Minoria (PC) Review

By Athanasios 27.08.2019

Review for Minoria on PC

From the hands of Bombservice, which became known by the Momodora series, comes Minoria; a metroidvania that acts as sort of spiritual sequel to that charming line of action-platformers, as it has a similar approach to action, themes, visuals, and storytelling... and cute girls with horns, and cleavages with a life of their own. Whether a fan of the Momodora games or just a "newcomer," you are advised to enter the glum world of Ramezia yourself, and enjoy the ongoing witch-hunt. It's not that long of a journey, neither an innovative one, but it's definitely great while it lasts.

Inspired by medieval witch hunts, this follows Sister Semilla on her quest to killing those who defy the main religion. As expected, things aren't really that simple. Apart from her fanatical ruler, she, along with her ally, occasionally shows signs of disbelief, and is frequently reluctant to engage in violence. However, a deeply emotional and thought-provoking epic Minoria is not. Like Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight, this doesn't throw much weight into its plot.

The story is mostly told through snippets of lore, which, in all honesty, just slightly scratch the surface of something bigger - and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Like the good 'ol classics of the past, you'll use your imagination to fill the gaps, and get immersed into the game world while at it. A much stronger emphasis is given on the, almost funereal, atmosphere at hand, with everything, from the bleak dungeons, to the lush, colourful gardens, looking as if they had been long deserted.

Screenshot for Minoria on PC

This is as if Dark Souls II had cute girls and kawaii critters, rather than auto-targeting undead knights. The melancholic piano tunes, in particular, sound as if they were taken from the latter. As for the visuals, this ditches Bombservice's 2D pixel art style, for purposely minimalist, high-definition, hand-painted backgrounds, and cel-shaded characters. Better? Worse? No reason to make any comparisons. It looks beautiful, and that's all you need to know.

Minoria belongs in the family of metroidvanias. The standard recipe is left unchanged: you'll have to brave a maze, open new paths, fight with enemies, and find new items to add to your equipment. That said, what kind of metroidvania is this exactly? Does it lean more towards intricate platforming? Does it revolve around acquiring new abilities, which will help you reach certain areas? Is it a gear, item, or lore collectathon? The answer is: none of those.

Yes, there's a little bit of everything on offer, but this keeps things really simple, as going from A to B won't really need much skill in terms of platforming or exploration. This is mainly about surviving the battles that are scattered throughout the game world, as, again, like Dark Souls, the combat has a more methodical mindset, that prioritises becoming better with dodges and parries, and with carefully "reading" your foes, as they can kill you in a handful of hits (or less).

Screenshot for Minoria on PC

It's also important to note that, despite being able to level up your character with the collected XP, find one or two weapons, and even get a few special abilities, this is one of those titles where you'll have to mainly rely on your basic tools; your footwork, your evasion maneuvers, and the timing of your sword swings - to the point that those skilled enough won't even need to strengthen their character before reaching the end, or use any of Semilla's - few - additional tricks.

That being said, the combat needed to spend some more time in the oven. Controlling Semilla feels great, and, generally, fighting with enemies is fun despite the simplicity of it all, yet it can also feel cheap and aggravating at times, due to enemies that don't telegraph their moves as well as they should, the general difficulty in reading the battlefield when the hacking and slashing begins, plus the fact that you can get hurt by touching foes - a mechanic that should definitely not exist in here.

Minoria is extremely poor in terms of loot, thus those who are addicted to adventures that shower you with gifts every five minutes won't find much here to satiate their hunger. The only kind of equipment that counts more than 10 pieces are 'Incenses.' You begin with a simple healing Incense, which holds a handful of uses, and can be refilled at save areas, and soon find more, which range from buffs and projectiles, to passive abilities.

Screenshot for Minoria on PC

Incenses never really become as helpful as one might think they are, though. Apart from those of the healing kind, most of these supplementary items just add a bruise or two to your enemies, and many of them are almost useless. It's another reminder that your basic means of survival are, once again, your swordplay, dodges, and parries. Skilled players won't even need those - yours truly, who is no way the most skilled, almost forgot their existence.

In conclusion: if willing to try a metroidvania that is neither big on exploration, nor on loot and collectibles, Minoria is definitely one of the better choices. It has a great bleakness-meets-fairytale atmosphere, and the combat, while far from the perfection that is Hollow Knight, is quite enjoyable, and revolves around skill rather than levels and strong weaponry. Sadly, it will all be over in an evening or two...

This is a pretty short trip, which, combined with the fact that there aren't really many things to do while taking it, will disappoint those used to exploration platformers that take more than 10 to 20 hours to reach the end. Upon completion this offers a simplistic New Game+ mode, as well as an arena with a pretty tough series of battles against enemies, but, truth be told, the only reason to play again are player-imposed challenges; speedruns, no hit runs, no incense runs, and so on.

Screenshot for Minoria on PC

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

For the spiritual sequel of the Momodora games, Minoria doesn't really do much to separate itself from them, or add some new mechanics. For some that won't be a problem. Those thirty for more of the same will definitely enjoy this short, marvellously gloomy, and pleasantly unforgiving journey. Undoubtedly, it has a pretty strong, unique charm, and it's far from mediocre, but it's safe to say that much better metroidvania alternatives exist out there.

Developer

Bombservice

Publisher

DANGEN Entertainment

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

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

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