Minoria Changes To Be Expected

HIGH It’s a a sequel to Momodora!

LOW That second boss fight

WTF The art direction.


It was interesting to find out that Minoria, by Brazilian developers Bombservice, isn’t just a spiritual sequel to Momodora: Reverie Under Moonlight, but actually the fifth installment of this series which began in 2010.

The good news for those looking to get into Minoria but worried about missing out on what came before is that it moves away from some of the earlier combat mechanics and plot. Although there are nods to MomodoraMinoria can be played as a standalone. The bad news is that overall, it’s a less appealing sequel.

The plot follows two nun-warriors aiming to release a city and its princess from the clutches of a cadre of witches. I don’t quite know how to describe its quality, but the writing comes off as very anime-esque as the women alternate between ‘timid’ and ‘sassy’ when talking to allies and enemies. This often trivializes the topic at hand — for example, they come across a pile of burning corpses and the level of concern is approximately ‘oh dear’.

Minoria offers 2D metroidvania-style gameplay, with the player jumping and slashing their way through enemies, exploring the environment for keys, levelling up, and fighting bosses.

The main way it’s distinguished itself from its predecessors is that Minoria has introduced a parry system that is essential to survive encounters. I struggled with this at first, but the game does a good job of signposting attacks via a circle indicator onscreen. By the time I hit the second boss, I was rolling through most challenges.

Another way that Minoria differs from the rest of the series is that it’s abandoned traditional pixel art in favor of 3D character models. The graphics do nothing for me, and in fact have lost a great deal of their charm. It’s unfortunate, since that style was one of the things I found most appealing about the series.

With the pixel art gone, Minoria is less attractive than the devs’ previous work, and this shift has slightly refocused some of their design choices for me. An early fight with a witch has her jumping around the room casting spells everywhere, but the 3D model just isn’t as interesting to look at as some of Bombservice’s earlier work. Additionally, I’m now questioning some of their designs. In Momodora, one boss had me hitting a pair of giant breasts, but I looked past it at the time. Seeing similar jiggling now rendered on a 3D model has made me a little more uneasy than I was then. 

I also found Minoria‘s controls to be not as responsive as I’d like, and also dependent on animation frames during gameplay. There were points when I felt like I was being punished unfairly for committing to certain attacks, being forced to let a sequence play out before I’d be able to regain control of my character.

In the end, I found Minoria to be a muddled experience. Without the beautiful pixel art to paint over its flaws, this new work has lost much of its charm — and worse, it’s made me reassess my enjoyment of its predecessors.

Rating: 5 out of 10

Disclosures: This game is developed by Bombservice and published by Dangen Entertainment. It is currently available on Switch, PC, PS4, and XBO. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the XBO-X. Approximately 5 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was not completed. There are no multiplayer modes.

Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated M and contains Blood and Violence. They game does contain burning bodies, bouncing bosoms, and a lot of monster and human-like monster murder. However, the M rating seems pretty punishing, considering that the art style is very cartoony.

Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available in the options.

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: The game goes to great lengths to make all feedback visual and should be fully playable without sound. The text cannot be resized, nor can its colors be changed.

Remappable Controls: Yes, this game offers fully remappable controls.

AJ Small

AJ Small

AJ Small is a games industry veteran starting in QA back in 2004. He started his gaming on the BBC Microcomputer and switched to being a devout SEGA fan from then on. He currently walks the earth in search of the tastiest/seediest drinking holes as part of his attempt to tell every single person on the planet that Speedball 2 and The Chaos Engine are the greatest games ever made.

He can be found on twitter, where he welcomes screenshots of Dreamcast games and talk about Mindjack, just don’t mention that one time he was in Canada.
AJ Small

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Nell
Nell
7 days ago

Why are you bothered by breasts? This game was a 10/10 for me and got me hooked on the dev’s other works. The art style in Minoria is gorgeous (pixels are overdone these days), the vibe is very Vagrant Story, and both endings tug at your feelings and leave you wanting more from this world. And according to the dev (this is basically a solo game), the amount of work he put into it was really offset by all these jaded reviews from people who forgot how to enjoy a game, and he’s seriously considering quitting after his next game.… Read more »