Momodora: Moonlit Farewell Review — A Moonlit Gospel

Embark on a demon-bashing, moonlit adventure in this captivating conclusion to the Momodora series.
Momodora Featured

The village of Koho is threatened when the Black Bell is stolen from the Fairies, its toll bringing in hordes of demons hellbent on destruction. As Mono, Koho’s high priestess, it’s up to you to fight back the demon hordes, recover the bell, and stop the malevolent ringer before the village is doomed forever.

Momodora: Moonlit Farewell is the epic conclusion to the Momodora series, seeing action-packed moe-violence displayed through stunning pixelated artwork. This smartly dressed young lady packs a serious punch as she blasts her way through demons, from the lowest of mobs to stunning boss battles that test your build and your reflexes.

I’ve never played a Momodora game, but Moonlit Farewell certainly speaks volumes to the quality of the series. The combat feels great, with the boss battles particularly standing out as challenging but not overly punishing. With just a simple dodge mechanic to master, the only tool you need is your reflexes and wit, a refreshingly simple way to keep the encounters from feeling mechanically bloated without sacrificing the tension or challenge.

One cool aspect of Momodora: Moonlit Farewell is the Sigil system, which allows you to customize your playstyle by switching up how the high priestess takes on the demon hordes. Sigils, equipable cards obtained from your assistant/sister, significantly modify gameplay mechanics. By combining a select number of cards, you can alter your gameplay completely, giving an almost roguelike level of customization without the RNG.

Momodora Sigils
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

Of course, it would be a shame to talk about Momodora: Moonlit Farewell without addressing the art. I spent my first-hour capturing screenshots, admiring the game’s visuals, though I navigated the platforming segments somewhat awkwardly (more on this later).

The world is beautifully rendered in a gorgeous pixelated style. Little details shine through the scenery, like the asymmetrical cobbled rocks in the halls of an ancient shrine or perfectly carved marble pillars. Leaves fall from the side of the screen, and Momo’s hair and dress blow in the wind, making the whole world feel incredibly alive. Momo herself stands with this perfect posture and stern, determined look that displays grace and strength; I was really impressed by how much I could read about her character simply through her design and body language, which is always the sign of a great protagonist.

And, of course, the moon, which is always beautifully present at different stages throughout the game’s near-endless night.

Momodora Moon
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

The biggest drawback to Momodora is that Moonlit Farewell has to be the control scheme.

Momodora: Moonlit Farewell’s choice of PC controls is by far the weakest aspect of the game, which should say something about the overall quality of the title and the frustration I found in the default control scheme. Using the arrow keys for movement in any game feels awkward to me. It might just be how hardbacked WASD is into my brain at this point, but my movement input with my right hand always feels off and wrong.

Coupled with the game’s unusual choice of action keys, such as ‘A’ for Jump and ‘S’ for Attack, this setup becomes too awkward for me to handle comfortably. Whenever I had to down jump, jump attack, or fire an arrow (requiring an up on the arrow keys and a simultaneous S input), I would pause on the spot for a few seconds trying to muscle-memory the input combinations. With a game requiring some pretty precise platforming, this constant correction can either slow down or outright hinder your progress. I missed several jumps hitting the attack key, which pushes you forward instead of the jump button.

To be totally fair to the developers of Momodora: Moonlit Farewell, this is not their fault. It can easily be argued that my poor muscle memory, reaction skills, or inability to adjust to the controls are as much or more to blame for my difficulty adapting to the control scheme Momodora: Moonlit Farewell choosing to go with. I wouldn’t dispute this claim at all.

Momodora Cave
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

It just feels awkward to me that with how far the genre has come and how focussed it has been on PC controls, we still receive Metroidvania-type platforming titles with sub-par keyboard controls. It feels almost like new releases shouldn’t be dealing with antiquated issues.

In all fairness, it might be. Momodora: Moonlit Farewell’s control scheme may have been designed for veteran ‘Metroidvania players who are used to things operating a certain way. Who am I to judge if that is how the community prefers it?

Still, I think the game would do well with modernized controls. WASD to move, space to jump, and proper utilization of the mouse would make controlling our shrine maiden so much better on PC. Unfortunately, the keybind option does not allow for utilization of the mouse, making optimal, comfortable keyboard controls for Momodora: Moonlit Farewell a distant fantasy.

If it seems like I dedicated an awful lot of this review to the game’s lackluster PC controls, I only hope it goes to show how little my experience was negatively affected by anything else. Good controls are essential to a game, and besides the struggle to adjust to Momodora: Moonlit Farewell’s choice of keybinds, I really don’t have anything else to critique about this title.

Momodora Grass
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

Momodora: Moonlit Farewell stands out despite its controls, shining through as what I would call one of the better Metroidvania titles on the market right now. Modestly priced at $16, fans of the series would be remiss not to check it out. While I recommend it to newcomers, you may want to start at an earlier Momodora title to experience the game’s story entirely.

The Final Word

Momodora: Moonlit Farewell is near perfect in every way, with exceptional art, game design, characters, and writing. While the game is slightly held back by dated controls and poor mapping options, this complaint hardly feels like a drop in the pond of greatness that is this moonlit journey.

9

Try Hard Guides was provided with a PC review copy of this game. Find more detailed looks at popular and upcoming titles in the Game Reviews section of our website! Momodora: Moonlit Farewell is available on Steam.

Erik Hodges

Erik Hodges

Erik Hodges is a hobby writer and a professional gamer, at least if you asked him. He has been writing fiction for over 12 years and gaming practically since birth, so he knows exactly what to nitpick when dissecting a game's story. When he isn't reviewing games, he's probably playing them.

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