Pretty in pixels: Momodora Reverie Under the Moonlight Review
Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight (Momodora: RUtM) was released for both Steam and PC in March. The title, developed by Bombservice and published by Playism, is another case for why indie games are legitimate entertainment experiences. Games don't need to be Hollywood blockbusters, feature deep plots, and need to be taken seriously. RUtM brings gaming back to its simplest form and here's our review.
The Metroidvania inspired series began in 2010 and has spawned sequels that have continued to improve upon the last game. The fourth game is the culmination of Bombservice's best.
The narrative follows priestess Kaho on her journey to the cursed city Karst. RUtM is a pixelated portrayal punctuated by perils and parasitic personalities posed to prey upon its powerless populace. Its also important to note the heroine, bosses, and key characters are nearly all female. As of today, this is still quite the rarity.
In terms of gameplay, it's straightforward, challenging, and fun. Your primary attack is via the series' signature maple leaf. You can dodge nearly all attacks with rolls and you can attack long range with a bow.
Like most Metroidvanias, you will traverse a large map. Here you will discover an array of spells, powerups, and skills scattered along your adventure. I got most of my enjoyment from experimenting with combinations. For example, you use fiery arrows that release poison upon contact. This adds a good deal of strategy during boss fights instead of relying solely on close range combat.
The most impressive portion of the game lies within its challenging boss battles. Bosses range from demons, witches, knightesses, and even blood thirsty nuns. Each encounter features it's own learning curve to conquer and you will feel accomplished with each victory.
RUtM sprites animate wonderfully in motion and the environmental designs of the city compliments everything on screen. You can certainly tell that artistically, Bombservice wanted to convey a constant sense of hopelessness and fear for the world. The musical arrangement of the game follows suit as well--tracks are mainly either foreboding, haunting, and ambient.
Make no mistake, the game isn't without it's shortcomings. The world map features many areas that you can access early on. The problem is that there isn't any type of hint system to point you to preferable areas you should visit first. Certain areas feature foes that can defeat you quickly and these same enemies are more manageable after you gain some upgrades. Personally, I found this to encourage more exploration but this may be an issue depending upon your preferences.
Another low point, if you want to call it that, is that regular enemies can make short work of Kaho. You need to be alert at all times because you can die in the blink of an eye. I appreciate this level of alertness, however everyone won't share the same sentiment.
This is a short game, and I found my final playtime to be roughly 6 hours. Although short, it features plenty of replayability. Upon completion you unlock insane mode; where enemies deal much more damage. The story also unfolds differently based upon your dialogue choices and interactions with characters. There's also a good and bad ending that the game doesn't hint upon either.
Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight is a fun short and well-focused game. So, set aside sometime to smack evil in the face with a sacred leaf.