Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight (PlayStation 4) Review

By Albert Lichi 20.04.2017 4

Review for Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight on PlayStation 4

The sub-genre of "2D Metroidvania" seems to be going through a renaissance. Between titles like Strider, Axiom Verge, Guacamelee, Shadow Complex: Remastered and Shantae: Half-Genie Hero (along with its predecessors), there has not been a shortage of the open-ended platforming that people cannot get enough of. After being a bit of a underground cult hit, the fourth Momodora title has made it to mainstream consoles. With so many sources to draw inspiration from, is it worthy? Can it stand on its own? Cubed3 revels in Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight.

Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight is the story of the priestess Kaho and her journey to Karst. At the start she is armed with only a leaf, a bow and arrows, and some cute thigh-high stockings. While the story itself is not force-fed, it takes a much more restrained approached like much older NES games that only feeds a few suggestive snippets of text. Most of the story is told through item descriptions and in the design of world. There is quite a lot to infer from only the visuals, but, really, Momodora actually doesn't have much to say. As the saying goes, "what you see, is what you get" with Momodora, and aside from a few quirks, the story is fairly unremarkable, but serviceable.

In spite of being the fourth game in the series, newcomers need not to worry about the timeline in Reverie Under the Moonlight because it is a distant prequel and was designed to be an entry point for anyone. Fans of the past games will be surprised by how much the developers have grown more confident in their skills as animators and combat designers, because this is one intense action game. Some Metroidvanias are inspired more by Castlevania, like the Shantae games, while some lean more towards Metroid, with games like Axiom Verge. Momodora takes pages from Bloodborne, as noted by the game's emphasis on swift footwork and watching for enemy tells.

Screenshot for Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight on PlayStation 4

The action is mostly focused on three main techniques: basic combo, arrow or charge shot, and the dodge roll. It may not seem like a lot, but Momodora's strength is in its enemies and in the mastering of these abilities to overcome some pretty powerful mobs. The difficulty is a bit inconsistent in some areas, though, since Kaho has unlimited arrows, and her charge shot is her most powerful attack and can make most of the encounters laughable easy. This is Momodora's greatest flaw, arguably, since the real star of the game's combat should be the melee and dodge roll mechanics, as they are obviously the parts of the game that clearly seem like they had the most care and effort put into them. This couldn't be more obvious than by the absurd amount of detail that went into Kaho's animations, and by the level of polish in the game's controls and responsiveness.

If the combat is the main star of Momodora, then the visuals are the love interest. This is a gorgeous and lovingly crafted game that surpasses most of the pixel art seen in its contemporaries. A game like Axiom Verge seems pretty unimpressive when put next to Momodora's lush landscapes and liquid-fluid animations. The craftsmanship extends beyond the main playable character, and the same attention has been given to every boss and NPC, as well. Small touches that give these sprites a lot of personality or weight really does help draw in anyone who is playing the game. The environments have a palpable bleak atmosphere about them, and are littered with fluttering particles that really give life to the locations. The only real disappointment is that the game is only presented in a 4:3 aspect ratio and nothing can be done about the black bars on the sides of the image.

Momodora is a really solid Metroidvania that is one of the better examples of the genre, where combat is a bigger focus. The inventory system isn't really that useful and there are not many power-ups, but that's because this is about fighting with wits and not stats. For $9.99, expect a disappointingly short game. Momodora is so fun that it becomes bittersweet when it ends. Kaho controls so fluidly and responsively; it's hard to let her go because it feels as if she can do anything! Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight is definitely a recommendation to anyone who wants a charming Metroidvania for a rainy day. It may not have much replayability, but expect it to make a lasting impression.

Screenshot for Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight is a fine example of the Metroidvania sub-genre. Depth-wise, it does not quite reach the heights of Guacamelee or Strider, but it far surpasses the likes of Xeodrifter. Momodora's strengths lie in the action and its charm. This is a fairly bite-sized affair when compared to the competition, but it is a bite worth trying. With all the basics set in place for such a polished and well-crafted entry, hopefully Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight will get a successor that expands on such a strong foundation.

Developer

Active Gaming Media

Publisher

Playism

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

I love all these platformer games recently.  One of my favorite genres.  Azure Strike Gunvolt was great as well.

yeah!
we even got that wonderboy 3 remake lately too.

soon we are getting a sequel to the criminally underrated steam world dig and this month we get Little Nightmares.

I'm waiting for an awesome scifi sprite-based platformer.

Dex

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