The Momodora series began with a couple of smaller games back in 2010 and 2011 released as freeware, followed by Momodora III in 2014 on Steam. I personally hadn’t heard of the series until I checked out Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight a couple of years ago via Xbox Game Pass and as I’ve said before, I’m a sucker for platformers and Metroidvanias. Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight was an excellent game and I found myself constantly going back to it until I was finished. When the opportunity came up to review the next game in the series, I jumped at the chance to check it out.
Set five years after Momodora III, some demons have stolen something called the Black Bell from some fairies, rang it, and in doing so have summoned more demons into the world to pretty much wreak havoc. The protagonist Momo is tasked with finding the bell and restoring peace, but the plot and story goes further beyond that. Momodora: Moonlit Farewell is a Metroidvania game where the goal is to traverse several areas while getting to the bottom of why the demons are attacking. Similar to other games in the genre, there are several areas to traverse and there are a few times you’ll have to backtrack after obtaining a new ability such as a double jump and a wall jump. However, while the overall map is a decent size, it does feel a bit smaller than other Metroidvanias including Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight.
Momo has two attacks: the melee weapon the Magical Leaf and arrows she can fire at enemies from a range. Momo will also be able to dodge, and later dash, both of which use some of her stamina. Stamina will replenish over time. That’s it for the basics, but over time Momo will come across various relics that will aid her such as the Healing Bell which lets her use some magic to heal herself for a set amount of health, or the Crescent Moonflower which gives her the aforementioned double jump. She can also find several small companions which come in three different attributes: Brave, which can cast a minor attack spell, Exploration, which can occasionally dig up Lunar Crystals (a somewhat form of currency), and Healing which can occasionally dig up a small healing item. Outside of that, there’s really no difference outside of their appearance (so all Brave companions do the exact same thing as one another for example).
One of the most important mechanics in the game is the sigils. These are cards that you can find scattered around the world and also occasionally bought from an NPC that you can equip to modify your attacks and abilities. Once you start finding sigils you can equip up to two at a time but over the course of your travels you might come across grimoires that will let you equip more. Sigils can have many different effects from modifying how the Magical Leaf looks and acts, how much damage it can do, modify your arrows, and even give you the option to recover health and magic over time. There are over twenty sigils you can find giving you plenty of ways to customize how you play. This is a great way to experiment with different playstyles.
Between the sigils and companions, you have a lot of different ways you can change up how you play and explore the world. However, after getting a little ways in and obtaining several sigils and a grimoire or two, the game began to feel a little on the easy side. You can choose between two difficulties at the start and I chose Normal (the other is Easy). You have a map that you can view at any time and a small portion of it is always on screen. Throughout your travels you’ll come across items to give you more health, magic, stamina recovery, and a couple of other things I won’t spoil here. If you enter an area that has something to collect you’ll see a question mark appear on that square on the map. Personally, I don’t mind this as squares don’t show up on the map until you visit them and seeing the question mark pop up as soon as you enter the room lets you know that there’s something to find in that room.
How things begin to get easy is that as you find your upgrades and sigils (which thanks to the map showing you when something is in the room you’re in isn’t too hard to do), you can begin to combine effects to the point where a lot of bosses begin to get somewhat trivial. With the sigils I was using I could pretty much stand in one place and attack the boss, dodge when they’re about to attack (sometimes you’ll get a visual or audible cue when they do), get right up next to them again, and repeat. Between increased damage from the Magical Leaf along with passive healing and using Momo’s ability to heal for some magic, quite a few fights didn’t take much effort. In fact, only a couple of fights gave me any real issues. That’s not to say the game is a cakewalk as it definitely isn’t. In fact, the bosses themselves can still pose a problem if you underestimate them. It’s just that once you learn how a boss works, most of them become rather simple to take down and left me with more of a “that's it?” feeling than one of finishing off a challenging fight.
The world that Momodora: Moonlit Farewell takes place in looks pretty good as I’m always a sucker for 8-bit and 16-bit graphics. Each area has its own unique look and colors that sets it apart from the other areas. The colors may not look as bright and vibrant as other games but it makes sense given the fact that the world is getting overrun with demons. The music fits the areas nicely and become more intense during certain battles. If you liked the look of Reverie Under the Moonlight, you’ll likely find yourself enjoying Moonlit Farewell.
Momodora: Moonlit Farewell doesn’t really do anything to set the Metroidvania genre on fire, but then again it really doesn’t need to. If you’ve played Reverie Under the Moonlight then there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy Moonlit Farewell. As stated earlier, after playing Reverie I jumped at the chance to check out this game and I enjoyed it just as much. It can get a little easy once you start collecting sigils and find a build that suits your playstyle, but players who may not be familiar with Metroidvania might find this game a good place to start since there’s not a lot of hidden items to find; you’ll know a room has something as soon as you walk in. It might be a bit tricky to get to, but most items will be in plain sight. Plus once you finish the game you’ll get a few new options in case you want more of a challenge. While not groundbreaking in any way, Momodora: Moonlit Farewell can definitely scratch that Metroidvania itch for a while.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.