Momodora – Reverie Under the Moonlight

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Reverie Under the Moonlight is the fourth entry to the Momodora series. Not familiar with the series? Well, neither was I. Which is a shame to say, if the other entries are anything like this one, it’ll be worth looking back.

 

You take control of Kaho, a High Priestess from a foreign land who is looking to cure her home from a widespread curse. Armed with nothing but a maple leaf and a bow, she seeks to meet with the Queen of the land to find a cure and bring peace back to the people.

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The visuals are absolutely stunning. Everything in the game is gorgeous. The smoothly animated character models, the lush scenery, the expansive,highly detailed backgrounds, all stylized in what I can sum up as a macabre GunStar Heroes cross. There are some talented people at work who must have put a lot of time and effort into it, and it shows.  

 

Don’t let the cute, 16-bit style fool you though. The game puts up a pretty tough challenge. Enemies are ruthless and can easily overwhelm you if you aren’t paying attention. The best defense in this case is offense, mixing up a useful dodge roll with a three hit melee combo and also chipping down health with your ranged bow attack. The bow can also be charged a la MegaMan buster for advanced planning .



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There is clear inspiration from Super Metroid. Momodora leaves behind a leveling system and usable armour and weapons in favour of health increasing pick-ups and magical relics. You are given three slots for active items and two for passive. Most active items have a stock number of uses, but pulls inspiration from the Souls titles and refreshes your max number at every save point you encounter. Effects of these items include health regeneration, strength boosts and magical shields. Passive items include such skills as pulling dropped money towards your character and faster bow charging times. There are a large variety of items in either category, so you can customize to your hearts content.  Items are either found along your travels, or purchased from a group of merchants scattered around the map with gems gained from defeated enemies.

 

While the gameplay may borrow from Super Metroid, the world itself is heavily inspired by Symphony of the Night. The city of Karst has it’s own bell tower, prison, sewer system, monastery and dark castle to explore. The residents are grim and there is an obvious malevolent corruption. The story progresses with a ‘here and now’ approach. There isn’t any exposition but rather small bits of information is given to you via the small number of NPCs you happen to cross paths with. The true reason for the downfall of the kingdom isn’t fully explained but left up to assumptions based on what little information you gather. This is a nice approach, as there aren’t a lot of story scenes to bog down your adventure and fits in well with the macabre style the game presents itself.

 

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There were a few problems I had with the overall experience. Enemies can be tough in groups, but the challenge after the first encounter with one drops significantly, as they typically all follow the same pattern. There are two common types, the ranged magical users and the hard hitting melee fighters. You can easily dodge the first attack they throw, then move in for the kill. Once an enemy is hit one or two times, they go into a stun status and will almost always stay this way until death if you can hammer out the attacks quickly enough. Most enemies have no defense against your ranged bow, so staying back and pegging them from afar is a strategy that works all too often.  The most difficult non-unique enemy I encountered was during the tutorial segment. The shield toting pixie could block all forthcoming attacks and was introduced to show off the dodge roll ability. Even with the dodge, there was a certain element of timing involved and provided some real thought while fighting them. I would have loved to see more enemies like this put through the game.

 

Having said that, the boss encounters do pose quite the challenge. While also throwing out noticeable patterns, they move quickly and hit hard.

 

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Also, I had some issues with the design. There are points that make it look as if you can jump down a certain area but only have it lead to an instant death. Spike pits also threaten with instant death. There isn’t much that is more annoying than accidentally jumping a screen over too quickly to fall into a spike pit you weren’t aware of right after a boss battle, having to do it all over again.  

 

My first play through took four hours, and that includes the extra time I took to get 100% of the map completed, fight the secret boss and gain the ‘Good Ending’. While the game is currently retailing at $10, I was a bit disappointed with the length it offered. I would have gladly paid double the price for double the length. The game does offer higher difficulties that increase the damage dealt, and a New Game Plus mode that carries over your increased health and purchased items and mixes up the game play a bit.

 

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Overall, I was very satisfied with the experience. The $10 asking price is worth it for the visuals alone. If you are a fan of Super Metroid inspired games and aren’t put off by the rather short play time, Reverie Under the Moonlight is a high recommendation.

 

Highlights

  • Gorgeous Artwork
  • Excellent Controls
  • Interesting Premise and Locale

Drawbacks

  • Rather Short in Length
  • Enemy Attack Patterns Should Be More Varied
  • Cheap Spike/Pitfall Deaths Where You Wouldn’t Expect

C+