Morkredd - Afraid of the dark

Morkredd - Afraid of the dark

A decent light-and-shadow-based puzzle game with an unfortunate late-game flaw


Morkredd from Hyper Games is a co-op puzzle game, recently released to PC storefronts including on Xbox Game Pass (which I played it through). The game is based heavily around the concept of light and shadows. With no text or verbal narration, the game's story is set in a world of darkness, where death awaits in the shadows. A light soul awakens two bodies to help escort it through the environment and creatures that would want to consume its light to an ultimate goal, while its light helps to protect the bodies from the shadows as well.

The bulk of the game sees these two characters pushing around a giant ball of light across the game's environments. The key principle behind the game is that if either of the two characters step into or are put fully into shadow, they are killed, and that is the "end" forcing you to restart at the last checkpoint, which are fortunately frequent after each major puzzle. Since most of the time you are manipulating the only light source that is generating the shadows, you have to be careful about how you manipulate the characters to make sure that one doesn't cross between the light source and the other character as to have their shadow cast against them. There's numerous variations on this - such as more portable light sources that you have to share as to get to gates and switches, or cases of fixed light sources that create fixed shadows that are effectively walls unless you can cast light across them. This is generally a great overall mechanic - but it is a bit tricky to work as a single player in trying to manipulate both characters and the ball of light or other objects.

The game takes wisely from a title like Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons to make controls minimal to movement on a controller's dual analog sticks and single actions tied to the shoulder buttons for the single player. Since your characters are distinct but may switch sides on the screen depending on movement, the game also makes it easy to swap which analog stick controls which one at any time. There's still a few action-y sections that required a bit of practice to get the movements down right. I do wish there was a bit more automatic-like control when pushing the ball; it was easy to have one character push it and the other run ahead, but the game seems to try to drive you to have both characters pushing it during these action sections and I would frequently end up with the characters crossing paths and trigger death by shadow. I figure this game is far easier in co-op with each player controlling one of the two characters, and coordinating via local or voice chat.  Puzzle-wise, there's nothing overly difficult, with most puzzles having solutions that are clearly obvious as long as you keep the goal that both characters must stay in the light at all times. The game uses enough visual cues to give you a clear idea of what needs to be done, and with the checkpointing system, it may only take a small bit of trial and error to get through most puzzles.

Unfortunately the game suffers from a near-fatal "last act" shuffle in gameplay.  While this is a rather shorter section overall compared to the rest of the game, it is far more "action" than anything before, requiring you to effectively play ping-pong with a ball of light while avoiding walls and pointy objects that want to break it, all while on an effective timer. The control scheme completely changes in this section, and plays like a whole different game. Story-wise it is explained to a point why this happens, but from a game, it sorta ruined the entire experience which I was otherwise enjoying to then. I figure this section is probably far easier with the co-op play,  since each player can concentrate on what's happening on their side of the screen, but the single player approach was extremely hard to work through. Fortunately, the layout of this section is fixed and there are a reasonable number of checkpoints, so after a fair enough tries, I was able to work through it to finish the game. I wouldn't same it was an impossible challenge, but it left a bad taste, in much the same way Xen from the original Half-Life sours the impression of that game.

Overall, Morkredd still is a decent puzzle game with some novel ideas around the use of light and shadow with co-op gameplay.  I was able to complete the game's base content across about 2 nights so about the right length for such a title. There feels there's more they could do with the concept, and there is DLC available for the game (which is not available to Game Pass players) that sounds like they explore the light/shadow concepts more. 

Review for
Video Games

Good puzzles around manipulation of light source and shadows, as well as positioning of your own characters

Reasonable length without overstaying its welcome

Frequent checkpoint system to avoid puzzle frustration

Good non-verbal narrative


Somewhat tricky to control as a single player

Last act gameplay switchup unexpected and far different from rest of game, leaves bad taste after rest of game

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