Nindie Spotlight: Morphies Law - ArticleStephen LaGioia , posted on 21 March 2018 / 2,793 Views
Nintendo and indies; the combo seems like a match made in heaven, but up until the past year or so, it hasn’t quite manifested into much of substance. This appears to be changing, thanks in large part to the release of Nintendo’s versatile Switch, a platform that seems tailor made for many indies. Not only can gamers now play titles like Rocket League, Stardew Valley, and World of Goo on the go, but they can seamlessly “switch” things up to the big screen if they so desire.
Many developers have seemingly recognized the added value of Nintendo’s part-handheld, part-home console, and a wave of indies have begun to permeate the library. Compared to the massive amount of games crowding the Steam library, the Switch can act as a new frontier for developers to flourish, especially with a notable void of major third parties stepping up to the Switch plate.
With “Nindie” focused Nintendo Directs revealing new titles on a semi-annual basis (including a showing that just recently aired), the relatively small list of indies on the console is growing exponentially. While there's currently a lack of clutter, at least in comparison to the Steam service, it can still be difficult to sort the gems from the duds, with so many unknown games coming out of nowhere.
And so, I will attempt to highlight the possible up-and-coming allstars in a rapidly growing Nindie lineup, while I lay out just what makes said games special and likely worth your attention. The focus will be primarily on games that are either Switch-focused in some way, or Switch-exclusive, though obviously this is only speaking in console terms, as most will also be on Steam. However, they may also just be indie games that seem to mesh well with Nintendo's style, and the tastes of their fanbase.
As far as prospects brimming with top-tier potential, Morphies Law certainly seems to be one of the strongest candidates. Based off what's been shown, it could very well join the group of elite Nindies, where only a handful of games currently reside, along with the likes of Stardew Valley, SteamWorld Dig 2, and Golf Story. Thus, this will be our first game of focus.
Morphies Law, created by upstart developer Cosmoscope from Switzerland, is a 3D person shooter first and foremost, utilizing the Unreal 4 Engine and focusing on online multiplayer. It may sound pretty typical, but one look at the odd nature of this game and you can quickly tell that this is anything but conventional.
It takes on an odd, cartoony aesthetic that provides a heavy dose of intrigue and charm, along with a touch of creepiness. The character models contain a sort of a rag doll-meets-robot vibe. You’ll be able to play around with various weapons and customize the appearance of your avatar to your liking, using a number of wacky and artsy facial designs.
But the true innovation lies in the rules and mechanics of the gameplay itself. Utilizing on a sort of insta-balancing system of equilibrium, the game essentially punishes for efficiency in a firefight, while providing a bit of a competitive boost to those who are less skilled. This flips the traditional rules of the shooter on its head in many respects, and of most games in general for that matter...
How is this system implemented? Well, the more you fire at an enemy target, the more they will shrink, making them more evasive and difficult to hit. On the flip side, you will grow bigger. But Morphies Law takes this one step further; each corresponding limb that you hit will grow or shrink depending on how much it’s struck. So if you keep aiming for the enemy's jugular, their head will shrink while yours balloons, quickly transforming you into a walking target. This will, at least in theory, rev up the difficulty for more aggressive and skilled players and keep them on their toes, while those struggling will have something of an edge in battle.
According to the game’s dedicated website, there are a total of 8 body parts that can be individually targeted and manipulated. This would inevitably make for some hilariously warped and disfigured character models, though it will also drastically change the dynamics of the game. Not only will the difficulty of aiming and evading oscillate drastically, but you’ll gain access to different areas and will move differently depending on your current state.
Long legs will enable you to jump onto buildings, while being small enough grants you access to narrow passageways. Various abilities, like the no-doubt amusing “butt rocket”, will be affected depending on the size of various limbs too. You can even shift size from one player to another by engaging in friendly fire, which simply alters the size of your teammate rather than hurting them. These sorts of tactics could certainly add depth and strategy for teams that use them wisely and resourcefully enough.
Finally, your overall team score is displayed visually, in the form of a looming avatar or statue in the distance, which will grow in size depending on how many kills a particular team has accumulated.
The developer promises 4 v 4 multiplayer (both local and online), with a typical deathmatch mode, along with more unique modes that will better utilize the unique dynamics and quirks of the game. The Switch version will also support motion controls.
While Morphies Law will be released on the PC as well, the Switch version will have a timed-exclusive release, so it will be the first out of the gate before hitting Steam.
This game certainly seems to mesh well with Nintendo’s cartoony brand of innovative games, following in the footsteps of another unique shooter series; Splatoon. There hasn’t been a wealth of information or footage released, so it’s difficult to tell whether the actual quality will surpass or even match the standards set by the colorful squid shooter. Yet, judging from the novel and intriguing concepts all-but-guaranteed to provide some excitement and laughs, we should be in for an enjoyable shooting romp.
Now we just need a concrete release date (the game has been pushed from a Winter 2017-2018 release to a Spring or Summer 2018 window). Unfortunately, we weren't been given an update from Nintendo's March 2018 Nindie Showcase. At least the delay should make a quality game more likely, as Cosmoscope seems to have taken this famous Shigeru Miyamoto quote to heart:
“A delayed game is eventually good, while a bad game is bad forever.”
If you’re intrigued as I am, and wish to know more, be sure to check out the Morphies Law Twitter and Facebook pages, as the developers promise to trickle out juicy tidbits of new reveals regarding the game.