Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight is the 4th game in the Momodora series that released at the end of last year on Windows and just recently on the PS4 and Xbox One. It’s a bit darker than the previous entries, yet still, retains the feel of its predecessors.
Momodora is a 2D Metroidvania, which means players have a semi-open map that can gradually be explored more and more when new abilities are found or certain bosses defeated. Players take the role of a priestess named Kaho who is trying to solve the mystery of a curse that is spreading over the land. Armed only with a leaf (melee attack) and a bow (ranged attack) you must make your way through each area to defeat increasingly difficult bosses.
Lubella, a rather large boss and featured character in much of the game’s art
While the main style of play is similar to many other games of this genre, the combat and difficulty fall a bit in line with Dark Souls. Kaho can roll to dodge enemies, or get behind them, and has a health bar that depletes very quickly with only a few hits. Similar to Dark Souls’ Estus Flask, Kaho has flowers that can restore her heath. These restore at each save point.
Reverie Under the Moonlight combines a despair-inducing world with bouncy and cute characters in wonderful pixel art reminiscent of 90’s console gaming. While it takes a bit getting used to on large, HD screens, it’s a pleasant visual experience with a soundtrack that fits the black mood of the game.
It’s this oppressive mood that is shining star of Reverie Under the Moonlight. A mood that is presented through the environment and conversations with NPCs. One of my favorite examples of mood-building takes place in the screenshot to the right. As you walk through this room you find a terrified woman sobbing and asking for help. Later, when you return to the room she’s gone. In her place is a blood stain on the floor. It’s these dark, sometimes disturbing, touches that really draw you into the world Momodora.
Through a combination of audio, visuals, and subtle storytelling, Momodora has the complete package when it comes to presentation.
With tight controls, a dark and brooding storyline, and classic Metroidvania action, Momodora is certainly worth the $10 it costs. While it certainly has its flaws, like it’s difficulty, slim pickings on enemies/upgrades, and a love affair with pits full of spikes, Momodora delivers a solid performance overall with its mix of Metroid-like exploration and combat like a paired down Dark Souls.
A PS4 copy of Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight was provided free for review by Playism Games.