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  • Chad Myers

Game Review #253: Momodora: Reverie Under The Moonlight (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Chad M.

Developer: Bombservice

Publisher: DANGEN Entertainment

Category: Action, Adventure, Platformer, Role-Playing

Release Date: 1.10.2019

Price (at time of review): $14.99

Buy Momodora: Reverie Under The Moonlight from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

Here Again With A New Friend

2-D side-scroller platformers with Metroidvania elements seem to be all the rage lately, and some that I’ve played truly are amazing games. So, anytime a new one hits the eShop, it’s all hands on deck to find out if it’s a hit or miss. I tend to be a sucker for the Metroidvania style games, as I love the exploration all while uncovering items and battling foes. When I got my hands on Momodora: Reverie Under The Moonlight by developers Bombservice, I was excited to jump in and try it out; but I was very surprised to find out that this game is the fourth installment of the Momodora series that began in 2010 with Momodora I. I was also surprised to hear the developer of the Momodora series funds the development of their games through the crowdfunding platform Patreon.

To Keep Going We Must Go Back

Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight is a prequel set 400 years before the events of Momodora I. The story follows a Kaho, a priestess who travels to the eastern kingdom of Karst to stop a curse that has been spreading across the land and affecting her village. In Karst City, Kaho meets Cath, a knightess who informs Kaho that the queen of Karst is the source of the curse, and the only way to stop the curse is to kill the queen. Kaho travels around collecting the four pieces of a crest required to open Karst Castle and face the queen.

The Leaf Axe Slices & The Arrow Pierces

Momodora is a 2-D side-scroller Metroidvania, bit it starts off more linear and picks up the Metroidvania elements later on in the game that require a little bit of back tracking, but nothing that requires a lot of map navigating and backtracking like I’m used to with some larger Metroidvania games. Actually, I was able to beat the game in 4 hours, and I could only see it taking a couple more hours if you really wanted to get every little collectible as a completionist.

The controls are tight and feel great. You start out with more skills than I’m used to, like double-jump and dodge, and I wish they would’ve held that back and let me earn my skills and my weapons to add to the exploration. You will unlock some skills, like when you’re able to morph to get into tight and small spaces. Holding these skills back and adding to the game would have given it a larger feel and added depth. As far as weapons, you have a bow and arrows for ranged attacks, and then you have a maple leaf witch ax for close-range melee attacks, and they both can be upgraded along the journey to Karst.

You’ll encounter more than monsters along the way, as there are dangerous animals, wizards, and witches putting spells on you and other baddies that can curse you or poison you, making items ineffective. There is also a multitude of obstacles and deadly traps, like junking metal balls of spikes aiming to take your head off, but as far obstacles and enemies, it’s all about patterns. As you learn them, you can take down anyone; and sometimes I’d get lazy and spam them with arrows, as you have options—though having the bow, at times, makes it feel a little easy, which is why I’d hoped the combat would’ve evolved over time.

In the beginning, before building up Kaho’s health, you can only take a few hits, and for some, this’ll be tough, but luckily there are save points around almost every corner which give you a sense of security; but be warned: anything you have on you after you save and die will be lost.

Also in your favor is the fact that you can use active and passive items to help get you through some of these areas that are a little too difficult, but also be prepared, as every area will have a boss battle awaiting Kaho at its end. The boss battles are epic and a lot of fun, though running around slashing and shooting a giant witch in her upper region was almost fan service—but it’s also part of Momodora’s charm.

Audio & Visuals

The sound effects and music are nostalgic and great, and very polished. The eerie and moody music captures the mysterious feel of the game, and really pulls you into the atmosphere. The animation and pixel art are captivating with just how beautiful it is. It’s hands down the first thing I noticed. You can tell Bombservice put a lot of love into this title, but the choice to have the aspect ratio at 4x3 was mind-boggling, as I haven’t played a Metriodvania on the Switch with this as a screen aspect choice; and having no option to change it makes it unfortunate, as you’ll definitely notice the massive black bars while playing.

It’s A Wrap!!!

Momodora is a mixed bag for me. As a fan of Metroidvania games, I immediately liked the game, and the art and music only did more to pull me in. But, by the time the game was ending, I was just getting into it, and that made it feel like the start or first half of a game, but it’s not, and that other half won’t be coming. So, as a whole, it’s a really enjoyable experience with fun gameplay, just be warned: for the players that expect a sweeping epic game, you won’t find it here. If you adjust your expectations, you just might love this game, as there is a lot to love.

Score: 8/10

Buy Momodora: Reverie Under The Moonlight from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

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*Review Code Provided by DANGEN Entertainment

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