Momodora: Moonlit Farewell – Review
Follow Genre: Metroidvania
Developer: Bombservice
Publisher: Playism
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Momodora: Moonlit Farewell – Review

Site Score
Good: Fantastic audiovisual presentation, especially for pixel art
Bad: Early-game pacing can feel sluggish
User Score
(1 votes)
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VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)

If you’ve never heard of Momodora, you’re probably not alone, as this series of Metroidvania games has been dormant since 2016. It flew under our own radar too, and we were surprised to find that Momodora: Moonlit Farewell is actually the fifth entry and that the franchise has been going strong for nearly 14 years now. If you’re a Momodora fan, we’re probably preaching to the choir, and you already know what to expect. If you’re a newcomer who’s been enticed by Moonlit Farewell’s striking visuals, however, you may be wondering whether the game can do more than just sit there and look pretty. Let’s take a look.


Given Momodora’s long-running history, one of our worries was that we wouldn’t be able to follow the story without knowledge of previous entries in the series. Our concern turned out to be unfounded, as the story here works well enough as a standalone tale. Admittedly, we suspect that longtime fans of the series will get more out of the storyline, as this is supposedly the closing chapter for Momodora’s overarching story. Central to Moonlit Farewell is young priestess Momo, who teams up with her colleague Cereza to investigate a sudden influx of demons around Kaho village. The cause of this? The so-called Black Bell, which was under the protection of the fairies, was stolen and rang, summoning all sorts of nasty creatures. Naturally, it’s up to Momo to restore peace to Kaho village, but there might be more to the situation than meets the eye.


The gorgeous pixel art is probably what stands out more than anything else about Moonlit Farewell. In fact, it’s not often that pixel art impresses us as much as Moonlit Farewell’s visuals do. More often than not, it feels overdone. Part of what helps Moonlit Farewell subvert this is the color palette, which eschews bright, saturated colors and instead opts for softer pastel tones instead. There is quite a bit of visual variety, both in the environments and with the character designs. Momo’s sprite itself bears more than a passing resemblance to Ryza, which we assume isn’t a coincidence. The game’s anime aesthetic does venture a bit too much into fan service occasionally, with the most egregious example being a particularly well-endowed Lamia boss. This is something we felt to be unnecessary for the overall atmosphere, but it’s a minor complaint overall. While the overall visuals are beautiful, the inherent simplicity of pixel art means that the game runs buttery smooth.


Complementing the game’s impressive graphics is a soundtrack that covers a wide emotional range. Each environment has its own theme music, and while these tracks are good in their own right, it’s in the boss fights that Moonlit Farewell’s audio turns things up to eleven. In boss battles, the music swells up, emphasizing how these enemies are nothing to be trifled with. The soundtrack almost makes up for Moonlit Farewell’s lack of voice acting. Sound effects are good as well, albeit nothing to write home about.


We haven’t played any previous Momodora games, but if Moonlit Farewell is any indication, then developer Bombservice certainly knows how to build a fun 2D Metroidvania, even if the series doesn’t revolutionize the genre in any way, shape, or form. Moonlit Farewell is an incredibly solid Metroidvania game that knows what it is doing, hitting every necessary beat along the way. The back-to-basics approach makes for a lean and polished game, with every bit of unnecessary fat trimmed. There are a couple of things that keep Moonlit Farewell’s gameplay from reaching perfection within its genre, but the game gets pretty close, especially compared to titles like Pronty or Curse of the Sea Rats, which get bogged down by unnecessary gimmicks or unintuitive mechanics.

The thing keeping Moonlit Farewell from being as good as it could be is the early-game pacing. Moonlit Farewell is a short game, clocking in at around eight hours and although there is a sense of progress in how Momo plays, things definitely could have been sped up a bit. Early on, navigating the levels feels sluggish as overall movement speed is something that is built up as Momo’s stats are improved. Given the amount of backtracking required, this makes the early game drag a bit, although the problem solves itself eventually as abilities like double jumps, dashing, and even fast travel unlock themselves. Fortunately, combat doesn’t suffer the same fate and is satisfying from the get-go. Controls are snappy and responsive, both when it comes to melee and ranged attacks, and Moonlit Farewell wouldn’t be a true Metroidvania if there wasn’t a wide array of unlockable attacks and abilities, of course. Most of these come in the form of equipable sigils that let you harness the power of fire arrows, for example, but buffs are also provided by adorable companions who can join Momo’s journey for a short while.

The one aspect of Moonlit Farewell’s gameplay that will linger with you are the boss fights. Not because they are incredibly difficult affairs, mind you. We’d say that these are very manageable and that they are balanced enough so that they are challenging without feeling unfair. What makes the boss fights stand out so much instead is how cinematic they feel, even within Moonlit Farewell’s pixelated limitations. Many of the battles are optional, but the satisfying combat combined with the epic presentation makes these well worth seeking out, from the tag-team battle with a harpy to the fight with a succubus that literally bombards you with kisses. No, really. It all adds up to a game filled with highlights, and perhaps one that was over all too soon, even when taking the additional difficulty and unlockable modes into account. Granted, Moonlit Farewell’s short length is reflected in its very reasonable €16.49/$16.99 RRP, and the game certainly had us wanting to make up for lost time and revisit earlier entries in the Momodora series.


Although Moonlit Farewell is supposedly the closing chapter of Momodora, it was our introduction to the series, and what an introduction it was. The game doesn’t bring anything new to the table when it comes to the Metroidvania genre, but what it does, it does exceedingly well. The audiovisual presentation is fantastic, and although there are minor pacing issues when it comes to gameplay, this doesn’t hold Moonlit Farewell back from delivering a fun little adventure, with amazing boss battles.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Momodora: Moonlit Farewell - Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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