Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight
Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight is a relatively short side-scrolling action-platformer by Bombservice. It is the fourth installment of the Momodora series, and features beautiful pixel graphic and interesting boss fights.
What I enjoy most: slick movement and fluid change between melee & ranged attack
You play as Kaho, a Priestess who travels from her village to the castle to ask the Queen for help. On the way to see the queen, Kaho meets some friendly people and some not so friendly, as well as monsters, witches, and skeletons -- all pointing to the fact that the Queen might be at the centre of the problem.
Map, Exploration & Movement
The game features a non-linear map with a few bottlenecks (e.g. needing 4 key items to get into the castle-proper). Although the map is not very large (about 450 screens-worth of rooms), there are shortcuts and hidden passages to make exploration more satisfying.
You start with a double-jump - which is more like a 1-and-a-half-jump -- but can later learn air dash, as well as an ability to allow to down small passages. There is some platforming in this game, but it is mostly combat-focus.
In terms of combat, you always have a melee attack and a ranged attack. Each of them is bound to a key, and there is no need to manually switch from one to the other. Both of them can also be upgraded and/or buffed by using items. Similar to how Estus flask works in the Dark Souls series, items, once acquired, has charges that automatically refill at save points.
Another feature similar to Dark Souls is the dodge roll with invincibility frames. This allows Kaho to roll pass normal enemies (which hits very hard) as well as bosses. Compare to Symphony of the Night, this game's small boss arena and lack of magic attack mean that rolling through attacks and enemies are often preferable to dodging away.
I think this game is as metroidvania as it gets (without being a Castlevania or a Bloodstained) and is very enjoyable. The game is short (maybe around 4 hours?) but very charming, with beautiful pixel arts and interesting boss fights. There are also new game plus, different difficult levels and secrets to find.
List of metroidvania elements
Name of game: Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight
Developer / Publisher: Bombservice / Playism
System: PC, PS4, XBox One
Year of publication: 2016
Style of combat: Melee + Ranged
Use of magic: No
Combat-focus versus Platform-focus: Combat-focus
Death mechanics: Last saved game
(Fall damage): No
Levelling / Farming for XP: No
Farming for Gold / Item: Yes for Gold
Skill pick-up: Yes
(Stats allocation): No
Gated by movement abilities: Yes
Gated by bosses: Yes
Type of world map: Single map
World generation: Fixed map