We analyze Morkredd, an attractive puzzle game that uses the contrast of light and shadow in a very enjoyable title both alone and with others.
One of the main attractions of the video game environment is its capacity for innovation, to surprise us with original and fresh proposals that make us feel new sensations. From what has become known as the explosion of independent video game development, it is precisely from this sector that some of the biggest and best surprises that this blessed form of entertainment has given us in recent years are coming from. This 2020, without going any further, we have received such varied proposals and gives such quality as Kentucky Route Zero, Factorio, Spelunky 2 or that Hades that is sweeping so much among critics and players today. The Norwegian studio based in Oslo Hyper Games adds with its original title to a year 2020 that among so much misfortune leaves us one of the best harvests of independent video games that we remember.
Morkredd is the title of this dark adventure of puzzles and skill that takes place in a disturbing and dark world. Its main characteristic, and what we liked the most about the game, is that it offers two totally different perspectives on it depending on whether we play it individually or with others, without varying the number of characters on the screen or the mechanics it offers. You will always have to control two characters, having to do it a single player if you play alone, or controlling each player by one if we do it accompanied. Both approaches are totally enjoyable, but as we will see once we are in the thick of it, things change a lot from one to the other. It is in fact highly recommended to play it both alone and accompanied to be aware of all the different nuances and circumstances that occur if we do it in one way or another.
The game is also an ideal title to share with that person who is not a regular player or player, because of the simplicity and immediateness of its proposal, and because of the funny and shocking situations that will cause coordination (or rather lack of it … ) necessary between the two people at the controls. So, if you are looking for an ideal title to share with your partner or children, even if they are not regular consumers of video games or even have no interest in them, Morkredd is an ideal title to enjoy in company. Being a puzzle game mainly based on the game between light and darkness, it is never excessively complex, and it is precisely achieving that much-needed coordination between the two characters that is the main difficulty of the title. All this decked out with a magnificent and gloomy setting, and a narrative that relies entirely on the game’s visuals.
Journey into the depths of darkness
Absolutely the entire plot of Morkredd is narrated through the visual elements that it displays on the screen, without using dialogue or cinematic scenes proper beyond some small video in certain transitions. It is up to us to build the plot as we play and interpret what we see. All of this from a very disconcerting start. A kind of ball of light descends on a background of total darkness, and in the middle of a clearing where we see several inanimate bodies, it illuminates and gives life to two forms that seem human, one female and the other male. Soon we see that the slightest contact of any of the forms with the darkness destroys them, and they must remain under the shelter of the brightness that the orb gives off, in the middle of a completely dark place full of strange forms.
At first, the luminescent orb levitates by itself and we must follow it. But soon it will increase in size and settle on the ground, becoming a rolling sphere that the two forms must push, lest they perish if they move away from the area illuminated by the sphere and step on the slightest hint of shadow. Subtly the game is releasing us clues of the world in which we move, and we have loved the sensation that it makes us feel of being a few tiny pieces within a puzzle or gear of cyclopean proportions with respect to us. The setting and immersion capabilities of the title are excellent and work like a charm, pushing us on to see what it surprises us with next. If we explore well, we will discover a kind of murals where part of the story is told, as hidden collectibles. But as we say, there is not a single dialogue or the slightest hint of direct explanation of the story in the game, and despite this it connects with the player and transmits everything that it intends.
Take care even of your shadow
As we have already mentioned, the playable approach of the title differs if we do it alone or with others. In the first case, we control each of the forms simultaneously with each of the sticks of the controller, in a similar way to that seen in the excellent Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons. If we play together, each one will control one of the characters. The key in both cases is coordination, but in each one it will be a different matter. Playing alone, we must be aware at all times of which player we move with each stick, although we can also change that assignment on the fly by pressing a button. Playing doubles, we must coordinate perfectly with the other person.
This is vital because contact with the slightest area of darkness means the death of the character in question and returning to the last activated checkpoint. Important thing if we consider that we handle two characters in a totally dark world while pushing a rolling sphere of light. And of course, here is the crux of the matter, every element of the stage casts shadows, including the characters themselves. And the shadows are lethal. That is why the main puzzle and element that introduces difficulty to the title is the simple fact of moving the two characters without mutually annihilating each other with their shadows. We guarantee that you cannot imagine the number of times you are going to kill the other form for not moving the characters in a coordinated way, and the hilarity of the situations that this will cause. Fortunately, the checkpoints are more than generous and the numerous restarts don’t slow down the pace of the adventure.
And what obstacles will we have to overcome besides not killing ourselves with our shadows? The objective will be to advance through the stage pushing the orb of light with us, avoiding losing it or destroying it. To do this, you will have to activate levers, mechanisms and avoid a multitude of obstacles, always staying in the areas of light projected by the sphere. By having two characters, there will be sections where they will be separated and will have to perform independent tasks in a coordinated way. This makes greater than logic, such coordination and perfect timing between characters (controlled by a single player or two) are also vital to solve the puzzles. As we have already mentioned, the difficulty of these is never very high, and in general we will always be clear about what we should do. It remains in our hands to do it without perishing in the attempt by a lethal shadow at the wrong time.
We liked the variety of situations and mechanics implemented. At no time does the game fall into tedium, although it is true that it does not have much time for it either. The short duration of the title, within the interval of 3 to 5 hours according to our expertise and desire to explore, is our main complaint regarding it. Although his proposal is very fresh and original and varied, that duration does not allow it to shine excessively, and leaves us wanting more. This is compounded by the fact that the game has paid downloadable content that extends it from the day of launch, a debatable policy to say the least. Although there will be no lines of dialogue or written word in the entire game, this game has all the menu texts and instructions translated into Spanish.
A dark world
As we have already mentioned, the entire narrative of the story falls on the visual section of the title. And in good faith it succeeds, with a multitude of elements on the screen that suggest traces of a story that will surprise us. That is why the graphic section of Morkredd should be praised, since on the one hand it is a triumph when it comes to capturing a twisted and dark universe very original and attractive, and on the other hand it manages so well to tell a story without the need for no dialogue or older scenes. Both the artistic direction and the shades of gray and black used give a distinctive and very attractive touch to the game. We also love the scale used on the stage, which makes us feel like a tiny piece of a much larger and more complex gear. The title plays its tricks very well in certain transitions and approaches that leave us overwhelming and spectacular moments, although some of these sequences have seemed somewhat abrupt.
But it is not only in the narrative where the visual section impacts, since the gameplay is totally affected by the shadows that all the elements of the game project, which gives an even more protagonist role to the splendid graphic work carried out in the game. The sound section is somewhat more discreet, with a soundtrack that is in the background during practically the entire adventure, and the game does not have any spoken dialogue or voice of any character. The sound effects accompany and help to weave a gloomy, disconcerting and oppressive atmosphere, to finish rounding off a journey that is not forgotten.
Morkredd is an attractive and very original puzzle and skill game. The possibility of enjoying it alone or accompanied without varying the number of characters on the screen or the game mechanics offers us two very different perspectives and equally enjoyable in both cases. Either we manage the two main forms each with a control stick if we play alone, or we coordinate with another person each managing their character. Said coordination will be essential, since we move in a totally dark world pushing a sphere of light, and the slightest contact with any shadow is lethal, including those cast by the characters. To advance, you will have to solve puzzles with switches, transporting objects and coordinating both characters to perform simultaneous tasks, in puzzles and skill sections that are never overly complex but that are satisfying. The dark and disconcerting staging has enchanted us and manages to build a great atmosphere. The short duration of the title and a certain lack of depth prevent it from reaching greater heights, and yet we liked it very much and it seems like an ideal video game to share with that person who is not a regular video game player, giving us great moments.
- The two perspectives that it offers if we play alone or accompanied, without changing the number of characters or the mechanics.
- It is an ideal game to share, even with people who are not regular video game players.
- Very original and attractive mechanics and staging.
- Short duration, leaves you wanting more.
- His proposals lack some depth.
- The decision to launch a paid DLC that expands the title on the same launch day seems more than debatable.
It meets the expectations of what a good game is, has quality and does not have serious flaws, although it is missing elements that could have taken it to higher levels.