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10 ноября 2017, 09:25

Morphite is No Metroid’s Sky


Stay on target

If you have a Nintendo Switch, chances are you also have The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The new Zelda is a massive, phenomenal game that you can and should play for dozens of hours. But eventually, you’re going to want to play something new on your Nintendo console/handheld hybrid. Switch Games That Aren’t Zelda is a new column highlighting cool, smaller Switch games to check out once you’ve saved Hyrule.

Considering it only came out last year (and arguably still hasn’t reached a finished state), it’s kind of crazy to me how many games have already ripped off Hello Games’ massively hyped and ultimately pretty good No Man’s Sky. But considering the game was in the public eye for so long, apparently that gave games like Lego Worlds and now Morphite plenty of time to figure out how to emulate its infinite, procedurally generated, minimalist planet-hopping sci-fi exploration.

But calling either of those games a rip-off isn’t totally fair. Lego Worlds has an extensive brick-building system along with the space travels. Meanwhile, Morphite’s other major influence will be very familiar to Nintendo fans who play the game on Switch. Until Metroid Prime 4 actually becomes a real game, this is the closest you’ll get to a new first-person Samus adventure.

Let’s start with the No Man’s Sky comparisons, since they are a little more obvious. Morphite lets you fly around a universe landing on any number of planets. The trippy, pastel, angular geometric art style ensures that the creatures and plants and rock formations you find still look cool even though they are being created on the fly by math. Occasionally you’ll find a village of natives with a side mission to complete like racing around the canyon on the back of a giant snake or roasting some marshmallows. But your primary task on each planet is to take in the scenery and scan as many new things possible.

You can then take those scans to your local space station and trade them for various upgrades. Common scans will earn you straight-up cash, which you’ll need for smooth exploring. Traveling to farther planets burns up more fuel, and while fuel slowly regenerates, you can also pay to immediately refuel. You’ll also occasionally engage with enemy ships and can pay to upgrade the guns and defenses on your craft.

With rarer scans, though, you can upgrade your character for better exploration on the ground. Increase your heat resistance to land on hotter planets without instantly dying. Increase your scanner speed to scan more hostile, erratic animals. You can upgrade your guns, too, for when it’s time to just go all Metroid II on a planet.

Exploring planets and working towards these meta goals make for some pretty fun loops if you choose to engage with them. It just kind of sucks when the game forces you to return to the more randomized content in order to progress when you’re in the middle of the scripted campaign. But it is nice knowing you always have this endless material to return to.

Besides its less-than-elegant interplay with the game’s open-ended nature, the campaign itself is a surprisingly cool casual shooter. It’s not just scanning that brings back Metroid Prime memories. The planets you visit for the campaign are all handcrafted, and they are moody isolated alien environments where nature has taken over once-great civilizations. There’s a lot of platforming as well, made tolerable by floaty jumps that make sense for the space setting.

Like Metroid, Morphite also features a bunch of puzzle-solving that makes use of various new guns you discover. Along with standard plasma pistols and auto-rifles, you can use a grapple gun, a charged laser beam, ion grenades, and even a robot dog turret. Using these tools is satisfying, even if the game is never too tough during a puzzle or boss fight. An unfortunate exception is a staff that conjures temporary platforms beneath you. It’s a clever idea but the late-game jumping puzzles that require it are easily some of the worst sections in the game.

Morphite’s campaign has a fair amount of story and it’s kind of a mixed bag. I like that it’s fully voiced, particular the performance of the player character Myrah Kale. Plus, your sassy feline robot Kitcat is great in an Interstellar kind of way. But something about the tone of the storytelling seems childish in a way that undercuts the atmospheric vibe of the gameplay and genuine sense of mystery surrounding Morphite itself, a powerful living mineral like Metroid’s Phazon.

Morphite may not be the most original game, but being a modest imitation of something as ambitious as No Man’s Sky or masterful as Metroid Prime means that Morphite is still a pretty good game. It’s a nice surprise in a holiday season already packed with too many fantastic Switch games. But seriously, where’s Metroid Prime 4?

Want to learn more? Here’s everything you need to know about the Nintendo Switch.

Buy it now!

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View as:

1.

Morphite is a sci-fi shooter on Switch that's like a casual combination of No Man's Sky and Metroid Prime.

2.

Fly across an infinite universe of procedurally generated planets.

3.

Or tackle the story mode full of puzzle-solving and boss fights.

4.

The scripted and randomized portions of the game don't always come together elegantly.

5.

But considering the quality of its influences, Morphite still ends up being a pretty good game and a nice surprise.

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Source: https://www.geek.com/games/morphite-is-no-metroids-sky-1722161/?source