Children of Morta is an action roguelike that innovates on the formula and lets players take control of seven different “members” of the Bergson family. The Bergson’s are a line of warriors meant to protect the world from Corruption and monsters alike.
Initially, players can only select John or Linda, but as they progress, they’ll unlock the other characters. Each character in Children of Morta follows a different profession or archetype, leading them to play completely differently from anyone else in the group. There’s a warrior, archer, brawler, monk, healer, rogue, pyromancer, and a mysterious presence all of which have their own skill trees and unique mechanics.
Updated on October 21st, 2022 by Hodey Johns: When this list was first released, the game had six base characters. Now there have been two DLCs, each introducing a new hero for a total of eight. Those two have both been added to this list. Also, with experts playing the game and leveling the heroes, a new balance has been recognized within the community. There has been a reorganization of this list, moving the family members up and down based on expert information. Some that were initially thought to be poor did better when other family members were leveled, while some with strong starts out of the gate faded in comparison to their counterparts.
10/10 Apan: The Healer
Both narratively and mechanically, Apan has a lot less going for her than initially thought. For one, she’s the only one of the playable characters not connected to the Bergson bloodline in any way, which makes her seem very out of place. Two, while her upgrades and abilities make her seem like this fantastic support/crowd control character, she doesn’t excel at either. And three, her title doesn’t make sense, why call her a Healer if she can’t heal anyone but herself in co-op play?
Apan is much more focused on slowing enemies around her than healing her comrades. The concept for Apan is fine, but she needs some fine-tuning in her damage output and utility, especially in single-player. Healing usually breaks roguelike games at their core, but Apan’s offensive output is so poor that the healing is more of a merciful gift to compensate for her lackluster skills than a blessing.
9/10 Joey: The Brawler
On the positive side of things, Joey is fantastic at taking on large mobs of enemies due to his high amount of area-of-effect attacks and his staggering damage. His upgrades do increase his mobility and overall damage output but they don’t increase his HP pool, his defense, or his attack speed; all things the character desperately needs. Thankfully, because of Children of Morta‘s unique shared family skills, upgrades to other characters help Joey too, so the further players get, the more viable he becomes.
The developers at Dead Mage wanted to make a powerhouse offensive character and they’ve succeeded, but Joey just can’t stand up well to the rest of the Bergson cast. He just needs one tweak to his core mechanics to fix him though, such as slowly increasing his attack speed/range as his kill combo gets higher, but currently, Joey needs other characters to be at a high level to be viable and, even then, he’s still not going to blow anyone away.
6/10 John: The Warrior
Next up is John, the default character of the game and the patriarch of the Bergson family. John is a standard sword and board Warrior, has a shield and sword combo, and he’ll use them both expertly. He’s also the most defensively inclined character with the highest amount of survivability. Because his blocking ability is reliant on his stamina, John massively benefits from a buff to either his HP or his stamina.
Is he the most exciting character to play? Absolutely not, especially with the randomness that comes from his Heaven’s Strike ability, but his dependability just can’t be overstated. Considering that John’s level 20 skill, Father’s Passion, gives every single character in the family passive health regeneration, players will want to level him up quickly.
5/10 Mark: The Monk
Mark, the Eldest son of John and Mary, is the Monk archetype of Children of Morta and is a very useful crowd controller. Mark has an auto-targeting basic attack, a whip that pulls enemies toward him, a staff that pushes enemies away, and a Glyph that massively extends the range of his punches.
Essentially, for seasoned Mark players, the enemies will always be right where they need to be. And, thankfully, for a melee class, Mark also has some fantastic survivability skills as well such as Atman’s Barrier and Restorative Rage. Overall, he’s the most versatile melee character that requires a bit of work to master initially, as a lot of the mechanics in this game do, but will quickly prove himself worthwhile as the game goes on.
4/10 Linda: The Archer
There’s no doubt about it, ranged characters in Children of Morta are just better off than melee ones by default. The way the combat works in this game, players are constantly getting swarmed by enemies. The game is very Diablo-esque, with a fun, pixel-art style so being able to pick them off from afar is like some sort of superpower.
Linda is likely the best at the whole “picking off” aspect, which makes sense. She’s the second character, next to John, who is directly playable from the start, so it’s obvious Dead Mage wanted an easy-to-understand ranged choice to complement the easy-to-understand melee choice. It’s all about stamina management with Linda, as she slowly uses it when she fires while moving.
Her gameplay usually boils down to kiting enemies while firing at them, stopping to shoot for a bit, popping her Harmonic Slam if anyone sneaks up, then going right back to kiting. She’s simple, powerful, and easy to clear levels with as long as players have some patience.
3/10 Kevin: The Assassin
Kevin is a melee character, so it’s a huge achievement that he finds himself on the top half of this list. For how annoying he is in the narrative initially, Kevin redeems himself rather quickly by being an enjoyable playable character and a worthy Bergson. As with many great roguelike RPGs, Kevin’s personality is part of the show. Kevin is all about attack speed and maneuverability in exchange for poor survivability and defense.
He’s a glass cannon, but since he comes with three dodge charges instead of two, as long as players know when to dodge, it’s pretty easy to keep him alive and slashing at everything in sight. Plus, with his Fan of Knives ability, it’s even easier to take out entire mobs of enemies by dodging into a group, popping this ability, and dodging out of there. All-in-all, Kevin is the definition of a high-risk high-reward character, and he’s just a lot of fun to play as well.
2/10 Lucy: The Pyromancer
Lucy is the youngest of the playable Bergsons, yet somehow one of the most powerful. It makes sense, considering Lucy is the grandchild of Margaret, the powerful family sorceress, and alchemist. Unlike Linda, Lucy cannot attack while moving, but as long as players pick a good spot to plant their feet, movement won’t matter. This is even less of an issue when playing the online co-op mode.
The flurry of fireballs this tiny magic user can toss out in sequence is awe-inspiring, and any enemies that do get close are usually cleaned up by sidewinder blasts that are generated every couple of shots. She can use Cyclone to gather enemies up or send them away from her, Decoy to distract them while she escapes, Protective Wards that auto-generate whenever she isn’t taking damage, and much more.
Every character on this list up until Yajouj’Majouj has distinctive advantages and disadvantages. There are situations where they excel and where they don’t pan out. That’s not the case with Yajouj’Majouj, who can simply change forms when confronted with an unfortunate situation. Pro players give players great advice about who to play depending on their skill set, but Yajouj’Majouj appeals to everybody.
The first form is rapid, firing bolts and homing shots. The second form launches big grenade-type abilities with varying times for the explosion to occur. Both forms have extreme escapability. Yajouj’Majouj is only available for the Family Trials, likely due to being too overpowered for the other modes. This makes it hard to justify any other character topping the list when the developers appear to recognize this overwhelming strength.
Children of Morta is available now for Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation4, and Xbox One.