Momodora: Moonlit Farewell

Review: Momodora: Moonlit Farewell

My first experience with the Momodora series is the last entry. This month, Bombservice and Playism say farewell to Momo Reinol as Momodora: Moonlit Farewell arrives on consoles and PCs. The series, which launched in 2010, has had five entries  

The journey kicks off leisurely, guiding you through an introductory boss fight. You take a tumble into a chasm, pass out and wake up in your home in the village. It’s a bit cliche, perhaps, but we’re not here for groundbreaking narratives, but I’m here for gameplay. The village is a charming hub bustling with animated sprites, though I admit I had to navigate a bit longer than I’d prefer before getting back into the thick of things. I blame my occasional lack of directional prowess; your mileage may vary. 

Ring The Bell, Momodora

Momodora’s journey through the years has seen a few genre swaps. The first was a speedy platformer, the second embraced open-ended exploration, the third went back to arcade-style linearity, and the fourth – Reverie Under the Moonlight – fully embraced the Metroidvania genre. Now, after an eight-year intermission, Moonlit Farewell makes a triumphant return to the Metroidvania genre just as the series ends its run. 

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Now, for those of you who, like me, might be jumping into Momodora for the first time, fear not.  Moonlit Farewell is standalone in terms of plot. You’re Momo, a priestess with a knack for turning demons into glorified party crashers. The village elders suspect a demonic bell is to blame, so off you go into the caverns, playing diplomat with the bellringer, kindly asking him to pause the hellspawn. To set the stage, some soul has rung The Black Bell, summoning demons that are having a not-so-polite conversation with your sacred tree. As the leaf-wielding High Priestess, it’s your job to stop the demon party. 

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Here’s where it gets interesting – your sidekick, Cereza. She’s adept with Sigils and can help you unlock more Sigils to defeat enemies. Cereza can even turn currency into Sigils, which helps add a layer to gameplay. 

Save The Village 

The game revolves around exploration and combat, the dynamic duo of any good Metroidvania. You’ve got your standard upgrades – dash, double jump, and a wall jump – and use those to navigate. Momo, our protagonist, comes packing a three-hit melee combo and a bow for extra spice. And here’s the new kid in town – Sigils. These nifty cards add a bit of jazz to Momo’s arsenal, like shooting a powerhouse arrow when stamina maxed out or turning your magic points into fire arrows. They’re not game-changers, but they do come through in a pinch. Plus, halfway through the game, Momo unlocks a nifty mechanic that revs up her attack speed and damage, perfect for facing down bosses, especially when paired with some well-chosen Sigils. 

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Now, if you’re clocking in at around 8 to 10 hours for all collectibles and upgrades, you’re right on track. It’s the sweet spot for a game like this – not too short or long. Normal difficulty hits the Goldilocks zone, with some bosses posing a respectable challenge but nothing a well-timed dodge can’t handle. Once you’ve finished the story, you unlock boss replays with greater difficulty, plus a perma-death mode for the brave souls out there. And if you’re all about soaking in the sights, exploring, and enjoying the world, the Light difficulty is your jam, complete with adaptive difficulty to keep things interesting. 

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There are some issues with the Moonlit Farewell, which might initially feel a bit sluggish. Momo’s got a drift when she moves, and the opening caverns are not precisely a Formula 1 track. The developers seem to aim for a more deliberate, weighty combat style, and trust me, it grows on you. Stamina bar for dodge rolling, that satisfying flash when you nail a perfect dodge and a sprint button that demands tactical usage – it’s all part of the game’s rhythm. 

Visually, Moonlit Farewell is a master of making much from little. The opening might seem a tad vanilla, but as soon as the midnight-soaked vistas of the village hit your screen, doubts about the game’s visual prowess are quickly extinguished. The spooky ruins get a glow-up, too, just in case you were having tutorial concussion regrets. 

Now, let’s talk about Sigils. These magical cards are like Easter eggs scattered across the game. Find one, attune it, and voila – enhanced properties at your service. Picture this: a Sigil firing a gust of wind from your leaf attacks, another cranking up arrow damage, and one automatically gathering Lunar Crystals. My go-to loadout was wind gust, crystal gathering, and healing for emergencies. And the fun doesn’t stop there – powerful Grimoires enter the scene, letting Momo attune more Sigils, maxing out at a cool five. 

 Moonlit Farewell includes Companions. These magical critters offer a helping hand; you can only equip one at a time: healers, Explorers, and the Brave – each with their bag of tricks. Healers toss magical stones your way, Explorers scout and reward you with Lunar Crystals, and Braves are the muscle, joining you in the fray.  

Combat, my friends, is where the magic happens. It’s simple yet nuanced. There is no fancy parry system, but Momo’s a speedster, armed and ready. Sigils add a dash of spice to your play style, and no matter how beefed-up Momo gets, she’s never invincible. The joy of juggling enemies with that magical leaf? Priceless. From armored crabs to goat mages summoning orbs of pain, Moonlit Farewell’s got a variety pack of foes waiting to give you a run for your money. So, strap in, hone those dodge skills, and prepare for combat ballet that’s as graceful as deadly. 

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Verdict 

Momodora: Moonlit Farewell closes the chapter on the series on a high. I might have missed the first few entries in the series, but playing Moonlit Farewell has inspired me to revisit those games to experience the entire saga. There’s a ton of charm to be found, and while the graphics may be simple, they are incredibly polished alongside exciting combat that is a blast to play through. 

Recommended

[The publisher provided a copy of the game for review purposes.]

Reviewed on: PC

 

Review: Momodora: Moonlit Farewell
Liked
Great but simple graphics
Combat is fun, the Sigils add a layer to the gameplay
Didn't Like
Story is barebones