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Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . As frustrating as the cheap hits can be, I don't hate Reverie Under the Moonlight. There are a lot of aspects of the game I genuinely enjoyed, such as the visuals, combat and exploration. But constantly getting hit by off-screen enemies isn't fun, and there were too many times where I died in dumb and cheap ways. I certainly see the appeal of this brand new Momodora sequel, but found that it left me a little cold. Rating: 64%
Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight
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Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight
  • Review Score:

  • B-
As a rule, I tend to not look at other reviews until I've completed my own write-up. But that was hard to do when it came to Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight, the fourth installment in Bombservice's popular 2D franchise. Not only were all my friends raving about the gorgeous graphics and beautifully realized world, but it also picked up overwhelmingly positive reviews on Steam and pretty much everybody on MetaCritic loved it. I could barely contain my excitement. Unfortunately, now that I've actually played it, I have mixed thoughts on this side-scrolling adventure game. I hate to be the contrarian voice, but so much of Momodora left me underwhelmed.

In case you missed it when it debuted on PC back in 2016, Reverie Under the Moonlight tells the story of a young priestess who is trying to save the land from a powerful curse. While her intentions may be good, she is definitely not prepared for what stands in her path. Equipped with only a leaf, she sets out to meet with the Queen and break the curse once and for all. This does not go as planned.


Momodora is a 2D action/adventure that is more Dark Souls than Castlevania. It's a game about exploring the strange world, picking up items and killing a series of challenging bosses. Along the way, our hero will find upgrades that will let her dash in the air and turn into a cat to explore cramped areas. It's not the most original formula, but it nails the atmospheric tone and both the characters and visuals are charming.

Before I dwell on all the things I disliked about the game, perhaps I should start with what was good. For starters, the graphics are gorgeous and I loved the animation. There's a real attention to detail in each of the locations and I like how different it all looks. The same can be said about the bosses, which are all varied and exciting in their own way. This is not the kind of game where you can just mash buttons to win, and I like how you have to roll around and use real strategy to beat some of the more difficult creatures.

I also really like how non-linear the path is. Sure, you'll need to upgrade your character in order to access certain areas, but most of the game can be tackled in whatever order you see fit. This is something I wish we would see in more games like this, and I can imagine the non-linear elements make replaying the adventure a lot more fun. In that sense, Momodora reminds me of Dark Souls, which is a good thing in my mind.

Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

The truth is, I immediately fell in love with a lot of what Reverie Under the Moonlight was doing, and fully expected to agree with my friends and colleagues. But the longer I played, the more frustrated I became with some of the questionable gameplay decisions. My biggest complaint involves the cheap hits, which are everywhere. I'm all for a challenging adventure (and even gave Dark Souls high marks when it came out), but the enemies never felt especially fair.

It's one thing to have to dodge the enemies you can see, but far too often you're forced to content with enemies that are off screen throwing painfully accurate fireballs. You'll walk into a room and immediately be bombarded with attacks from enemies you can't see or fight. By the time they're in your sights, you will have already been hit a few times and lost a significant amount of health.

And that brings up the other big problem. For whatever reason, the enemy attacks will take 40 and even 50% of your health in a single hit, which means you'll die after only a couple strikes. Your fragility can be especially annoying when exploring the world, because you'll have to replay big chunks of the game again because of an attack you didn't see coming. It's not impossible and clearly I was able to get through it with effort, but I kind of hated the amount of cheap hits I had to endure to get there. The fact that a simple enemy takes way more life than most of the bosses suggests the balance is a little off.

Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

I was also disappointed by the short length and unexciting power-ups. The items and abilities you pick up just aren't as interesting as the world you're exploring, and there was nothing here that felt especially original. That said, there are a lot of hidden areas to uncover for people who want to see the full map. The exploration aspect of this type of game is almost always fun, and Momodora is certainly no exception. In fact, I would go as far as to say it's the best part of the game, except for maybe the graphics.

As frustrating as the cheap hits can be, I don't hate Reverie Under the Moonlight. There are a lot of aspects of the game I genuinely enjoyed, such as the visuals, combat and exploration. But constantly getting hit by off-screen enemies isn't fun, and there were too many times where I died in dumb and cheap ways. I certainly see the appeal of this brand new Momodora sequel, but found that it left me a little cold.
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