Momodora: Moonlit Farewell by Bombservice
When I launched Momodora: Moonlit Farewell for the first time, I was mesmerized.
Maybe it was the haunting yet charming instrumental melodies that heightened the experience ever so subtly. Or perhaps the simple, yet stunning, pixelated visuals that offered both vibrant and dark atmospheres infatuated me. Who am I kidding? I’m a sucker for both.
Momodora: Moonlit Farewell, developed by Bombservice, is an enticing 2D Metroidvania platformer encompassed with gratifying combat, a generous dose of exploration, and rich lore.
Momo Demons, Momo Problems
As a hesitant newcomer to the world of Momodora – with Moonlit Farewell being the fifth installment in the series – I was tipping my toes into unknown waters. However, diving in headfirst with high priestess Momo proved the series’ success. Man, is it ever easy to become obsessed with saving the Koho Village (and the world too, I guess).
The tale told in Momodora: Moonlit Farewell deepens and develops the more Momo advances toward uncovering the myths and history of her world. As things begin taking a turn for the worse, Momo steps up to the plate to kick some demon butt, unveil who rang the Black Bell that is summoning these fiends, and save the world.
Right off the bat, players are engulfed in the mini-introduction tutorial, which establishes basic gameplay elements such as the importance of Lunar Crystals, finding a bell shrine and ringing it to save your progress (and replenish your health and magic points), and summoning a companion entity to accompany Momo on her journey.
During my time with Momo, I’d deem the companion to be ineffectual 90% of the time. Occasionally, though, my little stalker pal dropped an orb to replenish Momo’s magic points. That was pretty cool.
Moonlight and Melee
The introduction to Momodora also initiates elementary concepts, familiarizing players with attacking, dodging, jumping, and healing through various enemy encounters.
As someone who has been accused of being a “button-smasher” in the past, I often found myself breathing life into that annoying trait, but with my keyboard. The main keys to utilize (A, S, D, and Q) are factually next-door neighbors. Therefore, I would accidentally heal several times when I was trying to pull off a wicked melee combo.
Switching to a gamepad of choice is a provided option if adventuring-by-keyboard isn’t one’s fancy.
Speaking of attacks, Momo is bestowed with the power of a sacred Maple Leaf, which is her primary melee weapon, along with a bow and arrow to execute enemies from afar.
Combat is quick and fulfilling, setting up a good pace throughout each area Momo unearths. If you exit a zone and return to it only moments later, all enemies have respawned. Luckily, you can dodge through most enemies to evade them if you’re in a hurry. Otherwise, pulling off a powerful combo by vigorously smashing the “S” key purifies demons quickly.
To enhance your gameplay experience, Sigils can be collected across the map. These cards offer new abilities and can be equipped based on your personal gameplay style. Sigils are occasionally hidden in plain sight.
More commonly, they are acquired by destroying a horde of enemies or discovering hidden parts of the map. Early on in Momo’s journey, I was riddled with nostalgia having to press directional keys in the correct order to unlock a Sigil. Way to tug at my inner child’s heartstrings, Bombservice.
As previously mentioned, Lunar Crystals play a vital role in Momodora: Moonlit Farewell. Represented as a form of currency and a significant resource, Lunar Crystals are needed to attain certain Sigils. One of Momo’s pals, Cereza, is typically found hanging out by a bell shrine and can turn Lunar Crystals into Sigils.
Starting out, the variety of Sigils is slim. As progress is made in saving the world, however, new Sigils become available for Momo to attain.
Additionally, Lunar Crystals can be traded as an offering at the bell shrine to temporarily replenish Momo’s health and magic. I noticed this to be a helpful asset during a boss fight, especially after realizing I had to do more than smash the “attack” key to be triumphant. Learning to dodge effectively really comes in handy, folks.
Mapping by Moonlight
In Momodora: Moonlit Farewell, the map is your best friend, and I’m not just saying that because I’m directionally challenged. While venturing through a medley of locations, overlooking something is easily done.
Ensuring that Momo explores every nook and cranny reveals an array of goodies. Berries permanently increase maximum health and maximum magic. Praying to a heavenly lily, on the other hand, bumps up Momo’s attack power.
I must admit, though, that it was quite frustrating at first to navigate through Momo’s world. Backtracking regularly sometimes proved to be a hindrance, seeing as fast travel doesn’t become available until later.
In classic Metroidvania fashion, certain areas remain blocked off until Momo obtains the appropriate ability. An example derives from various platforms just high enough that Momo cannot reach them with her single jump. When she in due course develops double-jump, these platforms become accessible. There is a method to the madness, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it all the time.
Clouds Are Drifting Across the Moon, Cats Are Prowling on Their Beat
There are so many little things about Momodora: Moonlit Farewell that deserve acknowledgment. One thing notable from the start is the creator’s adoration for cats.
The admiration becomes transparent early on, seeing as an abundance of feline-inspired characters are sprinkled throughout Momodora’s world. The Koho Village fosters cats Momo can pet, bringing that special kind of joy that anyone gets from petting an animal in a video game. If you’re a cat person, you will not be disappointed.
The quirky characters (fairies, fish-like people, a rat, just to name a few) and how actions can deepen the bond with a select few strengthen secondary parts of Momo’s tale.
Sure, the combat is fun, and the visuals make the eyeballs happy, but the subsidiary character plots and extra content add that tiny bit of flare that supports everything wonderful about Momodora: Moonlit Farewell.
I could go on and on about how enjoyable this simple – yet at the same time complex – platformer is. Instead, grab your keyboard (or controller) and get ready to button-smash your way through captivating environments peppered with (mostly) cute demons. It’s time to save the world.
Momodora: Moonlit Farewell is available via Steam.
Watch the trailer for Momodora: Moonlit Farewell below: