Morphite by developer Crescent Moon Games is a first-person, action-adventure, RPG with an emphasis on exploration and discovery. You can visit almost everywhere in the galaxy, where you find quests, minigames, and an abundance of resources. If you give this game a chance, you will see that there is a lot more content here than in other exploration titles.
Our protagonist is Myrah, a young spacefarer with a yearning for an adventure of a lifetime. She works as a scavenger for Mr. Mason, a knowledgeable engineer and her foster father. After going on a scavenging run, Myrah encounters a precursor ruin that houses a glowing entity known as Morphite. This substance acts with some intelligence and operates with other relic technology, transforming into an ion grenade. Myrah is brought to life through her interactions with the other characters, namely Kitcat, our robot feline tutorial friend. Their constant banter is a welcomed element to the experience, and I love hearing it.
The gameplay is pretty good, allowing us to platform from point A to point B with ease. The quick selection tool (right bumper) is simple and convenient, pausing while letting us browse our items. You can also go through all your items by pressing right or left on the D-pad. The combat is straight forward as we blast the enemy into virtual dust. I personally enjoy the targeting system, in that you simply aim at an enemy and press the right bumper and you will successfully fire at that target so long as you face it. There are plenty of different enemy types too, so there’s no shortage of challenges. I even liked the boss battles, because they just feel like a stronger enemy, making them feel like they belongs in this world instead of just being an OP monstrosity.
I managed to get a fifth of the achievements in the first hour that I played the game. The game encourages you to explore your local ecosystem and to scan everything in sight. You’re not just a biologist or a geologist; you sell your scans at a local station for chunks (money) and you can use a combination of scans and mineral deposits to upgrade your armor and weapons. You can also upgrade your ship. One of the first things I did was upgrade the engines to refuel more quickly. I used to spend a fraction of my earnings just to buy fuel so I could follow the main storyline. There are also plenty of side missions, like taking out raiders or even winning a bowling game. There’s a lot more content than I was expecting!
I really like the soundtrack for this title. The electric rhythm evokes a sense that you’re playing within a futuristic setting. The tone also adds to the game’s theme of exploration within the vastness of space, like a calling from the unknown. The voice acting could be better, but I don’t think it takes away from the richness of the story and the character interactions. Some characters emote better through their acting than others, but it never quite bothered me, considering the dialogue does not usually last too long. The only sounds that annoyed me were the pings from the space ship. Travelling is a big part of the game, and those pings become commonplace. Maybe it should be a lower pitch, because of how often you will have to hear it.
The game doesn’t look bad either! It has that isometric type of look to it, feeling unique. It is consistent in its design, even as you travel to different worlds and discover new species and plants. The story planets have interesting designs that encourage you to interact with the environment (e.g., blowing holes through walls or rocky terrain), and you can apply what you learn elsewhere. The other worlds are procedurally generated, mostly providing a newish experience every time you feel like exploring.
The only title that reminds me of Morphite, is No Man’s Sky, but they are different when it comes down to where they focus their content. I have not played much of No Man’s Sky, but I feel a more distinct sense of purpose in Morphite. You don’t start off with a crashed ship, and you are free to move as you please. It may not necessarily introduce you to fully explorable planets like No Man’s Sky, but I think there is a better narrative here. Even if you don’t care too much for the story, there is still a lot of content to enjoy.
I think a fair rating for Morphite should be 8.5 out of 10, because it is one of the more decent open-world exploration games out there, playing its strengths and making it feel immersive with every new discovery. There are some bugs, but I think the game has a lot of potential and deserves to be checked out.