Morkredd Review

The power of Gamepass strikes again; not content with simply offer a huge number of games for subscribers to play, it seems that Melissa McGamepass just can’t help but add quality titles over and over again. Morkredd might be short, but it’s a wonderfully presented physics puzzler, and something that should be on your download queue this holiday.

The dark and moody atmosphere never lets up, with some wonderfully dark and menacing imagery backing the literal bright light that we’re focused on. The aim of Morkredd is to roll this shining ball of light through tricky obstacles to the end of each area.  A simple (and perhaps not unique) premise, but this is skewed by the fact that we control both characters at the same time – one per analogue stick. A co-op mode is available where naturally each player controls one character, but I played the full game solo, and this dual analogue set up worked perfectly.

It can get a little confusing when the characters switch positions (especially as their pitch black silhouette’s look very similar), but Hyper Games have got us covered here, letting us swap the assigned sticks with a simple button press at any time. This comes in handy, as it’s not quite as simple as that brief outline above seems.

So, we’re rolling this ball of light around trying to get it past gates, holes in the floor, flora that sucks the light from it and more. This light is key to the concept as it illuminates a radius around the ball. Light and shadow play huge roles in solving the puzzles, from needing to keep an egg in the dark to prevent it hatching (the creature within then destroying the ball), to activating switches by placing them in and out of light. Again, sounds simple enough.

But.

Our protagonists are deathly allergic to shadow, with even a split second spent in the darkness enough to kill them off.

This is compounded by the fact that they cast long, deadly shadows of their own, making keeping them at opposite sides of the ball essential for the majority of the time. I lost count of the times I accidently crossed the streams as I tried to move one character around the ball, only to drop their shadow on to their partner. Or when the ball was moving too fast (or slow) and I accidently plunged the character not pushing the ball into darkness. Thankfully there are very few other threats, but the constant encompassing shadow more than makes up for this.

This might sound frustrating – and it can be, though only briefly – but the beauty of the gameplay is that it’s rarely truly too hard. Failure mainly came from trying to get my head around handling both characters than the puzzles, though they are not exactly a walk in the park. There’s just the right level of forward planning as well as situational awareness that makes each of the areas just great fun to play. A later area where we lose the ball and have to rely on local ‘wildlife’ to help us by freshens up the pace just as it threatens to lose its lustre, before a frankly bizarre final act that again brings something new to the table.

Less successful is its attempt at getting its obscure narrative across. There are hidden murals to find that fill out a collection on the menu, each adding a dollop of exposition through images only. Through my playtime I found about half of them so ended the game pretty much lost as to why I was doing anything, but in all honesty I don’t think it impacts the game all that much. Those that care can go through the roughly 3 hour campaign again to get any missed, but that’s not something I plan on doing even if I do play it through again.

Conclusion

Morkredd brings some great solo or co-op physics puzzling to Gamepass, and it’s a title that is not to be missed. The dark moody atmosphere contrasts brilliantly next to the shining light we’re focused on, and the difficulty and length feels just perfect, not dragging on too long or whizzing by too fast. The story is easily missed, but at the same time I didn’t come away from my time having had any less fun for it.

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This game was reviewed based on Xbox One review code, using an Xbox One console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.
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Good
  • Great atmosphere
  • Use of physics and light/shadow allows for some great puzzle design
  • Playable in co-op
Bad
  • Story misses the beat by being mostly hidden
7.8
Good
Gameplay - 8
Graphics - 8
Audio - 8
Longevity - 7
Written by
I've been gaming since Spy vs Spy on the Master System, growing up as a Sega kid before realising the joy of multi-platform gaming. These days I can mostly be found on smaller indie titles, the occasional big RPG and doing poorly at Rainbow Six: Siege. Gamertag: Enaksan

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