Mortal Crux (opens in new tab) it’s one of those indie projects that is slowly coming together before our eyes on Twitter and TikTok. We checked in last (opens in new tab) in this action RPG that was developed in isolation last February, when it was only a few months in development, but since then it has accumulated a list of interesting features for its cold fantasy, all proven to an eager audience on social media.
WIP system for random spawning of harvesting vegetation in elevator shafts. 🍄This feature was the reason for the glass floor lifting design I featured a few months ago. #IndieGameDev #indiegame #indiedev #gamedev #unity3d #RPG #gamedevelopment #madewithunity #solodev #gaming #Steam pic.twitter.com/9vJ3Om53LFebruary 14, 2023
At a glance, Mortal Crux is an isometric one-to-four player action RPG that seems to combine a Soulsy positioning and time-based battle system with the fantasy atmosphere of classic CRPGs or their console cousins like Baldur’s Gate : Dark Alliance. Solo developer Jesse Walker drip-feeds short video updates on new features and areas as he builds them, and I’m still amazed by Mortal Crux’s intricate fixed-cam interiors and playful RPG approach.
This attention to detail is what really excites me about Mortal Crux. This game snippet (opens in new tab) released on Valentine’s Day is a good example. Walker’s returns to this set of an elevator clock a few times, and it’s a knockout in its own right, with intricately moving gears and chains like a German clock tower that really sells its 17th-century construction – not the silly technicality of a FromSoftware platformer with a button that you stand in the middle!
Mortal Crux then goes the extra mile to add collectible cave mushrooms that run as the elevator descends. If you’re quick enough, you can grab some of this valuable crafting resource and enjoy a great zoom of the model, with a parchment-style tooltip covering this juicy tradition as well as its practical uses.
Likewise, I’m constantly impressed by Mortal Crux’s addition of pop-up, almost immersive sim-like details to its world. Throwing weapons can blocks magic spells in the air (opens in new tab), with the resulting collision potentially enchanting that thrown weapon. The same for a lasting, flamethrower type spell (opens in new tab) which will vaporize arrows and magic missiles out of thin air, while ice spells will freeze enemies, priming them for breakage (opens in new tab).
Updated the flamethrower spell to disrupt incoming projectiles just outside of the AoE burst. 💥#IndieGameDev #indiegame #indiedev #gamedev #unity3d #RPG #gamedevelopment #madewithunity #solodev #gaming #Steam pic.twitter.com/AiPrdxBEe1February 10, 2023
I love this reactive kind of design and it takes me back to pulling axes out of thin air in Resident Evil 4 or not being able to climb slippery rocks when it’s raining in Breath of the Wild. It’s a simulation sensibility that I haven’t seen in many recent Western RPGs, with the exception of Larian’s commitment to antics in the Divinity series.
Walker continues to branch out from Mortal Crux, with the game seeming to dominate most of his free time. I asked if Elden Ring had changed the way a developer might approach a Soulslike, but development eats up so much of his attention that he still hasn’t checked off FromSoft’s monster blockbuster and 2022 Game of the Year (opens in new tab). Mortal Crux doesn’t have a set release date yet, but you can wishlist the game on Steam (opens in new tab).
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