Morbid: The Seven Acolytes is a gory and Lovecraftian horror-inspired take on the isometric soulslike genre and it’s a good game. You are the last Striver of Dibrom and your task is to defeat the seven acolytes and free the kingdom of Mornia from their terror.
Like most of the other soulslike games, that’s all you need to know about the story. Of course, spread out in the world you will find lore books and each of the items has a big wall of text lore that expands the world, but honestly, if you are a casual player, you won’t really care about all of that. You just want to play the game.
And the game is good, could have been, no, can be great with a couple of changes which I will go into some more details now. Being an isometric game, during combat you only kinda attack left or right, you can’t attack above or below you with your main weapon. Most of the enemies do the same, but even though often it may look like you won’t get hit, you still get hit. This made the initial 2 or 3 bosses and some of the areas with heavy enemies challenging and it felt like you were also fighting against the game’s design too.
You have a stamina bar you need to manage during combat as attacking and dodging depletes it and you can be caught open to enemy attacks if you can’t roll away from danger. Apart from the sword, axe, mace etc. your melee weapon, you also have your ranged weapon. Defeated enemies, chests or other remains will drop consumables, new weapons, and runes you can use to upgrade your weapons. Soon enough you will have to manage your inventory as it will fill up with crap you probably won’t use. Apart from managing your health and stamina, you also have a sanity meter. The more enemies you kill, the faster this sanity meter fills up and you deal more damage, like way more damage. But on the other hand, defeated enemies can come back to life as more powerful ghost versions of themselves so it’s a balancing act of either you dealing more damage or you being safe.
But the more you progress through the game, the better weapons you find, the better more powerful runes you find, and you also unlock Blessings that work like perks that boost your stats. By the middle of the game, after I found a heavy blood sword and slotted in a couple of runes that increased its attack speed, a powerful shotgun, a couple of blessings, and I finally understood the sanity mechanic I basically steamrolled through the game.
You usually don’t do that in soulslike games as the whole point of these games is to well, suffer until you get good to move into the next room, boss, level, whatever. Becoming a one or two hit killing machine for 95% of the enemies in the game by the middle kinda cheapened the rest of my experience. Then I found a blessing that increased my shotgun damage and I just ripped and torn through everything in my path, from the normal enemies to heavies, mini-bosses and bosses too. I just kept blasting through the final boss, popping “pills” to fill my shotgun ammo and my health and I was done with him or it in like a minute or so. Again, you are not supposed to do that, but the game allows you to do that, and while it felt good to just rip and tear, it made the game way too easy and not challenging at all.
But all of this can be easily remedied. The devs can probably increase the difficulty of the game as is either by halving the consumables drop rate and their effect, nerf the shotgun, runes and the blessings that increase your stats or they can just add a new difficulty mode with all of these previous changes. With these changes, the game can become quite challenging and interesting. I had a lot of fun fighting against this boss early in the game which used her placenta as a flail and could hit you from afar, so I had to get in close for a couple of hits and then dodge away. After a couple of tries, it felt gratifying to finally defeating this boss in a way that soulslike games are known for.
As for the presentation, I really liked the orchestrated music especially during boss fights, but I kinda hated the artstyle which is surprising for me as I am usually a sucker for pixel art games. I think it’s mainly because of the dark and muted colors that kinda all blend into each other making the game look very old. It also diminishes the gore and gruesomeness of the enemy designs as you can’t really identify all of the nitty-gritty details. Like if I hadn’t heard a developer say that the boss I mentioned before uses her placenta as a weapon, I would have just thought that she’s using a bloody flail or something. You can miss these kinds of details and that well, sucks. This also causes another issue which got annoying and that’s the lack of clear separation between where you can and can’t go in the world. For example, you see a chest or an item and it looks reachable like you can just walk over there, but in most cases, you can’t as the path is blocked by an invisible barrier or wall.
Morbid: The Seven Acolytes is a good game, if you don’t cheese it. If you play it like you play any other soulslike game where you fight, die, get good, win, there’s enjoyment to be had and that’s how you should play it. Hopefully, the game might receive difficulty options in the future, and when if it does, play it on a higher difficulty than normal. Thanks for reading.
Morbid: The Seven Acolytes is now available on PS4, Switch, Windows, Xbox One. The game was reviewed on a PS4 Pro using a code provided by the publisher.