Ultra-Indie Spotlight Sunday: Mortal Sin

What could be more exciting than death? Why, being sent to a strange purgatory where you have to hack the limbs off of demons, of course. Mortal Sin has you playing a character known as the Struggler. Your Sisyphean task is this: run into dungeon and cave and clobber ghouls and ghosts with a fine array of medieval weapons. Only through this demon-slaying struggle can the Struggler truly be with God. 

Conceptual Meta-Wank:

I remember playing Amnesia probably a decade ago, and thinking gosh, this is horrific I sure wish I could do something about these ghouls. Sure, I like a scary horror game. But I also like a horror game where I go hog-wild with an axe against a horde of creatures. Mortal Sin has a good mix of both, but especially leans towards the axe part— a “rhapsody of violence,” as the game describes. And indeed that violence comes in handy sometimes. 

Mortal Sin has the look of a terrifying game. The draw distance is short, the colors unsettling, and it all has a texture I can’t even begin to describe (hopefully the pictures can). You roam claustrophobic dungeons full of traps and dangers, be it a gigantic mouth on the wall spitting projectiles or an eyeball that will escort you to a nearby jumpscare if you don’t get out of its area of attack. But at the end of the day, no matter how many monsters are running towards you, the option to smash their legs or cave in their heads is always available, and that’s just good clean fun. 

Non-Wanky Game Recap:

Mortal Sin is a first-person roguelite game where you crawl through a few types of dungeons. You start with a basic sword and can hack, kick, and slide into enemies for increasingly damaging combos. Scattered about are boxes and treasure chests that give you access to new armor and weapons. Hopefully, enough to get you through to the other side. 

What Works:

The unbelievably satisfying combat is the best feature of this game. Enemies in Mortal Sin have to be torn apart, not unlike the necromorphs in Dead Space. Sure, you can chop away at a creature’s torso, and eventually, it will die. But when you’re surrounded by monsters, you need to think strategically. Which usually boils down to chop at head level or at their legs. The second best feature is just about everything else. Mortal Sin has a distinctive style that I love. Its use of colors (and lack thereof) make for one of the most interesting-looking games I’ve played in some time. 

What Doesn’t:

The combat is great, but as with many roguelites, there’s not much else going on. If the fighting is not for you, Mortal Sin might become boring pretty fast. There is not much exploration to do, nor is there any other content such as lore texts or crafting, or even an upgrade tree. Of course, this is a review before the game has been completed; with the amount of new content regularly added, this could certainly be outdated information.

How To Fix It:

Since Mortal Shell reminds me a bit of the Chalice Dungeons in Bloodborne, it might be neat to give some kind of upgrade gems that carry over between runs. This could help with focusing the player’s build. Faster attack swings with certain types of weapons, or better blocking ability for heavy weapons. Or even a small perk tree could keep the player coming back.

This isn’t really a fix, but one other thing that would make this game a 10/10 for me would be to add more punching content. Mortal Sin already has a few pugilism perks, but I know I speak for many when I say that it feels great to punch a ghost’s head clean off. A gauntlet class of weapon or the like would be unnecessary, but certainly fun.

Wanky Musings:

As Saint Thomas Aquinas, the Dominican theologian once stated, only through rapid melee combos can you truly commune with God. While Mortal Sin only hints at Abrahamic themes, it definitely posits that the struggle is divine. Through tribulation, a person grows. While these struggles may not seem too dire when you have a level 15 cleaver with a huge swing speed bonus, that doesn’t make overcoming them any less enjoyable. 

You can wishlist Mortal Sin on Steam by clicking here