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Larva Mortus review

AT A GLANCE
  • RPG-lite added to top-down shooting
  • Spot-on difficulty and pacing
  • Great approach to make a "scary" shooter
  • Needs co-op play
  • Visuals lack fireworks
  • Low-budget is evident

Can a top-down shooter ever truly be scary? People have certainly tried to light us up with frights over the years; Larva Mortus is a solid recent attempt from independent developers Rake in Grass. Demonic faces come screaming out of the screen, while your sword and shotgun make short work of zombies.

This demon-hunting room-to-room dungeon-crawler is essentially an arcade game - its power-ups dropping from enemies and crates - but the extra details make all the difference. You level your character as you progress, spending points to boost various attributes according to how you want to play, but what’s most interesting is the open campaign structure. While there’s a core set of story missions about the search for an evil artifact, you find yourself playing in an RPG manner, performing side missions to get suitably leveled-up for the challenges ahead.

These days it’s hard to say how many readers will remember age-old shooter Alien Breed, to which Larva Mortus is akin. Of course, we are old fogies, with many troubles and long memory: for us Alien Breed was a shooter that defined gaming. What was definitive about it was its co-op play, and that’s clearly the special ingredient Larva Mortus lacks. Otherwise, it’s just a pretty good indie adventure: the difficulty and pacing are absolutely spot-on, even if the visuals lack the ostentatious fireworks we’re used to these days.

One final thought: this kind of low-budget exploration of classical ideas is exactly what makes PC gaming so exuberant in 2009. It’d be a shame to ignore it.

May 4, 2009

More Info

Release date: Mar 19 2009 - PC (US)
Mar 19 2009 - PC (UK)
Available Platforms: PC
Genre: Shooter
Published by: Steam
Developed by: Rake in Grass

3 comments

  • andyprime - May 7, 2009 11:06 a.m.

    what is your fucking obsesion with writing first? what are you 5?
  • rfry11 - July 13, 2009 8:22 p.m.

    Another game to add to my ever-growing list of games I have to play. ;) I love these kinds of games, but I'm still looking out for the SMASH T.V. sequel that there so much needs to be...
  • JasonTheNasty - May 6, 2009 2:23 a.m.

    Right on I like the old school look . I use to love playing smash T.V . think I'll give this one a try ... But not before I say FIRST oh ya !!

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