Every so often a game comes along that immediately fills players with a special sense of nostalgia. Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight, the fourth installment in the Momodora series, is one of these games. Harkening back to the extreme difficulty of games like Contra and Super Ghouls’n Ghosts, Reverie Under the Moonlight is an adventure platformer that truly captures the soul of its predecessors.
Playing as Kaho, the white hooded priestess equipped with a leaf as her primary weapon, you must quest to stop a curse that is plaguing her village. Along the way Kaho discovers new abilities that add to her arsenal going along with her basic melee and ranged attacks. The game isn’t totally linear, but in true form of the genre, there is still somewhat of a sequence required to get everything in the game. It is worth re-exploring areas you have already conquered to see what newfound abilities unlock and what secrets can be discovered. While the game doesn’t boast the longest play time, about 4-6 hours depending on your style of play and difficulty level, it is a crisp, well-crafted experience that you can’t beat for the price point. There are many extras peppered throughout the game that add to the overall experience, encouraging players to explore every corner of the map. This rarely feels like a chore and every new discovery gives you a sense of accomplishment, like finding out new things about an old friend.
Outside of the normal platforming and adventure elements, Momodora has an extensive lore just waiting to be discovered through the story, through the individuals you meet along the way and items found in Kaho’s adventures. My favorite part about Momodora came in the form of its boss fights. Each of Momodora’s bosses boasts beautiful design along with a unique challenge and fighting style required to down the foe. There are even hidden bosses to be challenged on top of those required to beat the game. What other secrets does Momodora have in store?
The aesthetic of Reverie Under the Moonlight is stunning, and I found myself at times stopping just to enjoy the detail that this game offers. Its 16-bit Metroidvania feel and sound will immerse veteran gamers and fans of the 16-bit era in a rare and magical way. I’ve been playing video games for the majority of my life, and when a game comes along that brings back the feeling I had when I first started gaming, I cherish the experience. The sprites throughout the game are beautifully crafted and each one feels like it belongs in the world. Nothing feels out of place in Momodora and everything serves a purpose to add to the overall feel of the game. There were times where I seriously questioned if I was playing a 2D side-scrolling installment in the Dark Souls series, and I loved (almost) every minute of it.
Momodora’s controls are tight, at times requiring pixel-perfect precision while dodging enemies and jumping in to attack from behind. This mechanic is well executed, though frustrating when you can’t seem to hit it just right. The hit physics are crisp and satisfying for having a leaf as your primary weapon. With this style of game, controls and physics are key to the overall experience. Momodora doesn’t leave much to be desired here, except for maybe a bit more oomph from the double jump. By the time you unlock all of Kaho’s abilities the game plays much more fluidly, and it is easy to get into a strong rhythm.
While I have plenty of good to say about Momodora, the game isn’t without at least a few flaws. Part of this game’s high level of difficulty can be credited to some enemies’ ability to get the jump on you with various attacks seemingly before you can see them. The occasional invisible enemy is frustrating, and usually comes when you can’t afford to take damage. These however are small gripes to be had in the grand scheme of things. These types of games are satisfying because of the level of skill and perseverance they require to fully master and conquer.
Despite the at times frustrating difficulty level, Momodora is still a masterpiece that deserves to be experienced. Reverie Under the Moonlight is the 4th installment in the Momodora series, and each game has taken large jumps the overall presentation of the series. I’m excited to see how the series continues to evolve, and in another iteration or two we could be looking a game fully deserving of a perfect score.
Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight is developed by Bombservice and published by PLAYISM. It is available through Steam, on PS4 and Xbox One for $9.99. While I wasn’t familiar with the Momodora series before playing Reverie Under the Moonlight, I am officially intrigued and will be on the lookout for the next projects from Bombservice.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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