Game Review - Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight on PC

Written by LeoLancaster on June 29, 2017 @ 2:14 pm

Gameplay:

Momodora: RUtM is a soulslike metroidvania, with all that implies: pattern-based combat, free exploration, and collecting secret items and upgrades.

The combat is tight and clever. Your character has four main combat actions, being a melee weapon (a magic leaf), a ranged attack (bow 'n' arrow), a dodge roll, and access to items (the main one replenishes health). These are pretty standard and behave as you'd expect, with a quirk that provides some depth. Everything but the dodge roll leaves you vulnerable by forcing you stationary (or in the case of the melee attack, mostly stationary) and unable to do anything else for a split second or two. Because there is no way to dodge attacks, this means the meat of the combat is centered around dodging telegraphed attacks and stunning enemies. Bosses typically follow this pattern as well, although some can't be stunned, and have large attacks and high amounts of health. For the scope of this game, the bosses are epic.

As for the metroidvania part of the game, after the first couple of areas the world opens up and you can complete the rest of the map up to the final area in any order you choose (this totals a little more than half of the game). The areas themselves are filled with branching paths and multiple ways to get to the end. There are plenty of secrets and upgrades scattered around the world. These can be practically useful, such as health increases or new items, or easter egg type collectibles. There's also a decent amount of backtracking and re-exploring areas for new paths and secrets, but never to the point of annoyance or tedium.

Overall the mechanics works very well with a few minor complaints. I played on hard mode, so I can't say whether this holds true for other difficulty levels, but the difficulty curve is more of a line than an actual curve. The challenge stays mostly constant throughout the game, which means the beginning is harder than the end. On the upside, this gives you a good sense of getting more skilled at the game, so it's not all bad. It's also pretty easy to simply bypass all the enemies by spamming dodge or arrows once you know where they are in a room. However, this is also has an upside, as it means the first time exploring an area is challenging, but backtracking is easy and quick.

Despite these minor issues, overall the game is challenging and fun. It aims to scratch the difficult medtroidvania itch, and succeeds at the endeavor with clever soulslike combat.

Story:

Honestly? It's pretty lame. There's not a whole lot of exposition or lore, just enough to give vague direction and feel to the world. You're on a quest to save the world from being corrupted by the curse of a queen. Nothing special, but you're not playing this game for the story.

Aesthetics:

The pixel art is fantastic and well-detailed, although the animations are sometimes lackluster. The music is decent, setting an appropriate somber mood for the corruption infecting the world, but it's nothing you'll seek out when not playing the game. Solid aesthetics overall.

Content / Replayability:

I finished a single playthrough on hard mode with 100% map completion and the true ending achievement in about eight hours, which is decent for the price. Beating the game on hard unlocks the insane difficulty option for new files and new game+ for the file with the complete playthrough. From what I can tell there isn't a lot of incentive to replay the game outside of getting every collectible and beating the game on insane. Short, but fair for the price.

Performance:

The game crashed a few times. I was lucky enough to never lose much (the save points are fairly common). I've also never heard of anyone else having this issue, so it's likely just my computer. Other than that, there are no technical issues to speak of.

Keyboard controls are fully rebindable, but I'd highly recommend playing with a controller.

Summary:

Pros:
- Challenging and clever soulslike combat
- Relatively free exploration
- Collectible secrets and upgrades
- Great pixel art
- Fitting music

Neutrals:
- Flat difficulty curve
- Easy to bypass enemies once you know where they are

Cons:
- Lame story
- Short (but fair for the price)

Score: 7/10 (Great)

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Game Information

Platform
PC
Developer(s)
Bombservice
Publisher(s)
Playism
Genre(s)
Action, Adventure, Platformer
NA Release Date
March 4, 2016
MVGL User Score
8.2
Official Website
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