App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
User Interface Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Crescent Moon Games is one of those developers that is really hard to get a good read on. They have a track record that includes both some of the best mobile games out there as well as some of the most middling. In the case of their latest release, Morphite presents a gorgeously minimal space exploration game, but then really drops the ball when it comes to doing much of anything interesting with it. This, unfortuately, makes Morphite a game to add to Crescent Moon's mediocre pile.
Scanning in space
In Morphite, you play as a young explorer named Myrah Kale, who stumbles across a mysterious and rare mineral known as “Morphite.” This discovery puts you on an adventure that has you venturing from planet to planet in search of answers about Morphite and Myrah.
For the most part, the whole thing kind of feels like it's going for a mix between Metroid Prime and No Man's Sky. Players control Myrah from a first-person perspective and hop between planets to complete missions, which usually involves some light puzzle-solving and combat to find a new item which will come in handy on a future mission. Whenever you land on a planet, you're also looking to scan everything in sight to sell your scans, as the money you earn for doing so allows you to refuel your ship and upgrade your equipment.
As you're doing all of this space-faring, it's hard not to appreciate Morphite's amazingly minimal style. Everything in the game has this low-poly look to it that really looks great and moves smoothly. It also helps that the game makes extremely good use of color, light, and even sound to tie the whole thing together nicely.
There are also structural choices present in Morphite that contribute to the game's overall sense of minimal space exploration. Having to use a drop pod to land and depart from each planet, for example, adds to the sense of loneliness in deep space. Things like this are small touches, but they really help define the game's tone.
As cool as Morphite looks and sounds though, there isn't much to the game once you really dig into it, and what actually is there is pretty disappointing. Morphite's combat and puzzles are not particularly difficult, and scanning things in between those sections is both inconvenient and kind of boring. When you aren't actively planetside, you're constantly having to manage your ship's fuel and encountering random events, both of which just feel like things that get in the way of getting you through the game.
Even if you find some enjoyment in this gameplay, you may still find some disappointment when it comes to Morphite's technical issues. The game has a poorly implemented checkpointing system, there are times when your character may bug out and fall through the floor of a level, and the general controls for traversal and combat are almost a constant struggle.
The bottom line
As beautiful as Morphite may look on the surface, it's innerworkings are pretty ugly. The entire game just feels kind of empty and lifeless, and nothing in the gameplay, story, or aesthetic do anything to inject much life into it. It's a real shame that such a cool aesthetic is wasted on such a dull game.