Momodora: Moonlit Farewell is a charming metroidvania about defending a village with your fellow magical girls via the power of friendship and a big leaf

Momodora: Moonlit Farewell is the final instalment in the Momodora franchise—designed, as the series’ creator states, to “close the book on many of the past games’ mysteries and questions”. While I’ve not had the pleasure of playing a Momodora game before, I do like a good metroidvania—and I’ve been pleasantly surprised so far as a latecomer to the series.

Moonlit Farewell starts off a touch too slow, guiding you through an introductory bossfight before dropping you into a chasm. You fall unconscious and wake up in your house, waking up in your people’s village with your fellow bell maiden fussing over you.

The town’s filled with charmingly-animated sprites, even if I was made to jog around for a bit too long before I could get back into the action—I am known to be directionally challenged on occasion, so your mileage may vary. The core thrust is that some scamp has rung The Black Bell, causing demons to threaten your village’s sacred tree. As a leaf-wielding High Priestess, your job is to put a stop to that. 

You’re accompanied by Cereza, a maiden who is useless in a fight—but she can turn currency into Sigils (build-defining cards) and make a mean snack, so we don’t hold that against her.

(Image credit: PLAYISM / Bombservice)

At first, Moonlit Farewell feels a smidge sluggish. Momo drifts when she moves, and she doesn’t exactly book it through the opening caverns. However, it quickly became apparent that Moonlit Farewell’s aiming for more weighty, deliberate combat—and there’s nothing wrong with that. 

You have a stamina bar used for dodge rolling, a satisfying flash when you nail a frame-perfect dodge, and you eventually unlock a sprint button that gives you a very welcome burst of speed. It drains stamina, though—so it’s to be deployed tactically.

In terms of visuals, Moonlit Farewell does a lot with very little. While its opening minutes are a touch bland, the beautiful midnight-soaked vistas of your village quickly put that to rest—and the spooky ruins below your feet became a lot prettier while you were suffering from a nasty case of tutorial concussion.

(Image credit: PLAYISM / Bombservice)

What I appreciated most about the game was how lonely I didn’t feel. You have a companion character to chat with, and I quickly bumped into a fellow maiden scrapping with a harpy boss. 

It’s a nice departure from the ‘you vs. the world’ feeling metroidvanias usually saddle you with, pushing you through monster-filled castles, abandoned spaceships, or decrepit bug kingdoms. That being said, I don’t know the full breadth of the game—maybe Moonlit Farewell has some horrible Madoka-esque twist that leaves you alone and gently traumatised.

Still: if you like metroidvanias, magical girls, or both: you’re going to have a good time with this game, especially for its modest price. Momodora: Moonlit Farewell is currently $15.29 (£12.86) until January 18, and even then that’s only a 10% price cut off its full cost. Don’t leaf this game alone—you’ll really be able to sink your roots into this one. It doesn’t branch out too far from what works in the genre. Alright, I’ll stop.

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