Last year, Failbetter Games (Sunless Skies, Fallen London, Sunless Sea) started #loveindies as a celebration of indie devs and their games. This time from June 3rd to 14th, #loveindies is open to anyone and everyone – a refreshingly “do it your way” celebration, with plenty of room for people to get involved by streaming, reviewing, or recommending titles. As someone with a very long “to play” list, too much curiosity, and fairly new Twitch channel, I knew right away that I wanted to do something, which is how I ended up with the goal of streaming at least one indie game each day.
In the following series of articles, I want to share a little bit about the games I play over these couple weeks, as well as the companies behind them – including some exciting upcoming and recent projects!
Join me on my indiexploration!
Day 1: Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight (Bombservice)
Momodora is Bombservice’s flagship title, with Reverie Under the Moonlight as the fourth entry in the series (though it’s a prequel to the rest of the Momodora games). What drew me in were the graphics – Bombservice specifically likes to work with aesthetics that call back to 80s and 90s games, and Momodora looked like some charming game out of my childhood, with a slightly more polished feel.
Reverie Under the Moonlight (from here-on out we’ll just say Momodora) drops the player off as Kaho, having just reached the shore on the outskirts of Karst. Her guide tells her that they can’t take her any further – the city is too dangerous now – but it doesn’t seem to phase her. Kaho, a priestess of Lun, has been sent to dispel a curse emanating from Karst. Everyone she finds on the way urges her to go back home, but the curse has been spreading to her land too – there’s no other option than to proceed.
First off: Momodora is incredible on a controller, and unless you’re pretty proficient at platforming on a mouse and keyboard, I highly recommend you just… don’t. The first time I started playing, I thought I was just really bad at the game – turns out it was way better when I got a joystick involved and could stop fumbling for keys. Once I had a controller plugged in, I fell in love with the quick, smooth gameplay. While of course there are items and embellishments along the way, Kaho’s primary attacks are a melee-range leaf slash and a ranged bow and arrow. Switching between the two is easy and comfortable, as is dodging, which is a major mechanic to survive most boss fights.
Rather light on story, Momodora first seemed really compelling and like it told plenty. The main story of Momodora is told succinctly through its gameplay – and rather realistically. Kaho isn’t given full explanations for everything she encounters – why would she be? She’s forced to forge on with the bits and pieces of information she picks up along the way. Later on, I realized there were a lot of questions that I still wanted answered, but it didn’t feel like a fault in the game itself. Momodora doesn’t really tell the full story, but in the end I suppose it doesn’t need to (though I hope someday we’ll find out more). It provides plenty throughout the game’s duration, and dialogue is short enough to ensure that the gameplay is the focus.
Technically speaking, there were a lot of small details that I really loved about Momodora. Items are not pure drops – instead they’re unlocks, which refill each time the player strikes a save bell. The result is a less cluttered item menu, and more room for special items along the way. There’s not a lot of guidance, but there is a map that shows other possible pathways, forcing players to explore their surroundings. Fights which require dodge mechanics ensure that it’s never just a case of spamming the same button over and over. Finally, a fair set of difficulty options make the game accessible to most players, without making the game too simple.
If you haven’t played Momodora, I really recommend it – it’s a great platformer backed by a stunning soundtrack and a great nostalgic feel. If you have and enjoyed it, then there’s some good news – Bombservice is currently working on a new project, titled Minoria. Boasting what looks to be similar creepy and religious undertones to Momodora, it also carries a similar aesthetic, with a more contemporary graphics update. With a planned release in 2019, it will definitely be one to watch for.