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It’s not my favourite play of all time by any means, and I may never come back to it after my fascination fades. Even so, if I’m asked to come up with an example of a genuinely unique experience that shows what games are capable of in 2019, this is the block my internal Wilmot will bring forward from the tangled stacks of my memory.
My opinion of Children Of Morta has improved, and I can see it finding a happy audience. But if I wasn’t reviewing it I doubt I’d have got there. It leads with its worst foot and you have to grind for hours to drag the other one into the dance.
I can’t overstate the fact that it’s a funny game – funny enough that the humour keeps you going from fight to fight, searching not for the source of your mysterious enemy, or for the answer to all the sub-mysteries surrounding Jesse, but for the next episode of the Threshold Kids.
I don’t think I played a single match that I didn’t enjoy. The game offers an immediately recognisable concept, that manages to innovate and surprise, and it’s entirely unlike anything else I’ve played before. Just like a secret clubhouse, it’s likely to lose its allure if you spend all your time there – but it’s exciting as hell to to visit in a snatched moment.
It’s a game where old-school decisions too often trump good ones. A blast from a past I never lived through, where puerile humour and “area complete” screens tease you about not being a “real player”. Ion’s tongue might be in its cheek, but I’ve got little interest in what it’s saying.
Its entry into the cockpit-based, open-world, space-trucking genre puts this game in an arena with some heavy hitters, ambition-wise. Nevertheless, with a development team of five people and a price tag of only £24, it seems fair that it’s less of a world to live in, and more one to visit for a while. And I’ll certainly be coming back here – next time I want to pick a fight.
Don’t make the mistake I nearly made and disregard it: if you enjoy the tactical and strategic game styles it draws from, you’ll find a game that doesn’t go out of its way to innovate on either front, but one that performs a bloody lovely duet.
Brilliant though it is, [Oxygen Not Included] is an ordeal. It’s satisfying, but it’s stressful. I’d even go so far as to say – and here I risk invoking the scorn of the Legion of Geniuses, who wait in the darkness beyond the comment section – it’s a little bit too hard.