Crescent Moon Games are poised to release their space adventure game Morphite on consoles, PC and mobile devices. It has to be said right out of the gate that Morphite shares many similarities with Hello Games’ highly divisive No Man’s Sky, the vanilla version at least. If you didn’t know, since its launch Hello Games has added quite a lot of free content to make their game a far more rich experience which many will argue should have been a part of the original release. So where does that leave Morphite?
It’s clear from the humble beginnings that Morphite doesn’t have the same budget afforded to it as Hello Games’ offering, but there’s a certain charm to the simplistic tones and angular shapes presented here. You begin the adventure as the eager Myrah Kale, a female lead who has only experienced life aboard a space station. With instructions to visit a nearby planet in a spacecraft, Myrah discovers the matter known as Morphite which opens up a can of worms and the beginnings of her ensuing venture across the galaxy.
Myrah is able to follow the story arc with her robotic cat companion who points out what you need to do next. You can easily follow the pathway across the galaxy map to your next destination, except fuel becomes an issue which means stopping along the way. It’s here where you’re able to land on space-stations and explore – perhaps picking up a simple side-quest along the way such as mopping goo from the floor (yes that is a quest offered). You can shoot up crates with your plasma pistol to gather ammo or resources and in the docking area refuel, repair your ship’s hull and purchase a variety of ship upgrades. It all works very well and is strongly tied to landing on planets to secure more resources. Each planet is procedural generated which means you’ll see a wide range of visuals, plants and wildlife – with some being more hostile than others and that does include plants! With your scanner you can gather data on whatever you encounter and then sell the data when you land on a space-station. On planets you can again, shoot up crates and interact with any inhabitants who might offer side quests. Gathering resources is a big must if you’re to upgrade the ship, weapons and Myrah’s spacesuit (doing so allows her to explore more extreme planets).
From time to time during space travel Myrah comes across a random encounter which impacts you with a positive or negative result such as having all of you fuel stolen or being awarded with some resources. On occasion you’ll have to fight off enemy ships although this is a rather tame mini-game where you sit in a fixed turret and shoot down a circling craft. It’s a bit dull and would have been better if the ship could also be controlled whilst shooting instead.
So, there’s quite a lot to do here with a story that will last around 6 to 8 hours filled with puzzles, platforming sections and intrigue . The story does become more engaging as you progress, but takes its time to really lift-off which might be a little off-putting for the inpatient. One thing that has to be mentioned is the relaxing pacing which is surrounded by an excellent synth based soundtrack. You can really take your time and not feel pressured to do anything in a hurry which is perhaps the game’s greatest asset. There is a fair bit of shooting but this isn’t a strong element and feels lacking and somewhat unsatisfying even when you’re granted a nice selection of weapons. A grapple hook becomes a feature later on in the adventure which adds an evolution of gameplay lending itself well to the overall Metroid style progressive flavour on offer.
Morphite presents simple, relaxing, less imposing free-form adventuring from the offset which might not appeal to trigger happy gamers. However, those who like exploration and discovery will find a pleasant game to dive into. However, it has to be said unfortunately, it’s no patch on No Man’s Sky. If faced with the prospect of either game then No Man’s Sky wins every time. That said, if you’re looking for something new in the same ilk, then Morphite is certainly worth a look as long as you lower your expectations somewhat and prepare for the simplistic rather than intense.