Many of us, fell prey to the massively powerful hype train, only to watch that same train derail and burn in the smouldering wreckage of our hopes for a sprawling sci-fi universe (you remember No Man’s Sky, right?). Might we ever again be able to look forward to a future where any similar sci-fi title without first having to attempt to scrub our brains of the tragic memory of what could have been? Well…for me, at least… no. At least not yet. So when I heard about Morphite, a first-person, atmospheric sci-fi sandbox game, I was understandably sceptical. However, in an interest of looking head high into a brighter future for the indie dev scene, I forced some enthusiasm.
As I said before, Morphite is an atmospheric sci-fi adventure game developed by Blowfish Studios where you traverse a rich collection of star systems looking for resources and data in order to upgrade your suit and ship. Luckily, this where the similarities to No Man’s Sky end. Upon entering the game I was taken back by the incredibly interesting visuals. The game boasts a geometric art style that further accentuates the feeling of alienation while exploring the strange worlds you visit during
your search for the mysterious material known only as “morphite”.
The graphic style is further complemented by the beautiful colour pallet used to show the differences between each world along with an ambient electronic soundtrack. The universe has hundreds of procedurally generated worlds to explore and that’s not to mention the 20-or-so handcrafted story worlds and shady space stations. You travel between worlds via a spaceship that you can deck out with massive weapons and shields.
Massive weapons and shields that you will need, as the space surrounding those planets are filled with enemies as well as massive bosses for you to pulverise into dark matter. The meat of this adventure, however, is the story that explores the nature of the strange connection that your character and her parents have to the “morphite” mineral they’re in search of.
Starting your journey, the protagonist, Myrah Kale, is asked by a surrogate father figure, Mr. Mason, to go to a neighbouring planet to find some resources for the space station you both call home. To help keep you safe Mason has you bring along your robotic A.I. feline pal affectionately named KitCat. KitCat is… interesting to say the least. The robot seems to be a mix between Kit, the A.I. from the famous Nightrider T.V. series, and internet sensation, Grumpy Cat. During your first introductory missions, you are tasked with scanning the native flora and fauna for resources all the while solving Zelda like puzzles and trying to avoid being viciously mauled to death by the local wildlife. Which brings me to my only real gripe about the game… the combat.
Now I don’t know about you but for as long as I’ve been playing video games I’ve always been more comfortable with using inverted Y-axis controls. I know, I know. According to my friends and colleagues, that makes me the oddball. However, I’ve never really felt as though the gaming community as a whole outright shunned my idiosyncratic control scheme as any game that I’ve ever played allowed for the Y-axis to be converted to my comfort. That is until I searched through this game’s options menu and, to my absolute horror, found no option to change the Y-axis. Now, this may not seem like a big deal to
most gamers, but to someone who has only ever played what has been affectionately called flight controls, it’s usually a deal breaker. I was furious. Unconsolable! Right up to the point when I was instructed that there was a lock-on system for the combat. At which time my savage and unrelenting anger cooled to a minor annoyance that was further quenched when my wife told me to stop being a giant man-child… But all joking aside, the serious urge to scan everything I saw, including all the things that wanted to kill me, made the combat fun and challenging and I suppose that’s all I can really ask for.
With all that said I have to say, I really enjoyed Morphite and with a price tag of about 15 bucks on Xbox One, PS4, PC and iOS, there really isn’t much sci-fi fans won’t find enjoyable about it either.