Having never got around to trying No Man’s Land, when I stumbled upon Morphite I was very eager to try it out. It had a similar premise in mind: explore countless worlds, discovering new species and plantlife, hunt down creatures that may pose a threat, explore at your leisure, and move on to the next planet. What was clearly different about it was its visual approach, which further invited me in to try it and witness first hand its colorful palette pasted upon a slightly lower resolution poly look. I loved the look and what the premise promised, so I willingly jumped on board. That’s where my journey began, and after spending over 10 hours exploring what Morphite has to offer, I can say I have not seen everything. But I have seen enough to know I am not missing out on too much. While the exploration offers some edgy visuals and great sci-fi tunes to make a huge impact on the obscure vibes, it is not enough to save the solar systems from feeling rather empty.
Morphite follows the story of Myrah, a young space-station bound woman who has an urge for adventure. Following her mentor Mr. Mason, she works and lives on the space station, researching various specimens. After a brief supplies run that ends with Myrah coming into contact with Morphite, an extremely rare and supposedly extinct material, Myrah is more determined than ever to explore the further reaches of space. Though against Mr. Mason’s best wishes, Myrah decides to go on the hunt for more Morphite to not only learn more about it but to learn more about her past.
The worlds followed in the story line are all created from the ground up, but outside of that, there are tons of worlds to visit that are randomly generated. The story mode caught my attention early on but quickly grew dull. The mechanics and layouts in some of the created worlds were getting a bit finicky, and after that I took of two unscheduled worlds to make my own story out of Morphite. Though I enjoyed some of the characters and appreciate that they were fully voice acted, it was not enough to make me press on. It also does not help that many of the other life forms you run into, both friendly and unfriendly, feel distinctly lifeless. Emotionless faces and animatronic motions make you feel like the sole lifeform in such a vast offering of worlds, which is rather a grim and lonely feeling. One of the main features in the game is scanning new lifeforms. This ranges from creatures, plants, and even minerals. This is a fun aspect, but best done in bursts, as it is a rather repetitive objective. You can then sell these scans to earn funds to spend in game, which I will touch on shortly. Again though, the problem is the overly robotic A.I showcased in the enemies and friendly creatures. Though flourishing with color the still faces and stiff movements make for an unimpressive set of inhabitants. There are some well-designed bosses too, but the stiff movements persist, taking away from the overall experience.
I enjoyed the game a heck of a lot more when I did not burden myself with objectives, and instead planet hopped at my own leisure. If I did not like the lay of the land or the offerings, I simply called my shuttle back and went to the next planet on the list. The star map is well laid out, making traversal easy and organized, letting you know when you have already been to a planet. There is a space station in every quadrant too, which allows you to refuel for quicker exploration (fuel also refills over time), take on side missions, upgrade Myrah, or just explore further. There are a few weapons and tools to use while exploring, most of which you can upgrade too. From guns and bombs, to your handy dandy scanner, there a few necessities to be had when exploring. You also have a sidekick in your robotic cat, who helps guide you along your missions as well as give you additional narrative.
Though there is a lot to do and see, it is not memorable enough for me to want to see much more. I won’t mind popping in every once in a while and giving a planet a quick romp, but the dull A.I., rough platforming, and otherwise lackluster substance are going to keep me distant for the most part. I really like the direction Morphite takes, and its ambition is clear. It succeeds in having some memorable visuals, fun boss battles, and some decent exploration carry it far enough to make it feasible for players that are interested. Maybe it is better suited as an on-the-go title for the Switch and mobile, but as for my experience on consoles, the vast edges of space and all that inhabit it just were not enough to keep my attention. Morphite has good ideas, great ambition, but just does not quite make the cut.
*Note: A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of this review.
Final Score: 6/10
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