Thanks to indies, a lot of smaller genres are finding new life. These range from puzzles to point and click. Among the most exciting is metroidvania. By combining action platforming with puzzles and backtracking, they tend to offer an enjoyable experience. With these things in mind, Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight hopes to bring these things with their latest entry on the PlayStation 4. With cat powers, powerful bosses and cute visuals, is Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight a must or is it an underwhelming mess.
Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight doesn’t have much in terms of a story. Despite being the fourth game in the series, the story is actually a prequel to the first game and is about a priestess being sent to fight evil that has befallen a kingdom. Not a whole lot happens outside of the standard let me help you or watch out because things aren’t as great as they once were. There are also a couple side characters that get a little bit of dialogue and appear along the way, but nothing too exciting.
Thankfully, the real joy to Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight is the gameplay. The controls are quite straightforward. You can attack, jump, roll, shoot and charge arrows and also equip a number of power ups and accessories. These can make a substantial impact on your journey, but are not required to be successful.
The nice thing about Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight is that the developers want you to learn the mechanics. Every boss has really telegraphed moves. So much so that you’ll always know what they’re going to do if you notice the mechanics. This is great for combat, though the experience is hampered by difficulty.
One of the biggest problems is the four different difficulties are quite different. Easy starts with max health, so you don’t need health upgrades, in addition to items that increase invincibility frames and more. It’s so easy that you can more or less tank every hit and still beat every boss. Normal offers a more reasonable challenge, with hard going to another extreme. At this point there are more enemies, bosses can almost one hit and healing items aren’t as great. The final difficulty is basically a one hit death mode, a mode that would be thrilling if there was better balance.
Every boss has a unique drop if they’re defeated without taking damage. Some of these can be bought, others save you from having to get them elsewhere and the rest are unique. The issue is two of the items can be used to defeat almost every other boss, perfectly, in a couple of seconds. One of the hardest bosses in the game was defeated in less than 10 seconds using two attacks. The same tactic can be used on practically every boss, without fail, making for a pretty lackluster experience.
The game also suffers from a fairly small world. Even with extreme backtracking and doing everything, you can complete a run in about four hours. Less if you play on a lower difficulty/play better. Even unlocking the true end is pretty straightforward and just requires you use a specific item at a certain location and then get it.
Despite all the negativity, Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight is still a fun to play. On higher difficulties the combat shines and you’re forced to come up with tactics to overcome every challenge. Sure, most things can be overcome by using charged bow shots, but positioning and dodging attacks can add some well needed challenge.
Overall, Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight is a fun game, but it isn’t a great game. There is a story and a few optional “quests,” but nothing too deep. While the combat is fun and challenging if you approach it the certain way, it can also be a joke if you approach is another way. Combine this with a small world, easy to read bosses and poor visuals and you have an experience that is going to appeal to fans of classic metroidvania games or like the art.
[Editor’s Note: Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight was reviewed on PS4 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight Review,