Played on Xbox Series X
Let there be light!
In a land of darkness all you need is light right? Does that apply if you are a shadow being yourself? Welcome to the Xboxera review of Morkredd.
Morkredd is a physics-based puzzle game that is available to play on Gamepass Ultimate.
In an unknown very dark place, a piece of light conjures up a male and female shadow creature. The light then deposits itself inside a giant Orb and it is up to the shadow couple to roll the orb to an unknown location. The reason for moving the orb to its destination is never explained and while the gameplay is intuitive you have no idea why you are doing what you are doing.
If the shadow people move into the darkness outside of the light they die pretty much instantly and to make matters even trickier the shadows cast by the creatures themselves are enough to kill each other adding a whole new dynamic to the various puzzles you come up against.
Puzzles are made up of Barriers to open, chasms to cross etc, and these are controlled by all manner of switches, pressure plates and crystal plinths to name just a few of the systems that you need to navigate to and use in the correct manner to be able to proceed further.
In case this was not challenging enough there are various creatures and people (again I have no idea who they are or why they are doing it) trying to destroy the orb. If the orb gets damaged it is game over requiring that section to be attempted again.
The game is designed to be played by two players but can also be played as single player campaign. I played the Single Player campaign for this review. Much like the classic A Tale of two Brothers you can control both characters on one controller in the single player campaign. A thumbstick and bumper button are allocated to control each character. This can be somewhat confusing as the maps swing in 360 degrees as you travel through them. Luckily, you can change which thumbstick controls which character easily as they switch places frequently.
The graphics are impressive, particularly the moments when the camera pans out and gives a much bigger picture of where you are playing such as an extremely high bridge. Unfortunately, this does not happen very often as you are trapped within the light given off by the orb for most of the game’s playtime.
The levels themselves are stretches of puzzles in a similar environment such as what appears to be a Temple or a Sewer. Only by getting to a lift of some sort do you move to a higher place that looks different and is the next level. Save points are liberally placed throughout the levels and that is a good thing as the shadow people get killed a lot (generally by each other’s shadow!) just as you get to the save point and it would be soul destroying to restart the whole level continuously.
Out of place
Aspects of the game such as the boating section were well delivered and a pleasure to play however my enjoyment of the game rapidly declined about two thirds of the way through. With no warning you find yourself travelling across a terrain that looks like something a body horror aficionado such as David Cronenberg would think up (charmingly called ‘The Meat’.) If you are not into horror the section comprising of what look like pulsating boils that you must burst to navigate through them is not something, I would recommend to anyone. Using the orb to block nerve transmissions is not something I have seen in a game before though, so it certainly has novelty value.
If you make it through that section, you are faced with a finale that seems to have been designed for another game altogether. I will not go into too much detail, but I have never wanted to play an ending where I am little more than a frustratingly slow Earthworm creature, up against an entire army. I have no desire to do so again.
To make matters worse the level completion Achievements are only awarded if you do not die during the level. As I said earlier you tend to die a lot, so the lack of a standard level completion achievement feels like an extra kick in the teeth upon level completion. In conclusion, the game started strongly and is just the type of puzzle game that I really enjoy, the lack of story or purpose did let it down, but I could let that go as it was fun to play up until it hit horror mode and the final level ruined it for me. It really felt like two different games had been welded together at the last moment and totally spoilt my enjoyment of what had gone before.
The game had a lot of promise at the start. Hopefully the next release from the developers will stick to the good ideas on display and lose the bad as they clearly have a lot of potential.