Children of Morta is a beautifully crafted pixel art dungeon crawler with a refreshing emphasis on character and a theme rarely seen in gaming: Family.

I’ve always had a soft spot for pixel art games thanks to their simple yet colorful worlds. Children of Morta happens to be one of those games.

The game throws you into a beautiful world of gorgeous pixel art consumed by a dark shadow. An ancient evil known only as “The Corruption” is unleashed. The Bergson family, guardians of the Land of Morta, must disperse it by clearing a series of rogue-lite dungeons and beating challenging boss fights.

Meet the Bergsons

When you start Children of Morta, you don’t pick a class like in most RPGs. You choose a member (or two if you’re playing in co-op) of the Bergson family to play.

The Bergsons are a pretty diverse bunch when it comes to fighting. John, the father of the family, uses a sword and shield. The eldest daughter Linda is an archer. Kevin and Mark are more roguish and rely heavily on close-quarters combat. Lucy, the youngest, is a pyromancer. Finally, we have Joey, John’s nephew, who wields a heavy mallet.

Each one of them has unique traits and skills you can develop by playing them more. There are other upgrade systems as well. Uncle Ben’s forge can universally improve the stats of all playable family members, while Grandma Margaret’s Book of Rea enhances the various power-ups found in dungeons.

Crawling and Grinding

Most of your time with Children of Morta is spent navigating through dungeons with multiple rooms and floors. You can find power-ups or merchants that sell them, short side-quests like defending a group of refugees fleeing from The Corruption, memory games, short wave fights, and more.

At the end of a dungeon crawl, there is one last thing – a boss fight. Most bosses will attack in specific patterns but still prove very challenging. Defeating the boss unlocks the next dungeon.

As most rogue-lites go, the dungeons change their layout every time you explore them. You also encounter new side-quests, opportunities, and puzzles each time you play. Exploring is often rewarded with all sorts of pickups, upgrades, and power-ups. The power-ups found in dungeons come in a wide variety that can do many different things. They can temporarily increase your stats or XP gain rate, or spaw a small drone that fights beside you until you either die or complete the dungeon.

Children of Morta can get a bit grindy at times, but that’s not necessarily always a bad thing. Even if you die before taking out the dungeon boss, part of the Bergson family story will progress and allow you to unlock new items.

You still need to grind sometimes to improve your stats and level your characters so you can stand a chance against the bosses. You have to keep diving into dungeons to farm Morv (gold used for upgrades) and XP by killing a bunch of monsters most of the time.

I did run into a few bugs here and there, but that is expected from a newly released game. There was a particular one that was very irritating.

I was in the middle of an escort side-quest, and the child that had to be escorted back to his mother got stuck against a wall. Nothing I did would make him move again, so I was forced to quit the game and start the dungeon all over again.

Pixel Perfect Art and Storytelling

Children of Morta features some of the most beautiful and detailed pixel art I’ve seen in a game. The characters manage to remain expressive despite being completely pixelated, and the environments, while a little bland, all look great.

The narrator of the game does a great job of explaining the story and events in a soothing yet engaging way. It’s almost like he’s telling you a bedtime story, which goes well with the family theme.

The game has a beautiful soundtrack that very much fits the current mood as well. The cozy tune of the family mansion, the spooky ambiance of the caves, and the intense music of boss fights hit the spot every time. Sound effects are also on point most of the time, though I did find the constant laughter of the archer goblins annoying. But that’s just me.

Children of Morta is an excellent and straightforward rogue-lite game that is worth checking out if you are a fan of pixel art or dungeon crawling games. The art is fantastic and a real treat for the eyes on most occasions for those that appreciate pixel art. The gameplay and mechanics hold up pretty well, and the grind is usually worth it.

The game’s emphasis on family is a very nice change of pace in terms of storytelling. It’s something you don’t see very often. Grab a family member or a close friend, and save the Land of Morta together.

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