Larva Mortus Review
Larva Mortus is a fast-paced atmospheric monster hunting game developed by Rake in the Grass. It’s developed in the same “point-to-shoot” style of the Alien Shooter and Zombie Shooter games, although unfortunately it just doesn’t lack the punch, polish, or panache to rival those games. However, if you’re a big fan of those types of games and you’re begging for more, Larva Mortus isn’t a bad bet.
The major problem here is that Larva Mortus is currently selling for $10, and that after a big price drop from $20. With a price point that’s literally double that of the superior Alien Shooter series, this is a hard one to recommend unless you’re begging for more of that type of action.
Larva Mortus is the story of a monster hunter of the 19th century who travels around the globe seeking out evil and purging it where ever it is found. It’s an intriguing concept, and for the most part this involves the player venturing into labyrinths full of zombies, skeletons and other ghouls and shooting them in the face.
It seems like it should be a rock solid formula that could make any game entertaining, but one big problem remains. The levels are virtually all exactly the same. Whether you’re in a dark foreboding forest or deep in cobweb-ridden catacombs it’s all just about the same thing except with new wallpaper. The one big plus to the level design, though is that all levels are procedurally generated.
This means that every time you venture into a level, even if it’s one you’ve been to multiple times, you’ve got to stay on your toes. Here Larva Mortus succeeds brilliantly. There are no monster closets, or planned surprises to scare you out of your boots. Only the stomach-in-knots tense atmosphere that can only be created by knowing you’re stuck deep in a dungeon with low-health, limited ammunition and a horde of demons desperate to rend your head from your shoulders.
The difficulty range is also a success. Levels run the gamut between very easy, and viciously challenging, and by the time you have a full host of weapons at your disposal, the harder levels are very fun as you attempt to forge a strategy not only to survive the next room, but to leave yourself enough ammo (and from the right gun no less) to survive the next eight or more rooms.
Visually the game is a bit of a mixed bag. As mentioned before, the level designs are very basic, and offer little variety. However, there are some good monster models here, and the things you kill generally look good and scary. There are even some nice effects thrown in there once in a while.
In terms of audio Larva Mortus does a mostly superb job. I say, “mostly” because a lot of the sound effects that the monsters use will often loop over and over again rapidly which can be slightly annoying. However, everything else is magnificent. There are wonderful ambient sounds being used throughout, that echo whispers of beings in the shadows. Guns all sound convincing as well, although a few of them lack some punch. Nonetheless, the audio represents some of Larva Mortus’ best achievements.
The setting for the game offers a unique angle that very few video games ever take a look at, save perhaps for CastleVania. It’s rather refreshing, and if you’re intrigued by the whole 1800s Van Helsing-style monster hunter adventures then Larva Mortus will certainly appeal to you as it’s well-animated, if low-budget, cutscenes provide an entertaining glimpse at the world around the dungeons.