Morphies Law: Remorphed
Nintendo Switch/PC via Stream
IT’S A testament to the confidence Morphies Law intrinsically engenders that Cosmoscope didn’t just let it rest on its laurels when it launched on the Nintendo Switch last year. Even with mediocre to poor reviews greeting its release, the Switzerland-based studio could have allowed it to thrive by way of built-up anticipation off its unique properties. After all, it isn’t akin to the typical third-person multiplayer shooter on a 4v4 arena store shelves already have myriad versions of. The notion of gamers accumulating mass for their characters by hitting the competition on the grid is arguably novel in and of itself. What makes it truly stand out is the twist in the implementation: when a specific body part is shot, the shooter’s grows even as the opponent’s shrinks.
Creditably, Cosmoscope nailed Morphies Law’s biggest come-on from the outset. The concept lends to all sorts of bizarro images where characters are contorted and move awkwardly owing to appendages of varying shapes and sizes, but the gameplay is anything but clunky. In fact, it works extremely well, with the size differences between combatants sporting odd body proportions enabling all sorts of scenarios through well-imagined maps. And because the dimensions come with their own strengths and weaknesses, fairness and balance are never in question.
Which is all well and good, except for one thing: owing to the very nature of the gameplay, Morphies Law requires a solid online infrastructure — and it was, sadly, not so last year also for reasons beyond Cosmoscope’s grasp. Creditably, the developer went about working on all those that could be fixed — hence the “Remorphed” tag to its name. And it bears noting that the fruits of the labor are now plain to see on the Switch, and especially on the newly launched personal computer version. Along with a much-improved net code, the installation of dedicated servers that can accommodate up to 50,000 characters has made the connected experience much more satisfying.
Granted, matchmaking in Morphies Law: Remorphed isn’t immediate; there will be occasions when a wait is required. That said, the lobby isn’t just for twiddling thumbs and entertaining empty thoughts en route to ennui; available gamers get to play musical instruments while waiting for the game to start, adding to the fun factor. Moreover, Cosmoscope has allowed PC and Switch players to co-exist in Cyberspace, thus increasing the population that figures to grow even more, and progressively, over time. Considering the technical hurdles of crossplay between platforms, props should be given for the smooth battles running at the promised rate of 60 frames per second, with little to no lag and stutter.
Morphies Law: Remorphed has a handful of game modes with parameters common to similar online offerings, but possessing compelling quirks. Morph Match has teams growing their respective avatars via kills. Head Hunter provides an engrossing, edge-of-seat capture-the-flag iteration. The Master, a title going to the biggest character on the grid, fills up its team’s avatar until the latter‘s counterpart can be overcome. Mass Heist has sides taking direct shots at avatars. In any case, teamwork is a must, and voice chat support, while not a dealbreaker, could have been a decided plus.
Parenthetically, Morphies Law: Remorphed has made improvements to progression and stepladder difficulty measures, enabling better and fairer access to Plug-in and Spec unlocks. Some form of grinding may be expected in the absence of microtransaction options. Moreover, the degrees of customization, and the game’s demands for their availability, can be tweaked for the better even as character buffs, special abilities, and equipment aren’t really hidden behind a ton of repetitive work. As an aside, additional expense by way of a Nintendo Online subscription is a requisite for online play.
Visually, Morphies Law: Remorphed packs a wallop. The colors support a Day of the Dead thematic, albeit brighter in tone and bursting from the screen even on an undocked Switch — but movement and quality of the models look easier and better, respectively, on the PC. (On the flipside, use of the Joy-Cons’ gyro functions makes for outstanding collocated matchmaking of up to eight gamers.) Meanwhile, the music is catchy and helps keep the adrenaline of gamers pumping, not to mention augments the singular features of the characters.
In sum, Morphies Law: Remorphed lives up to the addendum to its name in delivering an enjoyable online experience and significant replay value. Much improved from its early days, it’s fairly positioned at $19.99 on the Switch eShop, and a decided bargain at its current discounted tag of $7.99. The same goes for its local Steam price of P449.95. Recommended.
• Unique gameplay features
• Myriad customization options
• Eschews microtransactions
• Improved online experience
• Grinding unavoidable
• Limited number of game modes
• Could do with more technical polish
• Nintendo Online subscription required
POSTSCRIPT: The NBA 2K franchise has been a massive success, and the release of its latest iteration next month figures to keep the gravy train running for developer Visual Concepts and publisher 2K Sports. A big reason it has kept its throne in the sports simulation genre: It never fails to add to its already-massive stack of gameplay offerings every single year. This time around, it will be featuring WNBA action in its Play Now and Season modes. And not just piecemeal, too; all 12 teams will be available from the outset.
Needless to say, the WNBA’s biggest stars are gracing the virtual stage, having been scanned into NBA 2K20’s programming through the use of cutting-edge motion-capture technology. “For years, fans have requested the ability to play as some of their favorite WNBA stars,” Visual Concepts senior vice-president of Development Jeff Thomas said. “We’ve been working with the WNBA and their top players to modify our basketball simulation engine to replicate the WNBA on-court experience. We’re excited to roll out this new feature in NBA 2K20 because we know how important the WNBA is to the world of basketball.”
THE LAST WORD: Information on first-person dungeon crawler Mary Skelter 2 is now up on the Nintendo eShop, where it is slated to make its debut on Oct. 22. Likewise, Idea Factory has updated the official website of the anticipated role-playing game to include character profiles on Otsuu, Little Mermaid, and Nightmare Jack, and additions system mechanics. Slated to carry a price tag of $39.99, it will also contain Mary Skelter: Nightmares. Released in October 2016, the first installment of the series continues to be a certified hit on the personal computer (available via Steam).