Morbid: The Seven Acolytes Review
Reviewed on PCAlso available on Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch
Developed by Still Running and published by Merge Games, Morbid: The Seven Acolytes is an isometric take on the ever-expanding souls-like genre of games. Described by the developers as "Horrorpunk," Morbid: The Seven Acolytes seeks to set itself apart from the crowd by adding a few spicy dashes to the souls-like mix. However, its execution is a bit rough around the edges.
Morbid: The Seven Acolytes starts the player off in a dark, dingy, unwelcoming locale, effectively setting up the mood for the remainder of the game from the outset. Immediate Lovecraftian influence is apparent, as evidenced by the proximity to the sea of the starter location, along with the many monstrosities encountered that appear to have stumbled out of the abyss for the sole purpose of ruining the player's quest. Said quest vaguely consists of seeking out and destroying the seven acolytes while surviving the onslaught of fish-folk, evil cephalopods, and animate abscesses of blood and gore at every turn.
Much like other games in the souls-like genre, the combat system of Morbid: The Seven Acolytes centres itself around well-timed dodges, rolls, and luck more than it does attack for the most part. Thankfully a ranged option for attacks exists, be it a gun, crossbow, or similar wares, though ammo is not exactly plentiful. Unfortunately, for a game that focuses so much on movement and agile reaction times, the controls, speed, and timing of such just felt clunky and RNG-based. Even the AI of the enemies seemed to suffer from this fate, as multiple times I was able to get at just the right angle of some terrifying creature that it seemed unable to even touch me despite my literally standing on its sprite. This was most evident with the sneaking element since in nearly every instance that it is used, as long as you are holding the crouch button when you approach an enemy, it will not attack you first, even if it is looking directly at you.
This is not to say that Morbid: The Seven Acolytes is not an enjoyable game. On the contrary, I felt that when combat was not buggy and broken, I greatly enjoyed battling the grotesque horrors that crowded around me so frequently. Further adding to the Lovecraftian concept, the player is tasked with monitoring not only their health and stamina but also a sanity meter. Of course, all of these resources can be supplemented through equally horrid consumables. Yet, the unpredictability of your sanity will keep the player on edge to avoid the madness that ensues otherwise.
I can see Morbid: The Seven Acolytes as being the go-to isometric version of a classic souls-like game with polish. Just during the time that I had with this game for my review, the developer has been in-tune with the players, taking feedback and implementing updates accordingly that have already solved some of my initial qualms with the game, such as the previously mentioned clunky movements.
Even with polish, this game will not be for everybody, though this is not a slight on Morbid: The Seven Acolytes at all. Souls-like games are difficult. You have to expect to die...a lot. This title does a wonderful job of taking some of the pain out of the dying process through the use of frequent checkpoint shrines, though frequent rage and frustration will persist. That is what I love about this type of game, though. The challenge and subsequent sense of achievement are well played here if a bit overly gory at times.