Parents' Guide to

Morningstar: Descent to Dead Rock

By Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Clever adventure could use more content, urgency in play.

Game Mac , Windows 2015
Morningstar: Descent to Dead Rock Poster Image

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Morningstar: Descent to Dead Rock is a slick remake of a more primitive Flash game that benefits hugely from the current 3-D upgrade. The game is played from a first-person point of view, and, although most animations are exceedingly simple, the game's environments are well-composed, textured, and lit. The music also is pretty good, with about 30 minutes of brand-new sound effects and music that improves the gameplay. This is a solid adventure game, and it offers a familiar story concept, pulling you through with intuitive puzzles, good writing, and a polished interface. It's not easy to integrate story and gameplay, and even harder to create puzzles with the right level of challenge, but events progress smoothly, and the story never gets hung up on pointless contrivances. Everything you do is logical, and though there's the occasional inventory game of "click everything on everything else," thoughtful players will know what to do and how to do it.

Descent to Dead Rock also excels in its writing. The dialogue between Powell and Novak is natural and believable (barring the occasional sitcom-like exchange), and Powell's internal monologue has the dual advantage of being intelligent and informative. Unfortunately, there are some big problems in the game. For one, there's a lack of urgency with these characters. For being involved in a dramatic fight to survive, Powell and Novak are weirdly calm. There's never any sense of urgency, and they exchange snarky banter even while Novak is mortally wounded (no spoilers here -- that's part of the introduction). Also, although the additional HD cut scenes and narrative sequences add content, users can still breeze through the game in less than two hours, making its $9.99 price tag a bit questionable. Though subdued overall, Descent to Dead Rock offers an impressive mix of exploration, dialogue, and puzzle-solving mechanics. Its stark graphics and pensive musical score make it leaps and bounds better than its 2009 incarnation, and its beauty, mystery, and sensitive presentation make you wish it were a much longer game.

Game Details

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