Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight Switch Review
Over the past year or so, the Nintendo Switch has sort of become a haven for niche indie games. With both the Vita and 3DS near the end of their lifespan, the Switch has swooped in to be the replacement for both of these portable systems with varied library for indies that you can take on the go. This month, among the ever-growing list of new indie ports to the Switch, we get Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight, and this title is worth your attention.
Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight, a 'Metroidvania' from developer Bombservice, is the fourth game of its series. Playing as Kaho, you travel to Karst determined to find the source of a curse that is affecting her homeland. Karst is a far cry from the lively city it used to be - now a den of dangerous demons that Kaho must defeat to lift the curse on Karst that is spreading across the world.
If you’re interested in the nuts and bolts of Momodora, I’d recommend reading Kyle’s original review of the game. Momodora is a beautiful game, with top-notch pixel art that properly portrays a beautiful, yet cursed landscape. As Kyle mentioned in his own review, the use of more muted colors really helps to drive the atmosphere home.
Reverie Under the Moonlight is also a difficult game. On Normal mode, it’s very important to learn the ‘rules’ that the game operates on, and learn how to use every tool in your arsenal to your advantage to survive. Enemies will always do the same moves and do the same amount of damage to Kaho dependent on the move used; you never gain any additional, permanent armor upgrades. So you need to learn when to dodge, when to jump, and when to go in for the kill, especially during boss encounters.
This means a lot of memorization comes into play here, like many old-school games of its ilk. It’s not uncommon to die a few times to a boss before you begin to grasp what you need to do… and the game will not give you a break if you’re not using all your skills effectively. There was one particular boss what I had to retry more than 15 times because I wasn’t properly utilizing the dodge roll! Needless to say, I became adept with the dodge mechanic after I finally defeated that boss. It’s a system that won’t gel with anyone, but the satisfaction of finally memorizing a boss’s patterns and taken them down can’t be beaten.
Despite the high difficulty level, I never thought Momodora was being unfair. Almost every death was solely my own fault--I would get frustrated at times, yes, but I would be mad at myself, not the game. Granted, there were a couple ‘gotcha’ moments that insta-killed me. I distinctly remember coming across my first exploding barrel in a darkened room where seeing the label was very difficult… I was a bit upset at the game for that particular death, but usually, I couldn’t blame random exploding barrels on my failures.
As for Reverie Under the Moonlight on Switch, the game runs beautifully both in Handheld and TV mode. Switching between the two modes causes no issues, and the game’s shorter length is perfect for small playthrough bursts--despite the fact that you can’t save wherever you want.
I’d recommend Momodora for anyone that’s looking for an old-school experience with a coat of new-school paint. It’s a beautiful and unforgiving game, but with patience and practice, you’ll be able to see this Metroidvania’s end and dive in for another playthrough to find all the stuff you missed. It’s a well-crafted title that fits in perfectly with the Switch’s library.