Although there's a certain obsession that keeps you playing this type of game, in this case it's really quite a repetitive process. Graphics play a very minimal part and once you become acquainted with all the monsters, it lacks any surprises.
Larva Mortus was my first experience with a top down shooter. Being hesitant to try one, I really only bought this game on the spur of the moment because of its horror theme and give-away price. I don't think I knew it was a top down at the time. Although it's an okay game, I'm not sure I like this style. I realized at some point that I was straining my head and neck, perhaps due to an unconscious and impossible attempt to view it from a different angle.
The story, and it does have one, acts as a bridge between levels. You belong to an organization that is dedicated to investigating supernatural events and pursuing unnatural creatures. A stranger approaches you with a weird tale of an ancient artifact once buried in the family's now ruined castle. Recently, five treasure hunters discovered and removed it. He tells you how they are in grave danger and that the relic must be retrieved before it can unleash its corrupt power on their souls. However, the relic is now broken into five pieces distributed between them and finding these pieces is the main quest line. Finishing each of these levels also adds more information to the story.
There are also lots of side missions available to garner experience, weapons and special items. These show up as additional locations on the main map. They have short notes attached to them, which describe that level's difficulty and the criteria for successfully completing the mission.
Not knowing what to expect, when I first fired up this game I was quite impressed with the introduction. Although the graphics are of a cartoon style, they feel quite fitting and the accompanying music is very stirring. There are a few additional likewise non-animated cut scenes throughout the game, but the equipment and trophy rooms are the only places that use more traditional graphics. They are also the only scenes that lend a splash of vibrant color to an otherwise fairly bland environment.
I found this game quite hard. Leveling up requires a greater and greater point spread and losing thousands of points for dying increases the difficulty immeasurably. In the end I just left this game on my desktop to finish when I didn't feel like playing something else. And maybe as a fill-in this is really where this game belongs.
I will eventually finish Larva Mortus because as with movies or books, they have to be really bad before I give up on them and I have invested a fair amount of time in it. However, the repetitious quality and lack of eye candy don't have me begging for more. If you think about it though, reviews are really in the eye of the beholder and can depend very much on a person's preferences. At a grand total of $1.99 I don't feel robbed.
If nothing else, the accompanying music is worth every penny and more. The composers are Victor Stoyanovis and Borislav (Glorian') Slavov, who have composed music for quite a few games including Gothic 3, Risen and Two Worlds 2.UPDATE Aug 2015: It appears you may be able to download this for free from Rake in Grass in the download section, but it's not clear if this is a full version or a demo since it is also being sold on their site and elsewhere.