Hidden Wonders


Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight



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Today I finished playing Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight, a rather charming metroidvania. It took me just under 5 hours to get the good ending, so it’s a short game. Overall, I’d recommend it to anyone who likes flying through metroidvanias with nice pixel art and environments.


Momodora’s strength is in its atmosphere. The music and pixel art backgrounds together create something special, they scratch just the right itch for me. Most of the environments are actually very hellish-looking——there’s a prison, and a fiery sort of area, as well as a dark city haunted by ghost dogs and stuff. However, I liked the starting environment and that garden area the best, the music that plays in those areas is very nice and the backgrounds are beautiful as well.

The story’s nothing special, but there are tons of NPCs in the game that add a lot of personality to it.

Level design is pretty nice, other than a room towards the end of the game where you have to attack a guy then land on his one-block platform to proceed, I enjoyed the levels here. You’ve got your fair share of shortcuts, of “This door does not open from this side,” and plenty of secrets.

The combat system is typical of a metroidvania/souls-like/whatever-we-want-to-call-it——there’s a roll, a double jump, a short melee attack combo, heals, and items. Some items are consumables, but many replenish each time you reach a checkpoint——Momodora’s version of bonfires. From the start you get a ranged attack, a bow with relatively little travel time that you can charge up to deal extra damage. Charging gets interrupted when you get damaged or when you dodge, but not when you jump.

You can also turn into a cat, like how you can become a bat in some Castlevania titles. You also get an aerial-dash, which becomes essential for traversing the environment quickly. I was flying through rooms with the cat very quickly.

One more plus to note about Momodora is that I enjoyed most of the enemy designs. I especially like those little fairy-imp girls at the start, I found those enemies very fun to fight against. There’s a lot of fun to be had with combat in Momodora, but it’s not perfect.


My biggest gripe with Momodora is the combat. For mob-type enemies, as long as you hit the enemy first you win by just stun-locking them until they’re dead. The difficulty from mobs comes from facing multiple enemies simultaneously, forcing the player be very cautious when going into combat. I mentioned I liked the enemy design: well, for many enemies I probably never even saw all their moves because I’d just stun-lock kill them and move on.

Bosses cannot be stunned, but most of them are still pretty bad to fight (I enjoyed fighting a few of them, however). Many boss attacks are poorly telegraphed and boil down to just finding the right moment to wail away at the boss’s health bar. Particularly by the endgame, the optimal strategy is just to float around and spam charged arrows——this is how I beat the final boss.

I guess I’m spoiled from Hollow Knight when it comes to combat in metroidvanias, it seems that no other metroidvania has the same level of mechanical depth coupled with such excellent boss design.


Overall, this was a cool game. Haven’t been playing much of anything other than Civilization 4 or Cities: Skylines lately, so I’m happy I found a game engaging enough to get me back into metroidvanias. I’m hoping their next title, Momodora: Moonlit Farewell, can fix some of my gripes with the combat system.

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