Yes, it’s yet another free game review. Sorry about that – I’m trying to be more financially responsible right now, which means that I’m living more or less like I’m broke. Not forever, though. I still plan to get a Switch at some point. In the meantime, I have my backlog, and I also have a bunch of freeware from Steam and itch.io that I’ve culled to weed out the boring and non-functional, leaving only the good, the interesting, and the weird. At least I hope I’ve done that. I guess you can be the judge, because I’ll probably be making a few more of these posts this May as I tighten my belt and work longer hours.
Today, we’re taking a look at one of the best free games I’ve found so far. I typically write short reviews for freeware lumped into groups of two or three to a post, but Momodora II is enough of a full-fledged game that it deserves a post all to itself.
The Momodora series is one that I’ve known about for quite a while. In fact, Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight, the fourth and latest game in the series, is one of those games sitting in my backlog right now. The first two games are free to play, while the third is pretty damn cheap at just two dollars, and while they’re not as pretty or polished (or probably nearly as long) as the latest installment, there’s a lot of entertainment to be had with them if Momodora II is any indication. I started with the second title because rdein, the creator of the series, claims on the itch.io page for the game that Momodora I is really unpolished and that we should start with the sequels instead, so sure, why not. I bet that’s just your typical artistic modesty, though.
So what’s Momodora II about? It has a simple plot: the protagonist Momo, a young shrine maiden, travels to a dangerous temple/cave/dungeon complex near her village to defeat Isadora, an evil demon queen who’s been causing trouble as evil demon queens are wont to do. For some reason, Momo’s older sister just lets her wander in without helping out, which is pretty weird. But maybe she’s right to be confident, because Momo is more than capable of defending herself – she carries a magic leaf that she uses as a kind of blade and can pick up some nice power-ups throughout the game, including a ranged attack and a double-jump ability. As Momo fights through the complex on her way to Isadora, she’ll run into a string of other young women who are also there to take out said evil demon queen, including one who mistakes Momo for an enemy and serves as your first and second act boss battles before she comes to her senses.
Momodora II isn’t all that difficult, thanks in part to the many health regeneration/long range shot drops and the several bells around the game field that act as save points and full heal stations, but it does contain some challenge, mostly in the final section of the game and the final sort-of-bullet-hell-style boss fight with Isadora. The map is broken into five or six different sections that vary in theme and enemy type and strength, and enemies do respawn once as you move from one section to the next, so you can’t just clear out the entire map, though that also means you have unlimited health and ranged shot drops to use if you’re stuck on a boss.
Even though Momodora II isn’t a very big game, I really enjoyed the exploration aspect of it; the level design is set up so that new sections of the map become accessible once you’ve gained certain powerups. You’ll also have to hunt around the map for certain items before you can feasibly take on the final boss, including a set of “love letters” that fill Momo with tender feelings when she reads them, giving her an extra heart in her life counter. At least I guess that’s how it works. I don’t think those love letters were even addressed to her. They’re just sitting around in chests in a dungeon; who could they be addressed to even? Best not to think about it.
The only real criticism I can make of Momodora II is that its controls can be a little too sensitive sometimes, especially when you’re trying to make jumps in a few areas that require great precision. It’s not a major problem, just something that comes up occasionally. If I’d paid more than a few dollars for this game, I’d also be kind of upset that it’s only about 60 to 90 minutes long (though you can get through it more quickly with a guide, but where’s the fun in that) but since Momodora II costs zero dollars, I can’t say anything about that. This game asks for nothing but a bit of your time, and it delivers some solid entertainment, cool background music, a nice little plot and a few secrets to discover. What more do you need, really. Unless you’re allergic to action platformers, you should check this one out.