Ku: The Shroud of the Morrigan is a very interesting game. The unique art style immediately makes you think, “I need to play this game”. At least that is went through my mind. Along with the action-adventure appeal it seemed like a very nice indie game that could kill time. When I began to play the game, I felt some disappointment. This quickly became a game I was going to be having some trouble with.
Forged from an ancient tale of Celtic mythology. An action-adventure set in a future Ireland devastated by technomagical war and economic collapse, humanity clings on by using the remnants of technology that survive. When their ancient spring of life begins to fail, an unwanted orphan child must leave the safety of his villages' mountaintop refuge. With only an ancient sword and a mysterious metal glove, he ventures into lands unexplored and twisted by strange ancient powers.
This really sums up the game quite well. The art style and setting is very unique. To be honest, I have never seen a game with Celtic/Steampunk influences. The same goes with the story, the great fusion of futuristic machinery with mythology is something you rarely see in modern games. Ku: Shroud of the Morrigan gets a lot of points for originality, especially in this world of “template” game design. The story itself is pretty cool, there is a lot to learn about the lore in Ku. So the developers did a great job creating a world with a history. The downside is that getting to that point of cool story ideas takes a lot of time and it does not do a good job of hooking you in. Part of this is due to the gameplay.
This isometric action adventure has a peculiar way of moving your character around and attacking them. You can play this with a controller which makes things slightly easier, but the movement problems are still there, at least when you are in combat. You will move around with the left mouse button. The movement can be done with clicks, or holding the button down. Combat is done by clicking on the enemies and quick clicking will result in combos that you can chain together. The problem? This combat does not feel complete because of the 2D isometric viewpoint. When you play a game like Bastion or Diablo, the combat is designed to play by the viewpoint. Ku's combat doesn't feel that complete.
There are a plethora of puzzles in the game that are a breathe of fresh air to the gameplay. Some are easy, some you will have a difficult time finding out what to do. The puzzles also compliment the art style in a way that games such as Portal or God of War had mastered.
As I mentioned before, Ku: Shroud of the Morrigan has a tough time hooking the player in. This is a very slow game. The first few levels feel so empty. I understand that you are in a desert of sorts but there was more habitation in Fallout 3 than there is in this game. The game also does somewhat of a poor job explaining what you need to do. Which is still a problem in many modern games today. Quests are relatively vague and in some cases, the side stuff doesn't even feel like it is a quest when you pick it up.
Ku: Shroud of the Morrigan is a very interesting indie game. It has the right art style, the right music, and the right setting/lore. If it wasn't so slow and the movement/combat was not so incomplete and clunky, this would have been a stellar game. If you have the patience, you will find this to be a really nice addition to your Steam library. I give Ku: Shroud of the Morrigan a 6/10. Being unique can only get you so far. You can pick the game up on Steam now.