Indie developer Bombservice is probably best known for its 2016 Metroidvania hit, Momodora: Reverie of the Moonlight. I don’t play many games in the genre, but when I do, I always have a blast. Momodora: Reverie of the Moonlight, though, was on a whole different level. I was gripped by the game from beginning to end, and it went on to be one of my favorite games on the Nintendo Switch. While spiritual successor Minoria sacrifices the mysterious world and 2D pixel graphics of that 2016 hit for a new story and pastel 3D visuals, it’s still just as much of a Metroidvania powerhouse.
Set in the year 1203, the holy empire of Ramezia has been invaded by a horde of murderous witches. With the highness being held prisoner in the capital castle by these foes, it’s up to an army of dedicated battle nuns to storm the castle and quell the witch threat. Unfortunately, an unexpected blizzard and surprisingly powerful foes lead protagonist Semilla and her partner Sister Anna Fran to arrive at the castle and discover that they’re the only two remaining nuns alive.
There’s a deep and gripping story and world to Minoria, but the game never beats you over the head with it. While cutscenes and dialogue exchanges help establish the major narrative moments and build up significant boss battles, most of your knowledge of the world will come from discovering the notes and written records hidden across the sprawling map.
The main hook of Minoria, though, is the Metroidvania combat. Bombservice has a finger on the pulse of what makes games like these so addictive, and combining that knowledge of the genre with a gorgeous anime-inspired art style is just as much of a success here as it was back in 2016. Much like in Momodora: Reverie of the Moonlight, the game employs a high-risk and high-reward parry system that lets you negate enemy attacks with precise timing or fall victim to massive damage if you fail.
Another unique element of the game is the Incense system. These collectible items take the form of equippable passive or active spells that can spell the different between life or death in battle. Active Incense abilities might let you heal or summon lightning bolts, while passive ones will increase your base damage or improve your invincibility frames. You can’t just use these willy-nilly, though; they each have limited uses that are only restored once you reach a checkpoint.
Once you get your head around the basic combat loop and abilities of the game, which doesn’t take very long, encounters with standard enemies become a breeze. It’s only in boss fights that both the highs and lows of Minoria’s gameplay start to shine. Fights against traitorous witches and hulking beasts are incredibly fun, testing your reflexes relentlessly. Unfortunately, it’s also in these encounters that issues like enemies lacking proper visual hit-stun or the fact that bosses can dish out multi-hit attacks that render your parries and invincibility frames useless truly star to become apparent.
They’re minor issues, in the grand scheme of things, but they’re issues that Momodora: Reverie of the Moonlight didn’t have at all, leading this game to feel just a bit less polished in comparison. Still, problems like those simply prevent a fun game from being truly magnificent. Minoria still has gorgeous art, haunting music, and addictive exploration that is sure to keep any Metroidvania fan well entertained.
A review code was provided by the publisher.