There is no shortage of souls-like games on consoles and PC, but it’s always a different story when you try to have that kind of an experience on a mobile device.
While smartphones are more than capable of handling fully 3D experiences today, the majority of mobile games that try to replicate the Dark Souls experience tend to go for a 2D perspective instead.
Mortal Crusade is an action platformer with a few RPG elements and while the developers don’t state it themselves, the game tries to provide a souls-like experience and even replicates its title cards that show up at times of death and victory.
So, does the mobile game manage to provide a worthwhile experience, or is it just another poor attempt at cashing in on the demand?
Mortal Crusade has easy controls.
There is one button dedicated to every action, such as moving to either side, attacking, jumping, and blocking with shields.
The combat of the game is very simple and all you can do is attack and roll, which is the strategy for beating almost every enemy and boss in the game. The shield is pretty useless as you still take a lot of damage from every hit that you block.
The game has a lot of exploration with multiple paths and hidden areas in every level, but a lot of it is often pointless and you have to stick to the story to be able to go anywhere. That is because a lot of the extra paths lead to dead ends and most of the accessible areas are locked until you complete the story-based requirements for them. So, there’s not much use in doing anything on your own.
However, if you realize too late that you have to stick to the story – you’ll find yourself lost because the characters don’t repeat what you have to do and then it becomes a guessing game of trying to visit every single corner of the current level that you’re in. And the general management of the game’s areas is pretty odd too since you don’t usually have a way to fast travel and have to backtrack to access the Citadel (which has shops that you can visit to buy or craft things).
The combat, as mentioned above, is too simple and that is a problem because the game relies on it. The enemies mostly act the same way, whether they’re basic enemies or boss fights.
All you can do in every situation is attack, roll, attack, roll, and repeat the process – otherwise, you die very quickly and, in some cases, in one or two hits only. What makes this even more complicated is the fact that you cannot pause the game and even the inventory is accessed with the enemies actively attacking you in the background.
The difficulty itself of the game is very unbalanced, as the enemies act extremely aggressive and deal ridiculously high damage to the player even in the first 20 minutes of the game.
You will find yourself dying repeatedly and it won’t be because you played poorly, but because the game throws too many aggressive enemies in your way and the damage that they deal is outright unfair.
While the game is beatable – it’s not worth the frustration that you will have to put up with, especially since the game lacks originality and every enemy fights you in the same way.
It gets tedious to use the same two attacks and there’s not much of a difference within the gameplay no matter how much you change your gear.
The items don’t do much aside from replenishing your health, so these aspects are not at all fleshed out compared to most other souls-like games with a touch of role-playing to them.
Ultimately, the game fails to provide a compelling experience and unless you particularly like unfair games for whatever challenge they might provide to you – it’s outright frustrating and will make you regret the purchase.
The graphics of Mortal Crusade are very plain, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
There’s a fair bit of detail in both the environment and the character models – and it generally looks aesthetically pleasing for the type of game that it is.
The game can use an improvement in terms of the overall graphics quality, but the way that it looks right now wouldn’t have held it back from being a great game if the gameplay was any better.
The UI of the game is an odd mixture of straightforward and clunky. For example, the main menu and buttons are managed decently and everything is where it should be. However, the inventory could be improved, especially the method in which you can equip your items to the quick-use slots. You might waste an important item accidentally sometimes if you forget how specific the method of equipping items is, as doing anything else just immediately consumes them.
The polish of the game is also an odd mixture of good and bad.
The performance of the game is pretty good and it looks good on every device too. But the music of the game is abnormally low even if you slide it all to the max volume, and you’ll need to be in a very silent environment to be able to hear anything.
There is only one track of background music that generally plays in the game and it becomes annoying to listen to after a while. The sound effects are very basic too and missing for half the things in the game, only the basic things like attacking your enemy or blocking attacks have a proper sound.
Additionally, you might not have to worry about the game’s sound design being repetitive anyway since it’s abnormally low no matter how much you push the volume to the max – so in most cases you will barely hear it at all.
Mortal Crusade is a pretentious mobile game that does not try to be creative or challenging but instead relies on unfair difficulty and confusing level design to act like it’s meant for the hardcore crowd.
In the end, it’s just annoying to play and only a few people who like to play unbalanced video games can feel like Mortal Crusade is worth their money.