After Momodora V was canceled, Bombservice decided to move forward on an entirely new project: Minoria. It has the idea and feel of Momodora. A nun is hunting down witches, instead of priestesses fighting monsters. You gradually are making your way through the game, eventually gaining new weapons and items that could help you proceed further. But, there are some adjustments to the formula that hint at what could happen in future Bombservice games.
One of the more noticeable elements of Minoria hits you the second you begin playing. The Holy Kingdom of Ramezia has been beset by witches, with the younger princess choosing to ally with them and the older one being taken captive. The church went to stop the witches’ ceremony and save the elder princess, but the witches are winning. Only two have survived: Sister Semilla and Sister Fran. After saving the cursed elder princess, it falls to them to hopefully save the day. Early Momodora games were often skimpy when it came to the story, with ones like Momodora III dropping you in without telling you anything. You have more of a setup here, complete with the ability to press a button to talk to Sister Fran at any time.
Minoria also adjusts the Momodora difficulty, but in a way that makes sense and doesn’t hand people victories. Just like its sibling, it can be difficult. Even some of the early standard enemies can defeat Sister Semilla in two or three hits. If you let some bosses hit you, you will be dead in one shot. It maintains that sort of gameplay where you could need to be cautious and play smart. But, it also can feel a bit more interactive and refined. She gets different sorts of weapons, like a spear that essentially gives you a double jump when you use one move. Weapons have combos, which can easily transition into the dodge or parry when you need to. The incenses you equip can offer passive bonuses, like a slight bit of health restored lightning spells you could use.
But the real magic in Minoria is learning how not to be hit. While it can be more difficult to read enemy tells for more generic foes, since they can appear in clusters and the indictor showing their attacks can be obscured, the big bosses very clearly tell you what you’re about to do. Sister Semilla’s dodge roll allows her to avoid damage, parry can let you counter, and blocking… blocks. Bosses especially feel designed to be conquered without being hurt, and you are rewarded for that accomplishment when you are victorious without taking any damage. These encounters, while maybe not terribly difficult, are satisfying in that they allow you to prove yourself by quickly getting through every major fight flawlessly.
But, it can also feel like it is a little empty compared to Momodora games. Those are filled with collectibles and secrets. While there is lore here and you can choose between two different endings (it is determined by a decision you make ahead of the final boss), it doesn’t feel like there is as much there to see. There aren’t the same sorts of NPCs you might encounter and, once you have seen all of the map and gone through twice, it might not have the same draw that could lure someone back. (Though, there is a new game plus option.)
Minoria can definitely feel like a Momodora at times. It has the Metroidvania sort of feel. It has the challenge, with the focus on avoiding damage to survive. But, it also adds more of a narrative to it. You have more of a sense of purpose. It might not always feel like the same sort of atmosphere in some ways, as it doesn’t seem like there are as many secrets to it, but it has the same kind of feel as the series fans might know and love.
Minoria is available for the PC.