This weekend I took a break from big-budget, explosion fare to dig through the backlog of indie games we've accumulated since the start of the year. I wanted something small and easily consumable, and two titles stood out — Morningstar: Descent to Deadrock and Decay: The Mare.
The two have a lot in common. They're both point-and-click adventures, and they both clock in around two hours long. In other words, they're both the types of games that are hard to fit into our standard reviews format, so they get the honor of ending up bundled here together.
If you're looking for epic Telltale-caliber adventure games, feel free to move along. If you're just looking for another of "that style of game" after maybe playing the excellent Book of Unwritten Tales 2 last week? There might be something here for you.
Morningstar: Descent to Deadrock review
Much to my surprise, Morningstar: Descent to Deadrock has nothing to do with peddling vegetarian meat substitutes to people who've forgotten why life is worth living (namely, steak). Instead, it's a tight, two hour science fiction-themed point-and-click.
If you're looking for something new in the point-and-click genre, you're not going to find it in Morningstar. For that matter, if you're looking for something new in the science fiction genre you won't find it here either.
Instead, Morningstar is the game equivalent of the movie you scroll past on Netflix two dozen times and then one night take a chance on. "Yeah, I will watch Europa Report," you say to yourself. And it's perfectly decent! A bit trope-heavy, a bit plot-thin, and with some iffy effects, but still something that you finish and go "Yeah, I had a fine time." Sometimes that's all you really need.
You're part of the crew of the aforementioned Morningstar, a space ship that's had the ill luck to crash on Deadrock, a planet apparently so horrible that "even the UN says not to go there" or something along those lines. One member of your crew is dead. Another, the captain, is pinned to the cockpit by a massive metal rod protruding from his chest. It's a disaster, and you're the only one that can fix it.
"Fixing it" consists of your typical item-based point-and-click. You'll find items, combine those items with other items, and slowly but surely work your way through the myriad issues preventing you from escaping Deadrock.
What I love about Morningstar is how innately logical and easy everything is. There's only one puzzle I can think of where I got stumped. Otherwise, the game practically hands out its answers — "This tent pole looks like it would make a good antenna" being an example. I could see this game serving as an introduction of sorts to the point-and-click genre.
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