Larva Mortus

By John Walker on May 13th, 2008 at 12:56 pm.

These are Rock, Paper, Shotgun's eyes, always watching you.

Seeing the phrase “action horror” immediately conjures the image of yet another third-person Resident Evil clone, and not a lot of enthusiasm. However, seeing that Larva Mortus is a retro-styled top-down shooter/RPG makes me much more interested. Playing it made me even more so.

It’s available now from developer Rake In Grass’s website, along with a demo to be found here. Below are thoughts and a video of game footage.

First of all: this is great fun. Taking a more calm approach than the wonderful Shadowgrounds, the RPG ideas are simple and unintrusive, but let you level your character as you see fit, mostly focusing on creating either a defensive or offensive approach. It frequently drops new, more powerful weapons, with excellent ammo balancing offering just enough but not so much that you can walk around with your finger on the mouse button.

The randomly generated levels are very, very simple, not more than a few square rooms attached to each other, but the variety in enemies keeps things fresh, and every room has lots of barrels and coffins to explode and drops to gather. Think: simple. And entertaining. There’s a story here too, told in Flash-style static cartoons, which has you go all around the world monster hunting. Oh, and one fantastic detail: as your playing, seemingly at random, these incredibly spooky faces appear on the screen, accompanied by peculiar noises. Pleasingly unnerving.

The demo is a generous one, offering you unlimited play, but cutting off your ability to level up after about an hour’s play. Obviously this ultimately limits your ability to progress, but it’s a whole world better than having it cut you off and demand your money. Saying, “You’re welcome to carry on for as long as you can, but give us $20 and it’ll be lots more fun,” is a lot more likely to get my cash. Take a look at the game running below.

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11 Comments »

  1. Jochen Scheisse says:

    Rake in Grass are pretty cool. I liked their last game, a shooter called Jets N’ Guns

  2. Poo Bear says:

    Best thing about the game is the spooky faces, I was intrigued and thought it was some kind of Sinistar thing (RUN COWARD!), where some horrible boss was going to come. Slightly disappointed that nothing seemed to happen. Are those spooky and disturbing faces related to anything in game?

  3. Baltech says:

    Is it just me or does this game look a lot like GTA2?

  4. Smee says:

    I see what you mean, Baltech. Exactly like GTA2. Especially with that flamethrower graphic and the blood splat patterns. Electro-gun too, I see.

  5. The Shed says:

    Aye it seems to have the same kinda running/ turning about mechanics. Those splat patterns are damn similar too. Although won’t there be a huge number of games that have the same style? I’m sure I’ve seen at least once before.

  6. Dan says:

    Jets n Guns was brilliant – well worth a try for the shooter crowd. Nothing spectacular to look at, and the demo’s quite easy but as you hit the later levels you really have to think about your weapon load-out if you’re going to make it through alive.

    Having been reminded how much I enjoyed that, I’m looking forward to this when it finally downloads (50k/sec!?).

  7. Ozzie says:

    Reminded me more of a freeware game called Fiend.
    Hm, looks nice, but not my type of game.

  8. JohnG says:

    The game it most reminds me of is Crimsonland, same kind of power-ups and skills. Though they’ve added a lot more story and glossiness.

  9. nihohit says:

    Nah, the leveling-up system is not my cup of tea. The character only gets better statistics – you don’t get anything really new. I judge an RPG by how different will the characters be after a couple of levels. So, your character gets more loot, mine has more life. woot.

  10. Jochen Scheisse says:

    Ultimately, there is a shareware cap in place. After you murder your way through 5-6 of the main plot levels, the next one demands level 6 to continue, and the level is limited to 4 in the demo. Of course you can still play all those non plot levels, which are probably randomly generated, but they are really just fillers, designed for the grind hungry to refill on ammo and level up, for whatever that’s worth. Running through the levels with a Zweihänder killing everything in your way is fun, but I won’t buy this game. Something is missing for me. Can’t say what though.

  11. Dave says:

    It reminded me more of Smash TV… but I love Crimsonland, so I’m immediately piqued. C’mon 6PM, I want to go home and play :P