Time to Morp Early Access Review – Underbaked Automation


I played an early Alpha build of Time to Morp from Team HalfBeard almost a year ago. Now, the game has arrived in early access so I decided to hop back in and see how the game has taken shape since I played last.

The Alpha was an unpolished build showcasing the world’s basics and the weird little guys known as Morps. It showed great potential, with shades of Slime Rancher and Satisfactory. Sadly, the potential isn’t always there. 

Time to Morp Still Struggles With Its Early Access Build

In Time to Morp, you play as an intern on their first mission. You and your crew have landed on an uninhabited planet and are ready to set up a base, explore, and gather new resources. Except the planet isn’t barren; it’s filled with strange little beasties known as Morps.

These wondrous new creatures will transform into different types depending on what they consume and produce various resources for cooking and crafting. They morph, hence the name Morps.

Time to Morp morp pen
Image Credit: Team HalfBeard.

You and the Captain have touched down on the planet, discovered the Morps, and found out that the landing site for the rest of the crew is blocked by debris. Time to learn the basics of gathering to clear the site! Right-clicking will hoover up resources, but only basic ones at first. Time, patience, and research will unlock the secrets of the rest of the resources as you play. Want to pick those flowers that you can see? NO. You can’t! You haven’t researched them yet.

Once you’ve cleared the landing site of debris, the rest of your crew will touch down. An engineer, explorer, and cook join you and the Captain on your new adventure. To begin, you’ll receive some initial tasks. Research how to make a fence, create an enclosure for Morps, and go find the cook. To research, you must open the Wheel Menu of Fleeting Selections. If you don’t hold down the V key, the menu closes before you can select anything. Each section of the menu has shortcut keys, but I will simply never remember which key is for which because I am a millennial with ADHD.

Time to Morp research menu
Image Credit: Team HalfBeard.

A Hunting We Will Go

The main aim of the game is automation. As a sandbox game, there isn’t technically a right or wrong way to play, but there are storylines and social quests to fulfill along the way. Plus there is a mystery to be solved regarding a distress beacon and its sender. Before you can do any of that, though, you must do some research. Oh, such research will you do! You don’t need EXP or skill points to perform research. All you need is enough of the necessary material to make the result. A good amount of exploring and gathering irequiredry to ensure you have the materials. I highly suggest researching an inventory chest as soon as possible because your space pockets fill quickly.

A neat feature in Time to Morp is scanning for resources. From the Morp wiki on the Wheel O’ Menu, you can select a Morp or resource and press scan to find it in the world. A marker for the resource will then appear on your directional map at the top of the screen. Just head towards the marker, and voila – there’s stuff you need. It makes wandering around the landscape looking for things much easier.

All of this is great in theory, but in practice, Time to Morp just isn’t there yet. Which is fine; it’s in early access, and that is the entire point of it. It’s only been out for just over a week, and Team HalfBeard is already doing a great job of implementing small fixes and improvements. However, right now, the game just isn’t fun. I can see the bones of an entertaining game that I could potentially lose hours to without realizing it, but it hasn’t reached that yet.

Time to Morp morp decorated base
Image Credit: Team HalfBeard.

Time to Morp Can’t Stick The Landing

Currently, Time to Morp is a frustrating experience. Hampered by the neverending research to do simple resource collection, it takes forever to complete basic builds. The UI and basic game mechanics are poorly explained, with almost no tutorials to be seen. The inventory is clunky, and I could not drop stacks of resources that I could find. If I came across something I needed but had a full inventory, I’d have to go into my inventory, add the resources I wanted to drop to my toolbar, and then throw away the stack one by one while moving because you can’t pile things up. 

It also doesn’t explain that certain structures need to be placed within Morp pens to work. For example, gello cookers have to be within a pen to absorb resources and create gello. There is also no explanation of pen themes. Different Morps need different environments and themes in their pens to be happy, yet it doesn’t tell you how to create that theme. Is it through placement or décor? From what I can tell, it is in a biome because none of the decorations I placed in pens changed the theme. Morps will not eat or produce resources if unhappy or in an unsuitably themed pen, so you need to know how to keep them happy.

Wrapping Up

Right now, Time to Morp is let down by implementation and UI issues. Additionally, features and mechanics are difficult to decipher. When I do make progress and get a brief moment of things to work or Morps to be happy, it’s great. However, these moments are currently too few and far between to keep me playing. I’ll be back, though. I can see the potential, which isn’t always something I can say for an Early Access game.

Time to Morp is out now in Early Access on Steam.

Time to Morp Early Access Review – Underbaked Automation
Interesting environment.
Wide range of creatures and resources to encounter.
Art style and aesthetic are cute and quirky.
Poorly implemented UI.
Lack of clarity in mechanics.
Frustratingly slow to make progress.
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Written by Emma Oakman

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