  $9.99


That's only a small fraction of the games currently on sale during Good Old Game's Lunar New Year sale. Currently, there are dozens of DLC and expansion packs also available.

On top of that, legitimately good old games, such as those in the Warcraft, Caesar, Sim City, and King's Bounty series, are available at steep discounts. You can see everything that's on sale over at GoG.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more sales and discounts. And be sure to head over to Steam, Fanatical, and Ubisoft to see what's on sale for those storefronts and if it's cheaper than what's available here. 

Children of Morta Review: It's a Family Thing Mon, 02 Sep 2019 10:15:14 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Margaret Bergson, a wise, old woman knows trouble is coming, a trouble called the Corruption. A brave swordsman called John ventures out into the wild to see how far the Corruption has spread and what the damage is.

Suddenly, a young woman with a bow steps forward from the trees and offers her assistance. There's something interesting about her. No, she isn't an elf. She's not even supernatural to any extraordinary extent.

She's Linda Bergson, John's daughter and Margaret's granddaughter.

Children of Morta takes fantasy tropes we're familiar with, like the world approaching the edge of doom and the special chosen ones who can stop it, and transforms it all into a much more personal affair by making it a family story.

It's the story of the Bergsons — John, Kevin, Mark, Linda, Uncle Ben, and the whole lot — before it's the story of their diseased land, the darkness on Mount Morta, and the divine Rea who charged them with protecting it.

Their ancestral home is the game's hub, their worries and hopes fill the downtime between dungeon dives, and their collective strength is what gives them half a chance at saving the world more than the special powers gifted them by Celestial Shards.

But Children of Morta isn't a virtual novel. First and foremost, it's a tough, roguelike RPG — and an excellent one at that.

Fight for Your Life

The Bergson's goal is to stem the Corruption flowing down from Mount Morta, and to do that, they need the power of three spirits from around the land. There's a handy divine relic in their basement that lets them travel to these three areas and pulls them back home when on the brink of death.

Three main areas might not seem like much, but each consists of multiple stages, which, in turn, have at least two or more main areas to venture through.

Being a roguelike, Children of Morta's dungeons are different every time you venture through them. You don't necessarily have any sort of fast travel option either, so if you die on the second part of a three-part dungeon, you start back at the beginning. That being said, once you fully clear an area — for instance, the initial spider caverns — you don't have to get through it again to move on to the next.

You won't clear even the early stages in a hurry either. There are some small puzzles and the usual traps to avoid — or to trigger accidentally, die, then avoid them next time through — but the biggest challenges facing you in Children of Morta are the enemy mobs.

The game's combat is simple, but involved. Each Bergson has a standard attack, a special ability like John's shield, and then a special attack.

Throughout your explorations, you'll also find various Charms and Runes that expand your abilities in one form or another, but they don't carry over if you die. Charms buff stats like movement speed, while Relics provide powerful spells or sub-attacks to help keep you alive. However, you can only have one active Charm and one active Relic at a time.

Combat is easy to get used to, and while the default button mapping is perfectly comfortable and intuitive, you can change it to suit your needs should you wish. Your specific Bergson faces whatever way the cursor is pointing, and you just press whatever your attack button is to attack.

It might sound a bit too simple on paper, but things rapidly heat up, and you're more often than not in a fight for your life against hordes of enemies, using every trick available to you.

Having said that, the game never feels unfair, and it certainly seems better balanced than when we tried the demo a few months ago.

Then, mobs would reappear after the screen transitioned, their damage output felt just a tad too high, and health restoring potions were a rarity. Dying multiple times just during the opening scenes wasn't uncommon.

That's not the case now, though. It's hard to tell whether mobs have been reduced slightly, but they don't re-spawn when you turn around at least, and damage given and received seems much better balanced.

Health potions don't exactly abound, but they are more common than before, either through scavenging animal carcasses (like you do) or by finding them in special chests.

There are some instances where enemies weasel their way into a kind of sweet spot, where your attacks can't hit them, but you also can't move away, though this doesn't happen too often.

Co-op play would definitely help make the experience easier, especially depending on which Bergson you choose. Some, like Linda, are much more difficult to use effectively without a partner to back you up, just because they lack defensive capabilities or can't handle multiple enemies at once.

On the whole, though, the challenge is finely tuned, and it's worth playing as every Bergson at least once, since their varying playstyles make it almost like playing a completely different game.

Still, balanced as it is, you should expect to (almost) die. Frequently. But that's also sort of the point.

Home Life

Every time your Bergson falls in battle, you get yanked back to the family home thanks to the handy Celestial Shard you keep with you. This is where you can take a breather, tweak your character setup, and check out what the rest of the family is doing.

There's always something new to see when you're back at home, too, such as a pre-scripted scene about one of the Bergsons or new dialogue based on what everyone's doing. This is what advances part of the Bergsons' story as well, so it's actually worth dying.

For example, fairly early on, we get a glimpse at the younger son Kevin and what motivates him. A bit later, that turns into a new scene where Uncle Ben teaches him how to fight, and then a bit later on from that, Kevin becomes a new playable character.

It's a smart way to break up the potential monotony and frustration of roguelikes and gives purpose to every action you take.

There's a story to tell outside the main one as well, and you miss it if you don't actively look for it. Each Bergson busies themselves with an activity or ponders over their worries while you're away.

Linda plays her violin to relax, but Kevin gets annoyed with it from time to time. The youngest Bergson isn't completely aware of what's going on, but possesses as much insight as Grandma Margaret. Not everyone's happy about Kevin learning to fight, and things get tense for a while. In short, it's family life, with all its ups and downs, warm moments, and sharp annoyances.

All this adds a unique air to the adventure itself as well, in an untold story that plays out as you forge ahead. In between scripted events and home breaks, you do a lot of fighting and exploring — a lot. Many games, especially roguelikes and dungeon crawlers, have a distinct separation between the action and narrative. But Children of Morta's emphasis on the Bergsons' personalities at home carries over into the various dungeon areas you explore.

Gearing Up

The other thing you do back at Bergson HQ is fine-tune your equipment and skills. Your Bergson gains skill points for every new level attained, and each playable family member has a unique and expansive skill tree.

You can technically tamper with the tree while out in the field, but it's a lot easier to just do it back at home without as many distractions. Either way, you can't upgrade the Bergsons except back at home.

Uncle Ben uses his magical forge to improve armor, weapon strength, agility, and a host of other important attributes — for a price. Yes, your uncle makes you pay so he'll help you survive (we did say it was a fairly realistic portrayal of family).

Figuring out which abilities to upgrade provides a slight element of strategy, one that changes depending on your playstyle. Whatever ability you upgrade provides a noticeable difference, whether its extra health, a stronger weapon, or a nifty new sub-ability for one of the Bergson's unique traits.

The loop of explore, fight, die, get better gear, try again often gets old very fast, but the tangible sense of progress you get from your upgrades keeps it compelling throughout the Bergsons' trials.

Pretty Pixels

It's impossible to talk about Children of Morta without bringing up its visuals, which are fantastic. The game uses what looks like simple 2D pixel art, but it's incredibly dynamic and expressive, thanks in part to the use of real lighting as a complement.

Fire glows warm and bright, light flickers and changes, and your Corrupted foes have a bizarre shifting effect to their purple auras that enhances the sense of otherworldly danger.

The Bergsons themselves might not have photo-realistic faces, but their movements and general designs probably do more than high-def graphics could anyway. From John's sturdy build, to Grandma Margaret's slight stoop, to the simple animation of Linda playing her violin on the bed with her legs crossed, these pixel characters exude personality and individuality.

A personal favorite is the dollhouse effect that happens every time you go back to the Bergson's home. The house opens up from the outside, and you get an overhead view of each room and what everyone's doing. It's something you see a lot, but it never gets old.

The environments are detailed and interesting as well. You don't necessarily see this right away, though; the opening stages in the silk caverns and some of the others are rather bland and repetitive. But that changes the further you progress in the game, with each area having a distinct and interesting appearance.

Put short, it's a joy to look at and a testament to the flexibility and potential of pixel art in the right hands.

The audio isn't quite as noteworthy. There's a definite lack of soundtrack in most places, and the combat noises each character makes get stale rather quickly. However, you probably won't really notice these things, since combat requires a good deal of focus.

There is voiceover in the form of narration, though, and it's quite frequent and quite good. The reader's voice is laced with gravitas perfectly suited for the game's atmosphere, and though it sometimes strays into the melodramatic, you can't get good fantasy without melodrama thrown in at some point anyway.


  • Well-balanced combat
  • Tons of replay value
  • Each Bergson feels and plays unique
  • Strong implementation of the family element for a distinct identity
  • Satisfying gameplay loop
  • Gorgeous art style


  • More challenging for solo players
  • Could use a better soundtrack
  • A few dungeon areas seem repetitive

In a sea of roguelikes, it's difficult for a title to stand out. But Children of Morta manages to hold its own in a variety of ways, from the family element to its excellent art direction. It's tough, but it's immensely satisfying to slowly build up your family of warriors and push through each challenge.

If you're looking for an indie roguelike or RPG, Children of Morta is definitely worth checking out. If you're looking for both, it's a must-play game.

[Note: A copy of Children of Morta was provided by Dead Mage Studios for the purpose of this review.]

Hands-On with the Children of Morta Demo: Compelling High-Fantasy Fri, 21 Jun 2019 09:36:55 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Dead Mage Studios has been working on a new title for a few years now, called Children of Morta. It's set for a September release date, but for a short time, Dead Mage has made a beta version demo available on Steam.

The game's story centers around the Bergson family: Grandma Margaret the seer, her two sons, Ben the blacksmith and John the warrior, and John's wife and their children Mark, Linda, Kevin, Mark, and Lucy.

The Bergsons are tasked with defending the land of Rea from the lurking Corruption, a task given them by the goddess Rea herself. However, their story is told by a narrator, punctuated with snippets of dialogue here and there — also voiced by the narrator — to give each character some personality. It's an interesting choice that gives the impression you're experiencing a book that happens to let you control its characters.

That impression is only furthered by Children of Morta's overall design. The plot and setting are something straight out of a fantasy story, and while the Bergsons themselves might not be brimming with personality, it's their roles in the story that make them stand out.

Like many good fantasies, this one drops you straight into the world with only the bare necessities as far as background and how the world works. It makes for a compelling reason to continue uncovering the plot and lends an air of mystery to the entire game.

The art design deserves a mention as well. It's a delicious mix of basic sprite art for characters and streamlined, modern animations for the rest of the environment. The Bergsons' home, which doubles as the game's hub, is a good example, especially the dollhouse-opening-up effect that takes place each time you return to it.

It's a bit disappointing that design doesn't apply to the dungeons, though, which are fairly bland affairs compared to the darkly beautiful overworld.

Children of Morta's gameplay is a mix of ARPG, dungeon crawler, and roguelite. John Bergson and his kin are tasked with recovering three spirits connected to Rea in separate parts of Mount Morta to combat the plague consuming their world.

Each area is composed of several smaller dungeons, which themselves are made up of multiple floors and a final boss encounter, and the layouts are completely random; every time you die (which will happen often), you start back at the beginning of that sub-area and try again.

Like all good roguelikes/lites, though, there's a tangible sense of progression. The Bergsons gain Morv, the game's currency, for defeating enemies, and they can use the Morv to purchase attribute upgrades like improved health and defense from Uncle Ben back at their home. Yes, Uncle Ben makes you pay to get a better chance at staying alive.

Each playable family member also has a unique and upgradable skillset. Skill points are earned by gaining experience from combat, and they can then be spent on improving specific skills or unlocking new ones.

These skills, plus the different artifacts you can collect in each stage, go a long way in keeping what might seem like basic combat from being stale. There's always something new to try, some other strategy to adopt, or, of course, a different character to attempt a challenge as.

I played as John primarily, because the demo's opening segment gave me enough skill points to start making him stronger, and new or improved skills make a huge difference in how you can approach enemy mobs and strong single foes.

Getting swamped by hordes of spiders can be frustrating, but it's incredibly satisfying when you can use that loss to improve your chosen Bergson and jump back into the game, ready — and able — to push further ahead.

Despite the variety of skills and attribute upgrades at your disposal, Children of Morta is still a challenge. At times, it seems like playing solo isn't really what the game wants you to do, especially if you go for the faster, but more fragile Linda.

Where her father can cut through swathes of enemies, Linda is initially limited to targeting one foe at a time with her bow and arrow. Single player mode isn't impossible by any means, but even with John the warrior, there are plenty of places where solo players have their work cut out for them.


Children of Morta has a lot to offer already, and it's worth noting that while this is only a beta build, it's a very polished beta build with only a few minor problems noted.

If you're a fan of action RPGs, gorgeous and unique visuals, and compelling high-fantasy stories, the Children of Morta demo is well worth checking out before it's gone for good on June 22.